Shockingly, a common theme I see when speaking to many people looking for employment is desperation. It’s not unusual to hear “I don’t really have a preference; I just want a job”. They may have begun their search with an idea of the types of activities they wanted to do on a regular basis, or an environment that would suit their goals, but quickly abandoned them once they didn’t get the results they wanted. Desperation in a job search is never a good thing and it has the potential to end terribly. Here are 4 ways to take charge of your job search and eliminate desperation.
- Don’t Veer From Your Interest – If you haven’t done so already, take the time to get to know what your interest are. If you are willing to take anything, more than likely you won’t get what you want. You must have a plan. We all have had job we just couldn’t stand, and thought anything would be better than what we had. This is when you can become desperate. When you make decisions from a place of anxiousness or despair most often the results are never good. Take control of your career and know what your interests are, set goals for yourself, and stick with them. Waiting can be challenging especially when you don’t get the results you want fast enough. However, It’s better to be patient and get what you want, than to take anything and discover you are in a worse position than when you started your search. If you are proactive and actively manage your career, you will secure opportunities that allow you to meet your interest.
- Target Many Companies – A good place to start your job search is by compiling a robust list (40 – 50) of companies that you feel would be a good match for your interest and career goals. People become desperate when they feel there are not enough options for them on the market. If you limit your search to strictly job boards it may seem that there aren’t many options. Especially if you continually apply for jobs and never receive call backs. In the 2 Hour Job Search Book written by Steve Dalton, his approach is centered around 3 steps prioritization (targeting companies & positions), contact (contacting company insiders), and recruiting advocacy (having others advocate for you). His technique includes writing down your dream companies and Googling related companies, looking up target job titles and locations on LinkedIn, job boards, and the trend method that centers around looking up articles related to your target method and searching for the companies that are mentioned. This approach will allow you to create a great target list of employers and show you that you have many options.
- Connect With Insiders – It’s been proven that many people secure job interviews as a result of referrals. By connecting with company insiders (people who work at your target company or know people within) you gain insight about the company culture, learn what they look for in job candidates, and put yourself on the radar of people that are already employed there. This person can become an advocate on your behalf to people who make the hiring decisions. The key is to be proactive and connect with people with ties to companies on your target list. That’s why the list is so important. Without the list most people randomly apply for positions on job boards. You shouldn’t just connect with people when positions aren’t posted on the company website. Nor should you just connect with people with the sole purpose of landing a job. Try and establish a mutually beneficial professional relationship. If you do so you will have an edge over people who apply online via job boards.
- Know Your Value – When you don’t know the value you bring to companies you are at a disadvantage. You’ll take a lower salary, settle for a job that is not in-line with employers. Many people hold the idea that companies have all the power when it comes to employment. I hear things like “I have to do whatever it takes to get a job”. I hear even worse advice from people claiming to be Career Coaches. They tell people looking for employment to take any offer that is presented to them. Or supposedly professional Resume Writers, who instruct people to solely focus their documents to get past ATS systems. They tell them not to pay attention to their story or direct interactions with people. Optimizing your resume for ATS is very important but it should not take away from your story either. Your story is important as well and you are more valuable than just stuffing your resume with keywords and annexing anything that doesn’t focus on ATS.
Conducting a job search without having a plan and focus is not a good idea. You may find a new position but chances are it won’t be what want. You must know what your interests are and the types of activities you would like to be involved in on a regular basis. Compile a comprehensive list of companies that you would be interested in working for and continuously add to the list. Make networking a regular part of your life and you will increase your chances of landing employment at places you want to work. Be strategic in your approach and connect with people at companies you would like to work for. Lastly, know your value. In some cases, you may take a bridge position that will help you to get where you want to be, but always keep your end goal in front of you. Be patient abandon your goals at the first sign of adversity. You will be better off in the long run.
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