“Be Prepared” is the motto of the Girl Scouts (and the Boy Scouts too), and comes to mind every time someone’s daughter approaches me with a smile and an order form for cookies! Girl Scout Week starts on Sunday, March 12th, and all of this seems particularly relevant to me right now.

Here in Delaware, we just experienced a nasty winter storm. While this was predicted to side step us and leave merely a dusting, we wound up with a good 6-8 inches. I heard from several friends about cars destroyed by falling trees, basements flooding when the power went out and sump-pumps failed, and all sorts of misery that can occur when we forget who’s really in charge: Mother Nature!

Fortunately, our home was spared and we got to spend some time enjoying the snow and having fun.  I spent the day relatively free from worry though, both because we were lucky and because we were prepared. And, that is totally against my nature.

You Don’t Have to be a Scout to be Prepared (But it helps!)

Were you a Girl Scout? I was, and I remember thinking the motto was a personal affront! I was the girl who was flexible, I was going to go with the flow! None of that “everything in order” for this young lady – nope, that wasn’t me. Yet at the core of my rebellion was this truth: I just didn’t know what “prepared” even looked like or how to do that work. While not true of all free spirits, my personal free spirit was born of feeling I couldn’t achieve that perfection of preparedness the slogan implied. Which is what landed me in the desert during a sandstorm without her sleeping bag (really). And more prepared scouts – who also had badges in sewing and knot tying – helped me out.

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Why You Should Be Prepared – And How It Can Help Your Job Search

Happily, over the years I started paying attention and I observed that there are actually very good reasons to be prepared. 

1. Being prepared isn’t a chain that holds us back – it’s a gift that sets us free. Imagine if your resume were always up to date? What if you stayed in touch with former colleagues and references, checking in periodically? How would it feel to know what to say when someone says, “what are you looking for?” It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but having these few things at the ready can completely transform how you are able to respond to an opportunity that comes your way. Wouldn’t that feel great?

2. Being prepared is simply considering the possibilities. I used to say, “Let’s not think about that,” Scarlett O’Hara style…I didn’t want to be upset by the negative. Then, on more than one occasion, I observed others navigate away from messes I would step right into at work.  They had spent a few minutes anticipating possible outcomes and reactions and they took those into account. And they reaped the rewards. Eventually it hit me – this didn’t look hard – it just looked smart.

3. Being prepared sets you apart. Early in my career I decided to see if I could transfer my career counseling skills from academia to a corporate recruiting role. This was potentially a tough sell and I was invited to an interview for a big role. I was so excited about it that I put together a report on what I would do in the first six months on the job. As the first interview was wrapping up, I took a deep breath, pulled out the report and handed it to the hiring manager. I was offered a second interview on the spot. On reflection I realized that he valued my preparation.

Are you putting enough preparation into your job search? If you’re not sure how to do that, you are not alone! We can help. Apply for a complimentary consultation today.