The people I work with often come to me after trying and failing to land a new job. Sometimes it’s just been a few months, sometimes it’s been years. And more often than not, this one step helps them succeed where they could not before.
Like so many, these folks are qualified, experienced and make excellent employees. They apply and apply and occasionally get a phone screening. The lucky few may even have had an interview. But all end up in the same situation – frustrated, alone, and feeling like a failure. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not a failure and you’re not alone. You’re most likely making the same mistake many people make.
Here’s the mistake and the one thing you can do to greatly improve your search, make it less frustrating, one big thing I work with my clients on. Here’s how and why.
Why is focus going to make the big difference? Well, there are a lot of jobs out there. And people tend to just sift through the listings, applying for everything that remotely sounds like something they can do. They forget all the other elements of a job: like company culture, work/life balance, company mission, vision and values, and so much more. And it takes time to apply for all those jobs; at least an hour for each one. That’s a lot of your time spent applying for jobs that may not even be a good fit for you. Even if you do get an interview, or better yet, a job offer, is this where you want to spend 40 + hours a week?
Here’s how I help my clients avoid these pitfalls, focus their search, and land something they really love in less time. Yes, focus. In doing this, there are a few important steps.
1.Know the work you want to do. Be specific. What is the work you are passionate about, that fulfills you, that you are good at? One of the best ways to figure this out is to search by key words rather than titles.
2.Understand the kind of industry you want to work for. Each industry has its own unique culture, pace, work ethic. What works for you? Do you want something face paced with long hours? Something stable, safe without overtime? Identify the one(s) that suit you. I’ve worked in government, non-profit and tech and can confirm that each has its very own unique culture from the rest.
3.Identify what values are important to you. Understanding your values will help you match them to each industry. The more closely aligned your values are to where you work, the happier you will be.
4.Research the companies you’re thinking of applying to. There are many tools to help you conduct your research. Do this and learn what people say about the companies you think you want to work at. Look at their website. Look on glassdoor.com. Talk to people who have worked there. It’s so esy these days to find out what a company is really like.
5.Make a short list of the most compatible companies and target those companies. Once you’ve done your research, you’ll be left with a short list of the top companies. Shoot for 10.
It’s summertime. I get it. Time for vacations, lazy days hanging around, maybe even getting projects done around the house. Sure, that’s all very true. But, if you are thinking of changing jobs before the end of the year, THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW to get started on your job search. You don’t want next Summer to roll around and still be stuck in that same job.
There are some great reasons why you should start brushing up your resume and LinkedIn profile, network and do some interview prep NOW. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Yes, work slows down a little for most people. And, that means things are a bit relaxed and that hiring manager you wanted to meet with for an informational interview might just be more available, and more willing to spend time with you.
2. If there is a necessary vacant position, the company will continue to seek to fill it. Many jobs don't go on Summer hiatus and the need to fill it remains high.
3. Things are a little quieter at your job, lots of people are away on vacation, making it a little easier for you to get away from the job to conduct your search.
4. Plenty of people take the Summer off from job hunting. Take advantage of the fact there is less competition, and stand out in a smaller crowd.
5. And don't forget all those parties and bbqs that are so plentiful in the Summer. Use those opportunities to network. You never know who's going to show up that might be a great connection to a new job.
6. Companies are eager to fill open positions in September and early October to ensure they are filled before the Winter holiday season starts. I’ve seen so many jobs filled in September. If you wait until September to start the job search, you’ll miss this very short window of opportunity.
So, yes, by all means, take advantage of the sun and fun of summertime, but keep the job search active. You'll stand out from a much smaller crowd, and come fall when the weather turns, you might just find yourself in a new job that you love!
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.