Most people who appear to get what they want begin with a vision or a goal. The clearer they become about what it is they are going after, the easier it is to set their sights on it and go after it. You might ask: “How do some people figure out or know what they want?” Perhaps in the beginning, they didn’t. But the difference between many that have what they want, and those that are still wishing, is that they did something more than wish about it to help themselves get more clear.
If you are unsure of what you want to do or can do, then the first step is to learn about what is out there. Start asking questions. You can ask people about different types of work, companies or industries you are interested in. You can ask people what they enjoy, what they are challenged by, or are what they are concerned about. You can ask anything that helps you move toward a target and will help you look beyond postings on job boards. Even if you don’t yet know what the full extent of your questions are, you can begin to move forward by asking the more obvious ones and move on from there as you learn more. Staying stuck, over-thinking things with only your own perspective to relate to, and not asking questions, is unlikely to change anything.
Once you have asked your first question, you will likely be prompted to learn more. There is a boat load of information on the Internet. You can type any kind of query into Bing or Google, and you are bound to come back with something of interest. You can research companies and people on LinkedIn to get a better idea of who is doing what, and for what company. You can piece together clues about a company’s culture by reading the profiles of their employees on LinkedIn. If you like tracking clues or investigating, then this should be the fun part. Take each sliver of information and consider the possibilities. Rather than only seeing the face value of what you learn, think it through. Look for clues to how the information could be a stepping stone in the right direction, rather than the ultimate goal. Pay close attention and seek out the less than obvious implications.
Each day I spend several hours researching companies to identify what they do, what their needs are, what they might be looking forward to. I read articles and news from many sites. I talk to recruiters, managers, and every day working people in all walks of life. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it does require motivation and commitment. I use the information to help people go to work. If you want to go to work sooner than later, then you can do it too.
So, now you might be asking: “What’s it take to find this stuff?” It requires reading, talking to people, listening for clues and following up on every single lead to the very end. Leads to opportunities are dropped in our laps every day; nuggets of information with potential for opportunities. It’s really what we then do with the information that makes all of the difference.
As an example, if someone tells you about a company that is moving to your area, why wait until there is a job posting? Find out what the company does, and determine if there is something you can offer that would be of value. Find someone to talk to in the company to learn more, and to develop a relationship with. Learn what their time lines are. There may be fallout from people not wishing to relocate. Don’t wait until after they move or after a posting goes out announcing their need before you contact them. If you wait until their need is common knowledge, you’ll be one of 1,000 other candidates contacting them.
If you have an idea of what you want to do and for whom, go after it. Stop passively chasing job announcements and proactively create opportunity.
What examples can you add for finding opportunity?