How a Mayonnaise Jar Can Help Your Job Search!
From Career Services - April 27, 2012
Below is a metaphorical story about a Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee, and how together they can help you prepare for your job search
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Cups of Coffee.
“An instructor stood before his career development class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The instructor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar and he shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The instructor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The instructor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
‘Now,’ said the instructor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your job search. The golf balls are the important things—your values, your skills, your passions/interests, your strengths, and your preparation—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your job search would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your resume, your cover letter and your interview.
The sand is everything else—the small stuff. ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for your job search.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to your search. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness:
- Spend time determining your values—what is most important to you in life.
- Spend time highlighting your skills and strengths.
- Reflect on what you’re passionate about or interested in.
- And if you don’t know…take an assessment to determine your skills, interests, etc.
- Take time to visit your career center.
- Be proactive in understanding who you are and what you want.
There will always be time to clean your room, do the dishes, or work on a paper. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities – the rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the two cups of coffee represented. The instructor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The coffee just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple cups of coffee with a network connection, friend, or mentor! Remember, 80% of jobs are obtained through networking (or what others call ‘making connections’)!