Membership & Fellowship: 4 Ways to Declutter Your Job Search with the KonMari Method

By Erin Farwell

This article reprinted courtesy of HealtheCareers, the managers of ACOG’s Career Connection online job board.  Find your next job and career resources at ACOG’s Career Connection

The KonMari method is literally sweeping the nation. This comprehensive system of decluttering and organizing your home was developed by Marie Kondo and presented in her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The system focuses on removing anything from your home that doesn't "spark joy" and organizing what remains to avoid relapse-clutter behaviors.

What would happen if you applied her key techniques to conducting a health care job search? Sound crazy? Not really. The KonMari method is about eliminating what doesn’t work for you to make room for what does. If you apply this approach to a job search, you could end up with an extraordinary career that you never thought possible. Think of it as “spring cleaning” your job search.

Key Elements of the KonMari method:

  • Sort by category, not location
  • Figure out what you need to discard first
  • Sort things to make your life shine
  • Keep things because you love them, not “just because”
  • Follow your intuition and all will be well

That all sounds great when it comes to deciding whether to keep or toss a pair of jeans or a book you never got around to reading, but you might be wondering how these tenets apply to your job search.

Read on for four ways to declutter your career search using the KonMari method.

1. Select Your Target Jobs

If your job search has been dragging on or you're looking for a new position because you lost your previous one due to hospital mergers, budget cuts, or staff changes, you may be tempted to accept the first job offer that comes along, regardless of whether it's a good fit or has long-term potential. Instead, take this opportunity to really consider your employment options.

Sort things to make your life shine: Review your past positions and identify what you liked best and least about each one. You might be surprised to find that the job you “loved” was filled with activities you loathed, but you worked with great people. The reverse is also true, a job you hated could have been due to personality conflicts, but you loved the actual work. The goal is to determine which job activities and what type of organizational culture are the best fit for your personality. Once you know what you're looking for, you can identify the jobs that will meet your needs and organizations where you'll be happy and able to make a positive contribution.

2. Organize Your Resume

Most people update their resumes by simply adding their most recent employment at the top and dropping everything else down the page. What you end up with is a drab, bloated piece of paper that doesn’t say much about who you are today—and is unlikely to spark joy in you or the person reading it.

Figure out what you need to discard first: You want your resume to be short and engaging. Items that were important when you graduated from high school or college are probably no longer relevant. Eliminate personal activities you no longer participate in and starter jobs, unless they add a skill set that's necessary for the jobs you're applying for. Remove the clutter to give your resume a boost.

Sort things to make your life shine: Reorganize your resume and include a statement of intent so the person reading it understands who you are and what you want. Your aim should be to highlight the skills and experience that fit the jobs you're applying for.

If your resume is too cluttered, your education and experience are difficult to find, or if the reader can’t match your resume to the job opening, it will end up in the “no” pile. Be proactive and let your skills and experience shine!

3. Declutter Your Cover Letter

There are two important things to know about the cover letter. First, someone in human resources will likely review it before passing it along or tossing it away. Second, it should not be a rehash of your resume.

Figure out what you need to discard first: You may have the best technical knowledge of a subject possible, but if the lay person in human resources doesn’t understand what you are talking about, it won’t get past his or her desk. Discard the jargon and share who you are and what you can do. Trust your resume to present the details and allow the letter to be your introduction.

Keep things because you love them, not “just because": Your resume tells people what you can do, use your cover letter to tell them who you are. Avoid trite phrases and over-used platitudes, such as “I’m a hard worker and a good fit.” Instead, explain why you're passionate about your career, obstacles you’ve overcome to get where you are, and what you believe you can contribute to the organization. A cover letter like this will help you stand out from the crowd and is more likely to lead to an interview.

4. Spark Joy in Your Job Interview

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to learn about the health care organization you're applying to. Dress appropriately and be engaging—but don't dominate the conversation.

Sort things to make your life shine: Before you arrive at the interview, prepare two or three professional stories of how you overcame an obstacle or achieved a specific goal. Don’t be afraid to refer to notes during the interview. It shows the interview was important enough that you’ve taken time to prepare. Just don’t rely on them to the extreme that you forget to engage with the interviewer.

Follow your intuition and all will be well: A successful job interview allows you to present yourself and what you can do for the hiring organization. It's also a chance for you to get a sense of the work environment, growth opportunities, and general expectations. Trust your instincts during the interview, and you will know if the company is the right fit for you.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to find a position you love and that can sustain you over a period of time. Applying KonMari techniques to a job search can help you streamline the process and land a great position within the right work environment.

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