How to Be ARFO…Always Ready For Opportunity

ARFO…Always Ready For Opportunity.

I conducted research on my past clients in the summer of 2015, and one of the themes that emerged was what I like to call ARFO…Always Ready for Opportunity.

Several of my clients talked about getting their most recent job without conducting a job search.

They took the approach of doing little things on a regular basis, rather than doing nothing…nothing…HIGH GEAR…you get the idea.

Maintenance versus Repair.

Here’s an analogy: I can keep my car maintained and clean on an on-going basis. Spend a bit of time and money on a regular basis as part of the cost of ownership.

OR I can neglect my car, not attend to the noises under the hood or the lights on the dashboard. I can let it get filthy dirty…people write WASH ME on my rear window.

It’s most likely going to cost me more to take the second approach, both in terms of time and money. At least it will feel that way.

And I might get stranded on the side of the road by using the second approach.

Truthfully, I might get stranded on the side of the road using the first approach too, but it’s less likely and will probably be less devastating.

Being Proactive Saves Time and Money.

My astute clients took the “maintenance” approach to their careers, recognizing that 1)it will “cost” them less in the long run, and 2) the possibility of getting “stranded” (i.e. finding themselves out of a job) is real, and they don’t want to be left flat-footed.

Even if you plan to conduct an active job search, ARFO can be a tremendous compliment to your other job search strategies. Here’s why:

  • Your “startup” phase will be much shorter, because your marketing materials are always updated and your network was never allowed to go fallow.
  • Your skills, education, and certifications are current, maximizing your marketability (and attractiveness) to potential employers.
  • You can get in touch with recruiters who reached out to you recently to let them know you’re now actively job seeking.

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Five Strategies for Practicing ARFO

  1. Keep a folder (electronic or paper) to centralize your accomplishments, performance evaluation, commendations, etc. These will be tremendously helpful when updating your marketing documents.
  2. Maintain your resume and LinkedIn profile with new positions, shifts in job responsibilities, and accomplishments. You should be able to present your resume to a prospective employer on a moment’s notice.
  3. Dedicate time to your networking efforts. I recommend separating this into two “buckets”: on-line and in-person. Reach out to people on LinkedIn on a regular basis, and schedule coffee/lunch/phone conversations with those in your network.
  4. Review your qualifications annually: are you missing any important credentials/certifications? Is there another level to which you can take your current credentials/certifications?
  5. This one’s so obvious I hesitate to mention it…do a great job where you’re at. How you show up for your current role is your best…or worst…marketing tool. Give your current employer everything you have, no matter what the circumstances

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