There is no question that a lot of things go into considering leaving your current role for something new. Whether you’re sprinting to the door of your current gig, or just trying to keep your eyes passively peeled for potential opportunities, it’s good to ponder some of the major things that go into landing your next role. There’s no doubt, the process of finding, applying for, and getting to the interview stage in a job search has become increasingly complex, but doing a little leg work upfront can go a long way. Let’s dive in!
Here are some things to think about when starting your search:
1. What are you looking for?
Whether it’s something as straightforward as pay, or something more complex like a culture mismatch and feelings of unfulfillment, it’s time to get in tune with yourself. Build an ideal job profile that includes your thoughts on salary, benefits, culture, atmosphere, and more. Your next opportunity may not check all the boxes on day one, but it’s important to get into a role where you know there is potential for true long-term satisfaction and avoid jumping into a role as a temporary fix. It’s important to understand what brings you job satisfaction 40+ hours per week, knowing that no job is perfect every day. Consider your current skill set, how it differs from what you want to do, and be sure to outline gaps. The beauty of this digital age is that there is no shortage of resources. Don’t count out the value of career coaching, online classes and bootcamps, and (shameless plug) recruiters and staffing agencies!
2. What’s in a name?
Gone are the days where people are simply marketing managers, graphic designers, and account executives. Branding Guru. Front-End Evangelist. Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence. These are ACTUAL job titles floating around the web that mean next to nothing to job seekers. Time to roll up your sleeves and really dive into job descriptions, and while this is absolutely time consuming, it’s important not to be distracted or turned off by a title, but rather by what you’ll be doing day-to-day. Furthermore, understand that it is imperative to tweak your resume for different positions. Hiring managers and human resources teams are sifting through hundreds of resumes, and it’s important to show that you’ve taken time to understand the role and show them you’re a fit. Make it easy for someone to say “YES!” to you.
3. Whatcha Lookin’ At?
Whether we’re talking actual appearance, or your online presence, it’s time to get your ducks in a row. Do yourself a favor and get your LinkedIn profile in shape by thoroughly filling out job descriptions for past roles, ensuring your profile picture is clear and professional, and by taking full advantage of all LinkedIn’s features that let hiring managers know you’re looking, and what you’re looking for. Don’t be shy about asking for recommendations from references to provide an outside perspective on your candidacy as well. Ahead of interviews, do your homework on a company’s culture to ensure you’re not showing up to that swanky agency suited up and stuffy, or alternately showing up to a corporate setting in jeans. The devil is in the details when it comes to ensuring you’re putting your best physical and digital foot forward!
4. Who do you know?
Network, network, network. If you want the best chances of making valuable connections and landing a role, it’s time to dust off your socializing hat and get out there. To all the wallflowers, introverts, and people who hate small talk, this is a necessary step. Think of job boards and online applications like the front gate at a Taylor Swift concert. Yes, it’s logical to go through the front door and you should absolutely apply to jobs online, but wouldn’t it be nice if you knew a crew member that could walk you a little further around the side of the massive arena, and maybe even slide you a $13 bottle of water on your way in? You never know when someone you met at a professional Happy Hour or, ahem, a recruiter, could be a direct connection to the right job at the right time and help you cut through the crowd.
5. Y’all ready for this?
So, you’ve been an A+ job seeker following all “the rules,” what’s next? In an ideal world, you’re preparing for interviews and it’s time to do your research. Know what to wear, know who you’re meeting with, and know your questions. Show that you have interest in a company’s overall business goals and be ready to paint a picture of how you’re going to do just that. Follow up, send thank you notes, and repeat. These are all things we know by now, so what if you’re still not making the cut? First, don’t get discouraged. It’s sure easy to say, not so easy to do, but if you’re wearing your frustration on your sleeve it will show, and it will make a difference. Hiring managers want to see passion, energy, and someone that can dust themselves off when things aren’t going according to plan so keep your chin up. If there’s a specific company you’re especially disappointed in missing out on, do yourself a favor and stay in touch! Teams are changing, expanding, and shifting goals regularly and showing that you meant what you said in your interview may come back around and pay off big time the next time there’s an opening.
At the end of the day, looking for a job is a tough gig. It takes time, patience, persistence, and a true openness to taking feedback. Take a deep breath and know that there is an opportunity out there for you, and that you may need to stick it out in a less than ideal spot sometimes while things fall into place. Set aside time for your job search each week and then set it aside so it doesn’t consume you, and at the end of the day, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone on all sides of the hiring process is a human, and more willing to lend a hand than you might think!
Kate Conner, Recruiter