The Next New Marketing Campaign: Your Job Search.
By Kaylee Houde
Whether you are stuck on a misaligned path and are looking for a change, or are between gigs and need a job yesterday, you need to have a plan.
Life has a tendency of getting in the way of our goals, so if you want to make a career change it is important that you set some intention and stick to your plan. Quality over quantity and spending the time to make it happen are the only ways to reap the rewards of the job search.
You have got to do the work, to get the work.
Nobody can do it all for you, because nobody is you. Only you can effectively tell your story to employers, as only you know every experience and how you have added value in the past. At the end of the day it is you in the interview, and while a coaching service can be critical in developing, strategizing and practicing, you still need to do the work.
For example, if you hired a personal trainer at the gym and they asked you to do 50 ab repetitions, would you turn around and ask them to do it for you? No. They would get abs and you would not. It is the same premise with career and job search coaching.
Yes, it can be time consuming. You probably want a job that is going to be aligned with your values and does more than just pays the bills, right? Don’t you want to wake up in the morning excited to get to your place of employment?
“You have a job. Finding a job is a job. So treat it like one.” – Marie Larson
Here are some tips on how you can treat finding a job like a job…
(1) Decide how much time each day (or week) you need to spend on the job search
(2) Set goals and measure your ROI
(3) Know your worth and what questions to ask
How much time do you need to spend?
The answer to this question is different for everyone, where they are in their careers, what sort of industry they are targeting and what the economy looks like in those areas. What is more important is having a tangible goal associated with time. Look at your target market, what are they looking for? What common themes come up in the job postings you are researching?
Start noticing how long it takes you to target your resume and cover letter to a job posting. Factor in that for each role you are excited about you should be reaching out to employees and setting up information interviews.
Once upon a time I was looking for a career change myself and I was stuck in remote locations four days out of the week. I realized it was becoming impossible to network effectively and show up for interviews. After I had hand-picked some companies that I knew were hiring or had opportunities, I quit my job in order to focus on the job search.
While some people will say, “It is best to look for a job while you still have a job,” you also have to be reasonable. If you are completely unable to attend interviews while working in your current role, you are not going to reach your end goal of finding new employment.
After I left my previous employer, I focused on networking. I went on coffee dates with previous supervisors, with friends that worked at companies I was interested in, and gathered new connections using networking apps like LinkedIn and Shapr.
As a result, I had three job offers in less than three months at roles that were much more in alignment with my values than the position I was previously in.
It is possible to amplify your job search if you both spend the time and spend it in the right places. That means instead of sitting in your pajamas with a cup of coffee and pouring over job boards online, you need to get out of your house. You need to be proactive. You need to do your homework, and you need to use it to leverage yourself in the competitive job search marketplace.
Set goals and measure your success.
What is the ROI on your job search? Keep an Excel file. Tracking how many jobs you apply for, when you get interviews, and when you make it to the offer stage are all important for measuring your success. This will help you understand where your job search personality is shining through as well. What types of companies “get you” when it comes to your application? Is networking reaping more rewards than applying through the “black hole” called the Internet? (Probably, it is).
This will allow you opportunity to check-in with yourself and make sure you are on track. If you have applied for 25 jobs and have not had a single interview, perhaps it is time to diagnose why. Your resume and cover letter may not be competitive or targeted enough. Perhaps you are not making it through the infamous Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Whatever it is, you now know where in the “job search funnel” you are getting stuck because you tracked your results.
The biggest piece that people tend to miss in this stage is setting goals about networking and relationship building. If your goal is to spend 2 hours in the evening on your job search Monday through Friday, how much of that time do you spend actively building relationships with potential employers? I would suggest it be the majority. Make sure you have an intentional goal around connecting with others that is also specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, relevant, and time-bound (SMARRT).
Know your worth and ask the tough questions.
Remember when I said finding a job can be a full-time job? This is part of that. The last thing you want to do is to leave one job that you hate for another one that is equally misaligned.
To find the right job, you need to know (a) how you add value and (b) what questions to ask.
Knowing how you add value means knowing your personal results. How have you improved performance at your previous company? How do you know you did a good job? What were your results when it came to your performance reviews? These are all aspects you need to gather for your job search so that you can speak to your strengths in your documents, and while in the interview.
If that sounds like a lot of work, knowing what questions to ask is even more challenging and arguably even more important. If you know yourself and your results, you also need to know yourself and your values. You need to know what you are looking for in an employer, in a team, or in a career. With this, make a list of questions that are both socially acceptable and get to the crux of what you need to know.
Here are some examples…
If you know you work better under pressure and strict deadlines, then ask in the interview, “How does the team set themselves up for success to reach their goals?”
If being able to laugh at work is important to you then you may want to ask, “What is the communication style of the team? What would being part of this team look like day to day?”
Thus, it depends on your timeline and goals as to whether or not you let finding a job become a full-time or part-time job in itself, but at the very least it is going to take some time!
It takes the right level of work to secure meaningful employment.
Whether you are entry level or a senior executive you still need to showcase yourself effectively throughout the aspects of the job search including your resumes, cover letters, interview skills, and networking. Make sure you have dedicated hours to spend towards your job search, working backwards from the end-result you want, and take step-by-step actions that you can measure over time. Do not forget to check in with yourself regularly, and always know your worth and ask the questions that are important to ensure you don’t just get a job, but the right one.
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