You may have heard of an “escape room” which is a trendy game which can be a complicated proposition. In this activity, a group of people agrees to be locked in a room, and the escapees and must find clues and solve puzzles which leads to an escape. To successfully win, quick-thinking clues need to be solved, and wit and savviness are needed to outpace your competitors.
These skills can transfer to your job search. We’ve asked two professionals who tell you how to do it.
Maintain your focus
There’s a time limit while attempting to conquer an escape room, so sticking to the task at hand is paramount. “You are forced to concentrate on one task – breaking out – and everything else in your life becomes momentary background noise,” says Denise Dudley, a Los Angeles-based professional trainer and keynote speaker, author, business consultant, and founder and former CEO of SkillPath Seminars. This attention to detail can be used to focus on a successful job search.
“So now, imagine that your singular task for today isn’t breaking out of a room, but job-hunting, plain and simple. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you focused on that one task, without becoming distracted by other things,” Dudley says. Her advice: create a plan within time perimeters.
“Adopt the escape room’s 60-minute timeframe: spend 60 minutes focusing like a laser beam on the task of finding a job, take a break, and then resume for another 60 minutes,” she advises. “You’ll accomplish more with this method than if you simply dabble and daydream throughout the day.”
Be a create thinker
According to Dudley, this phrase rings true: things are not always what they seem, especially in an escape room. “Some clues lead to dead ends,” she says. “Other clues lead somewhere, but not necessarily to the first or second or third place you look. You have to suss out the meaning of things.”
Creative thinking can be used in a job search. “As you read the job offerings on LinkedIn (or wherever you’re looking), it’s important to read between the lines. Is the company posting several jobs at once? If so, it might be a good idea to investigate what’s happening,” she advises.
Consider what’s creating opportunities for onboarding. Are they creating a new department, going through a major restructuring, or has there been a recent employee mass exodus? “Each of these reasons could spell opportunity or danger, and if you’re smart, you’re going to want to know before you proceed,” adds Dudley.
Adopt a sense of urgency
When in an escape room, if you don’t solve the clues and break out within the time allotted, you’re finished – and you lose. Dudley says this knowledge of potential failure keeps you moving at all times.
“By putting a deadline on a project – whether it’s one hour in an escape room or one week to find a job – you immediately create a motivation for action,” she adds. And action is what’s going to get you somewhere.
“Give yourself a deadline of some sort: finding ten companies you want to investigate for career opportunities by the end of the week; emailing five resumes – with original cover letters – to viable companies by the end of the day; speaking to two headhunters by noon. Play job-hunting the way you play an escape room: if you don’t get going, and now, you will lose at the end of the game,” she continues.
Look for clues to up your game
Dana Case, director of operations with MyCorporation.com, says that while in an escape room, you are constantly looking for any unusual clues that can help you get out and reading the instructions provided once you do find a helpful clue.
“With the job hunt, it’s important to thoroughly read through the requirements for applying for a job,” Case states. “Often, employers will slip in small requirements, like adding a specific word to your resume or titling your subject header a certain way when applying, that show the applicant has read the job description and knows how to follow directions.
“If you don’t follow these instructions, they won’t look at your resume and you won’t be considered for the job – likewise with an escape room where you won’t be able to get out.”