Competition for landing your next job can be fierce. As such it's important you are able to devote time to presenting your best case when you go to apply. This encompasses everything from having a clear vision of what you want your career trajectory to be, your current value - what you bring to the table - as well as personal branding.
While this can be a time-consuming process, finding the right job can set you on the course for further success. Therefore, the investment you make now from a time perspective could change your life. To assist you in this endeavor, let's look at the path to employment, as it involves six different steps, including:
- Personal assessment
- Professional advice
- Building your brand
- Application process
- Consider the offer
It's important to note this is a fluid process, meaning you won't do these steps in order to find your next job. Merely, these are meant as points of consideration to use when formulating your job searching objectives. Here's a closer look at each of these points and ways you can use them to your advantage when looking for your next gig.
1. Personal Assessment
Before moving forward, it's important to document where have you been. Make a list of your previous jobs, what skills did you acquire from them? Were there any unexpected challenges in one of your previous positions, and if so, what did you do to meet that challenge? And if you didn't, how will you handle this moving forward? This practice gives you valuable insight into the skills and experiences you gained that you can use to market for your next job.
If you have been in the same field for some time and are looking for a change in careers, don't neglect the skills you developed, as many of them might be transferrable to a new role. Moreover, think of the traits you exuded in your roles such as leadership, team work and communication because these are the skills companies want in their prospective applicants. By giving a full overview of your skill sets in previous experiences, it helps you sell yourself better to potential employers as well as identify strengths and weaknesses.
Lastly, don't be afraid to seek third-party perspectives from people who know you the most such as trusted friends, relatives and former co-workers. They can help you pinpoint your what your biggest assets are and where they will be best put to use.
Next, it's important you develop a vision that gives you a firm understanding of what you want in your next position. Here are some considerations to be mindful of:
- Which industry do you want your job to be in? This is important because some industries have their own job sites where it makes easier to find your next job. To illustrate, if you want a job in the financial sector, efinancialcareers is an excellent place to find a venture capital or risk management job. As part of this, be sure to specify the department you want a job in. Many job search websites have filters where you can use this to expedite your job search.
- What time commitment are you willing to give for your new job? Normally, this is specified in intervals such as full-time, part-time, contract or freelance. In some instances, you could do freelance, contract, or part-time jobs with an organization then transition into a full-time role.
- What kind of position is your next job going to be in? Are you wanting to be head of IT or champion the next social media campaign? When choosing a position level, be mindful of the requirements of the position to ensure you meet all the skill sets required - there's no sense wasting your time or the company's if you fail to meet all the skills requested.
- What are your minimum salary requirements? What benefits must you have? If you are uncertain of your salary requirements, use a website like salary.com to find the median average salary of similar positions in your area. This will help you if you reach negotiation levels with a company interested in hiring you.
- How far are you willing to travel for your daily commute? Do you prefer if the company has telecommuting options? Knowing how much you want to travel, or not travel at all in the case of telecommuting makes it easier to find the jobs that match your travel preferences.
- How big of a company do your prefer to work for? What do you want in a workplace culture? These are points of emphasis you can strive for now and in the place of culture, learn more of by examining a company's social media platforms or by asking them at the time of the interview.
Keep in mind it can take up to a few months to find a job once you have established your vision. However, if you have been laid off or are unemployed time isn't a luxury you'll have much of.
Managing finances is crucial during this time so first, determine how much you need for monthly living expenses then divide this by whatever you have saved, this determines how long you have to find a position. If you can supplement your income by working part-time or doing freelance work, by all means, do it. Not only will this supply money you need but it could open up opportunities you might not have seen before.
How Do My Skills Align With the Job I Want?
Using the notes from your personal assessment section, analyze your areas of strengths and weaknesses. To develop your areas of weaknesses, you can take an online class to show your prospective employers you are learning a skill needed for that job. Taking the initiative is a big thing companies want to see so be sure you develop actionable steps to strengthen areas that need the most work.
Networking might seem like an unenviable task since it's time-consuming and you are relying on others to assist you. However, networking can open opportunities you won't find on job sites. What's more, they help you develop relationships with others in your field. This is powerful because it strengthens your interpersonal skills, you can share resources with colleagues to build credibility in your field and, most important, it could open up new job opportunities.
