Survive Your Job Search:
Tips from The Walking Dead

To honor the start of Season 5 of AMC’s The Walking Dead (premiered Sunday, Oct. 12), here are 8 job-seeking tips that don’t require waiting until the zombie apocalypse.

1.) Knowledge is power. Survival skills are necessary for self-sufficiency, and to be valued in the post-apocalyptic world. Michonne’s knowledge of swords and fencing, and of how and when the walkers attack, are what saved her while she was alone in the woods. Hershel’s knowledge of anatomy saved Carl’s life. All of the survivors have knowledge of some type of weaponry.

THE LESSON: Understand the realities of today‘s job market.

If you’re just beginning your job search, here are some quick questions to ask yourself:

a. Is your resume customized and optimized for the ATS?
b. Do you have a list of employers you are targeting?
c. What has been the result of your recent job interviews?
d. Do you have a clear target?

2.) Strength is in numbers AND individuals. The first lesson in the post-apocalyptic world: you need a group to survive. Being alone in the wilderness only got Michonne so far. Larger groups seemed to fare better than smaller groups (think Tyrese and Sasha pleading to join Rick’s group; the difficult trek toward the unknown Terminus). The 2nd lesson: the group dynamics will determine your fate. Remember the bandits who Daryl temporarily joined in Season 4? Who each character chooses to align with plays a huge part in what becomes of them, and what they become.

THE LESSON: We’ve all heard how important networking is to one’s job search success. Remember though that it’s not just the sheer number of people in your network who are important, but the relationship you have with them.

3.) Focus on your assets. Hershel is the voice of wisdom. Daryl is an expert tracker. Glenn knows he isn’t physically the strongest of the group. Instead, he uses his “stealth” (scavenging ability, knowledge of shortcuts in Atlanta) to his, and the group’s advantage. He is valued for his loyalty and willingness to take risks for the greater good of the group.

THE LESSON: You’ll have a greater likelihood of success in your job search if you concentrate on roles that play to your strengths. For example, if you perform best face-to-face, attend more networking events. If writing is your strength, devote more time to personalized e-mails to potential employers.

4.) Have a Plan B. Rick and the other survivors were comfortable at the prison, and the Governor’s group was tucked away in their town. Then, the unexpected happened, and everyone was wandering in the wilderness. They had no communication strategy or rally point, and no supplies. Had they thought to stash food, water, and weapons in designated places, life might not have been so rough in Season 4.

THE LESSON: Don’t take it for granted that you will always have a job. “Traditional” work practices, such as employer loyalty, have been affected by technological, economic, and political changes around the world. Know that nearly everyone will be required to change careers or industries at some point due to these changes. At the same time, we never know what surprises life will throw at us. The more prepared we are, the better off we’re likely to be.

5.) Stick to the road less traveled. Remember how Atlanta was overrun by walkers in Season 1? In contrast, it took much longer for the walkers to appear on Hershel’s out-of-the way farm. The survivors soon learned that not only walkers, but looters and bandits flocked to high-volume areas, expecting the pickings to be good. Rick and his crew were smart to get away from the city early-on.

THE LESSON: Your odds of success may increase if your pursue opportunities off the beaten path. Smaller, lesser-known companies may be thrilled to bring on someone with your skillset! Additionally, know that the majority of job seekers still use online job boards as their primary job search tool. This is one instance where you’re better off not following the crowd!

6.) Learn from your mistakes. Andrea tried to help negotiate a truce between Rick and the Governor. Ultimately, there was no truce, and Andrea suffered the consequences, realizing her mistakes too late. Her death, however, made Rick and the others realize that saving people is just as important as killing walkers.

THE LESSON: It may take you longer than anticipated to find a job. Don’t waste valuable time and resources on job search methods that aren’t effective for you. If you aren’t succeeding, stop and reevaluate your process.

7.) Stay healthy and stay positive. Arguably, these may be the most difficult aspect of survivals. From a practical standpoint, it’s difficult to get proper nutrition and rest in a post-apocalyptic world. But once Rick’s group made the prison their home, things improved. They were together, in an enclosed somewhat safe space, able to grow their own food. However, they also realized another key element to long-term survival: a reason to survive. For some, that reason came in the form of a person (Glenn and Maggie; Rick and Carl). For others, their optimism carried them through.

THE LESSON: There are proven benefits to optimism. If you aren’t confident in your abilities, how will employers be confident in you?

The Walking Dead – Image courtesy of AMC