Sometimes you know it’s time to begin job hunting. But where do you start preparing for the job hunt?
It can be daunting, and for good reason. You want to make sure your hunt ends in a job you’ll enjoy.
You worry about applying in the right places because you want to find a role that will bring you fulfillment. You also worry about the process taking as little time as possible.
Here are some preparation steps that will take you from aimlessly sending out resumes to having a focused strategy to find a role that will bring you fulfillment.
Get Clear About What You Want to do
Before you start looking for a job, you should determine what it is you want to do.
You want to determine what types of tasks and duties you enjoy. Knowing this will help focus your job hunt on roles that offer an opportunity to do what you enjoy.
Here are a few tips for determining what those things are.
‘Get-to-do’ vs. ‘Have-to-do’
Make a list of all the things you have been responsible for in your most recent jobs. Then categorize each as a ‘get-to-do’ or a ‘have-to-do’.
A ‘get-to-do’ is a task or duty that you find enjoyment in executing or participating in. The easiest way to determine if something is a ‘get-to-do’ is if it doesn’t feel like work when you do it. If it doesn’t feel like work to you, then it should be categorized as a ‘get-to-do’. One of mine, for example, is talking to people to learn more about their career history or getting the opportunity to flex creative muscles.
A ‘have-to-do’ is a task or duty that you do not find enjoyment in executing or participating in. It’s easy to determine if something is a ‘have-to-do’ if you feel dread at the thought of doing it or at the mention of it. If you feel that dread, then it should be categorized as a ‘have-to-do’. One thing that makes me feel that dread is a task that isn’t deliberate or planned out.
Scout Jobs That Fit Your ‘Get-to-do’s’
From here, think of the types of jobs that have more ‘get-to-do’s’ than ‘have-to-do’s’. The goal is to find a job where what you enjoy exceeds what you don’t. Now, there is most likely no such thing as a job that is 100% ‘get-to-do’s’. But, there are certain career fits where the enjoyment outweighs the dread.
Be Open to a Complete Change
Once you’ve made this list, you may find out that there is more than one career that offers things that bring you enjoyment.
For example, I enjoy paying knowledge forward to others to help them succeed at whatever their challenge may be. This is something I could do as a server at Walt Disney World by using my knowledge of the resort to help guests have the best vacation of their lives. It’s also something I get to do as an Interview Coach when helping guests with the knowledge they need to be effective in their next interview.
If you’d told me then that this business would exist now, I may not have believed you!
Multiple career options can satisfy things that you enjoy doing. Being open to new career paths can be scary at first, but often can end up being the best decision you ever make once you have made the change!
That’s not to say everyone should make a wholesale career change. It isn’t for everyone.
However, considering one will either help you make a good decision or validate the career path you are on. Both outcomes help ensure that when your career is over, you have no regrets.
Get Clear About Where You Want to do it
Now that you know what you want to do, you should be more specific about where you want to do it.
You want to determine which organizations will give you the opportunities to do what you want while sharing your values.
It’s important to work with a company that shares your values because it is more fulfilling to be part of a mission that you believe in.
List Admirable Organizational Traits
Think of the things you value most in organizations.
Some examples are integrity, people-first focus, investment in development, opportunities to grow/learn, or reputation in the community.
Try to avoid saying ‘culture’ or ‘good culture’. Culture is important, but it is too broad a word. All the specific things listed above are things that contribute to a culture. Get specific about what you want to see in an organization’s culture.
Here’s mine: customer-first mindset in everything they do (including processes and policies), strong leadership principles, and an ability to keep things fun and enjoyable.
Once you know what you are looking for in an organization, it’s time to research who can deliver on what you are looking for.
First, find organizations that offer roles that allow you to do what you’ve defined that you want to do. The next step is determining which of those organizations most value what you do.
Now, nearly every organization will message and signal its virtues. Sadly, many don’t follow through in practice.
The good news is that it’s never been easier to find out the truth about what it is truly like to work for an organization. Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed allow employees to post reviews of organizations they work for. Here is where you can find out the truth.
Bear in mind that no organization is perfect. None will have perfectly glowing reviews. However, you can use these reviews to see the general themes to determine if the organization shares those values that you previously identified as admirable.
One word of advice when reading these reviews. Look for patterns and common themes in those reviews. Don’t take the ‘one-offs’ as gospel about what it’s like to work there.
Here’s what is meant by this. If an organization receives multiple reviews saying they put strong leadership principles into action, then they likely do so on the whole. If only one review mentions it, then it is less likely to be reality.
The same goes for negative reviews. Any disgruntled employee can leave a negative review. If you read reviews with negative traits, make sure that more than one review lists that trait before using it to determine if that organization truly exhibits that trait.
Make a Prioritized List
You now have a list of organizations that will give you opportunities to do what you want and most share your values.
You should now prioritize that list based on which organization most matches your values.
It is more than likely that no organization 100% matches what you value most. Take the ones who most meet your criteria and put them at the top.
Prepare to Execute on Your Research
Once your research is complete, you will have a list of organizations that you want to target with job applications.
Your next step is to create a job search routine that will keep you effective, balanced, and focused. The video above offers a strategy for creating an effective job search routine.
When executing your routine, prioritize roles and networking in your target organizations first.
If you need help with networking, this blog shows how to effectively network with organizations you are interested in contributing to.
If you plan your job hunt well, you can prevent a job search that is unfocused and may land you a job that you won’t enjoy.
By preparing well, your efforts will be focused on a way that increases the chances of finding fulfillment in what you do.
If you need help with your strategy, let me know!