There are many ways to approach networking. One of the best ways is to establish your credentials through publishing a blog or being a speaker at industry conferences - if applicable. These give you the platforms to share your expertise, build an audience and develop contacts within the field.
You can also go the social media route. The best platform is LinkedIn because it allows you to locate others who share your occupational aspirations. By sharing blogging posts on the platform you can gain visibility. You can also opt for its premium account where you can send messages to others.
A good tip is to keep in contact with friends and professors from college. You can send them messages checking in on them. Once you establish a dialogue, you can share career aspirations. Sometimes this opens doors, as someone might know a company that's hiring a position you would be perfect for. The same goes with former bosses and coworkers. Keep in touch with them, develop a friendship first, then, if it's natural, transition the dialogue to a more career-oriented theme. Ask for advice and share with them your success tips.
And this brings me to the most important aspect of networking: make it reciprocal. Don't pursue someone with the intention of just getting enough out of them for a job opportunity. Instead, present yourself as a value to them by offering them help if they ever need it. The attitude in which you approach networking will be what you receive out of it.
4. Professional Advice
It always helps to receive a fresh perspective as you look for a new job. There are many resources to aid you in this regard. If you are still in school or an alumni, your college is an excellent place to turn. Often they have services where they can cover everything from reviewing your resume to career placement. Another place to turn is local government career centers, as they offer similar services.
If you have some money to spend, career consultants are worth the expense. They have a wealth of experience in partnering job seekers with the right positions. To find the one that aligns most with your needs shop around, compares their services, prices and success rates before committing to one.
5. Building Your Brand
The Internet makes it simple for employers to gain a feel for you before they consider meeting with you; this is why personal branding is such an important part of the process. Think of things from the company's position: if they find pictures on Facebook of you drunk or angry rants on Twitter, would you want to hire that person?
Therefore, you want to project professionalism in all you do. Make sure all your social media pictures are appropriate. If you don't want your parents seeing them chances are you don't want prospective employers to view them either. Keep your information on LinkedIn updated, express your expertise in your field through an informative blog and connect with industry experts on Twitter. Your social media platforms can be an audition for your job so by approaching them from a company's standpoint you can project your best image.
Next, you want to a craft a resume that best represents you. Elevate yourself by highlighting relevant work skills you developed. Instead of cranking out every detail of every job you did, focus on your accomplishments. When you do, focus on specific results. To illustrate, if you led a team that crushed the sales goals, by how much did you increase your sales in percentage, dollar amount etc? Employers want concrete facts, not ambiguity. Even more important than your work skills is proofreading. If your resume is riddled with grammar error it signifies to the company you didn't care enough to edit it. Remember, whether it's your social media profiles or your resume you only have one opportunity to make a great first impression so make it count.
6. Application Process
There are many ways to apply for a job whether it's a job searching website like indeed.com, finding opportunities after doing an internship, working with your college or by visiting job fairs. If you do the job fair route, research the companies that will be present, identify 5-10 you want to speak with and perfect your elevator pitch. This pitch is your 30-second introduction touching on who you are, your skills and your occupational vision.
Most companies request a cover letter which is your brief introduction to them. Craft an effective cover letter by following the instructions the employer asked for in the ad, cite specific examples of your occupational success from previous roles and why you want to work for that company.
The next step is to prepare for the interview before it happens. Some companies might call and ask to conduct a phone or in-person interview the same day so it's important to be ready. To prepare, Glassdoor has 50 of the most common interview questions to review.
It's important you don't think of this as just them interviewing you; this is your opportunity to learn about their expectations, their work culture and more. By researching them and asking questions it expresses interest on your part.
After you return from an interview keep a journal of what went well during it and what you need to do to improve in the future. Chances are you'll go on multiple interviews before receiving a job offer.
7. Consider the Offer
When you do receive the job offer don't accept it immediately. Instead, review all the terms of the offer then see if they match closely with your vision of what you want from a job. If they do, then you can feel confident accepting the terms. If they don't, and you don't want to compromise on some items, thank them for the offer and decline respectfully.