Get Your Job Search on Track
There are still many people under the impression that because the economy is picking up, it is easy to get a job. The qualifier, of course, is whether any job will do. If you are expecting to get your dream job, then it may be time to face some harsh realities about how that is most likely to happen.
The first step in capturing your dream job is becoming clear about what that means. If you have not already articulated your short-, mid- and long-term goals, then do yourself a favor. Back up and start again. Keep your eyes on the prize (your long-term goal) and develop a sound plan for reaching it. The effort will help keep you from going off into a ditch along the way.
Once you have a target, the rest of the process can be addressed logically or scientifically. Creating a plan for reaching your goal is critical to ensuring you learn what you need to know to make the right decisions. Haphazard, scattered or random efforts typically miss the mark. They can cause you to waste a lot of time, and you could end up feeling more disappointed than productive. It’s important to research carefully and check out all of your assumptions. All of this takes time and will require planning.
Enlisting the following steps will help you make the most of your time, ensure you focus your efforts and keep you on track.
Develop a process. Get out of the “lotto” mentality. Avoid random, casual attacks. They can be draining and unproductive. Create a system for approaching your job search or transition the same way you might manage a work project.
Set objectives and timelines. Be clear about what you need to accomplish and exactly when you will do it. A “to-do” list is more likely to get done when it is inserted into your calendar and you are committed to doing the tasks on it.
Use a system for staying organized. Piles of paper or an inbox full of email won’t help you get clear about next steps. Develop a system you will follow consistently to save and store information related to your search.
Get real about your competitive position. Stop fooling yourself. Don’t let your ego get the better of you. If you are one of several hundred people applying for a role, be clear about any key skills that are absolute deal breakers. Anything preventing you from hitting the ground running when you start a new role needs to be carefully examined. It’s understandable that you would need to learn the ropes, but if you need to be trained on a foundational skill to execute the job, think again about sending in an application and competing with people who have already mastered the necessary components. The clearer you are about what you are able to do and how your skills and experience are perceived, the less time you will spend beating your head against a brick wall.
Apply yourself. Commit to what it takes. If you are unemployed, work at least eight hours a day and be willing to work evenings and weekends if that is what it takes to follow up on an opportunity. You will get results directly related to the effort you invest. If you are already working full time, schedule time each day to work on your plan for moving forward.
Develop thick skin. Rejection is just part of the process. Be prepared to be turned down. Be willing to examine your approach and make a plan for figuring out how you can improve.
Get help. Finding work in today’s market should not be an assumed skill. There is very little taught in school about how you can prepare for all the changes the market will go through or how to plan for them. This is a minute-by-minute game, and those of us who are in it every day are better able to help you navigate the uncertainty of it all.
Like a railroad track, the route to your dream job can be full of curves, uphill climbs, downhill plunges and unforeseeable obstacles. But learning and following time-tested ways to engineer your course will enormously increase your odds of reaching your destination.