When we realize that a job isn’t the right fit, or there is an unexpected job loss, it is vey common to charge forward without laying the right groundwork for a successful search. Most of us start running forward with nothing to tether us to what is important. Laying the groundwork for a successful search can help to ensure that we find the right job, not just any job. Ask yourself these four questions to help lay the groundwork for a successful search.
1. What are my strengths? You’ve heard me talk a lot about strengths. Knowing what you are good at is so important in your job search and beyond. Those who know their strengths can more easily identify opportunities that play to those strengths and talk about themselves confidently in interviews. I recommend taking a look at the two articles I have written on this topic as well as the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 as resources to find your strengths.
2. What work environment best suits me? Open floor plans, catered meals, foosball tables – these office perks sure do sound great, but are they right for you? Will a mid-day video game competition rev you up for a productive afternoon or end up occupying the rest of your day? Does the hum of an active office invigorate or distract you? Catered lunches and stocked kitchens can sometimes be an indicator of long days (and nights) at the office. Consider what environment best suits you and your preferred work style before you go for your next role.
3. What companies should I target? Are there companies in your area with great reputations or products and services you’d be excited to stand behind? Create a list of companies for whom you’d like to work and set out to get noticed. This is part of a proactive job search. Instead of waiting for an opportunity, set up meetings with people at your target companies. That way, when a position does come up, you’re one of the first people they think of.
4. Who can help? Make a list of people who would happily help you with your job search. Start with those who you can easily reach and tell them what you’re looking for in your next role. You’ll want to ask, not only about job opportunities, but also for introductions to others in the industry or at your target companies. This is an easy first step in using and expanding your network.
No one wants an extra long job search and laying the groundwork before sending out your resume can help you ensure that you’re going after the right opportunities. Ask yourself these four questions before you embark on your search to ensure you won't be looking again sooner than later.