5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Hitting the Job Boards
Question: What is the first thing you do when you think about looking for a new job?
Answer: Pull up LinkedIn job boards and search Google to see what is out there.
Sound familiar? It’s okay. Everyone does it.
The problem is, if you initiate a job search like that it is going to mess you up. You will become stressed, confused and overwhelmed, and not even be quite sure why.
Well, here’s why: You are going about job searching in the wrong way.
When you type in, say, your zip code and a job title or keyword into the search fields, a bunch of jobs will pop up. You will start to scroll through them and begin thinking things like:
“Well, I guess I could work for a pharmaceuticals company even though I have always worked in finance…”
“Look at this – they are looking for a VP of South American Operations – I could do that, right? But I would have to move to Buenos Aires…”
“Hey that job in Global Marketing looks amazing! But I’m an Engineer… I wonder how I could get that job…”
Job searching on job boards is kind of like how people approach online dating. They peek around to see what is out there and see if they could find a way to like what they see. “I guess I could date a football player even though I know nothing about sports…” It is like settling for what is on the menu as opposed to going out and looking for exactly what you want to eat.
I’d like to offer you another approach. Before you consider applying for that amazing Television Producer job in Phoenix, even though you are an Accountant in Atlanta, I’d like you to ask yourself these 5 things:
1. What do you want to do in your next job?
2. What interests you?
3. What inspires you?
4. What are you good at?
5. What do you know how to do?
You can go even further and think about things like the location you want to be in, the salary you want to make, and specific companies that you really like and would love to work for. Those additional qualifiers will help you focus.
Focusing means you are taking a proactive approach to your job search. Being proactive requires that you define in advance what kind of job you want before you start to look.
When you are proactive, you put the control in your hands. You become discerning and confident. You will know exactly what jobs to pursue and what jobs you will pass over. It will enable you to network with a really strong message to the people you know: “I want to do this. Can you help me?”
I coach people often and I ask them (specifically and repeatedly) to resist the urge look online for jobs until we do some fundamental – proactive – work first. Otherwise they will try to get me to figure out how to turn them into an architect or an airline pilot…
So, kindly do your professional soul searching first. It will make all the difference.