Chances are, most of us have been searching for jobs the wrong way and therefore not successfully finding or landing the right job for us. Does your career search/ job search have a purpose? We all need to pay the bills but it is so important to work towards a career / jobs that you love or at least really enjoy. By following a simple guided process, you will find that your success rate job searching and landing roles that you have an interest in increase significantly. Follow these easy steps for better job search results.
You may have a sense of what that is or maybe just what it isn’t (potentially any of the ones you’ve already had). It also may be different than one that just pays well, something your parents did, or the next most common step after your current one. There are discovery tools and career path tools to help you find the right fit. These range the spectrum with some leveraging pictures to form a connection and others that use their form (like a tree) to help inspire. Whichever way you use to find and focus in on a role (more likely a few potential roles), it’s also important to be aware of the paths both to and from that role. No one who is in the job market today will have one job for their career so just as important as it is on figuring out how to get that role is where it leads after that. You don’t want to find yourself spending 10 years working toward your ideal role and then not like the prospects that come after it.
Once you have narrowed your search to a few potential roles, this is a good time to start doing some focused networking, for a few reasons. Until you know what type of role you are looking for, you are likely to put time into networking toward a role you don’t want and may end up taking because it’s what’s offered to you (i.e. a role someone else wants you for but you have no passion for). That’s the downside of starting early. The plus of starting once you have focused in on a few roles is that you can start finding and connecting with people who have those roles or a role somewhere along that career path. This allows you to get some firsthand knowledge of what they’re like. This will help you decide to double down on pursuing that path or ditch it and start your process over. If you decide to double down, networking is your most likely avenue to land a role on the path toward your ideal role as 85% of jobs are found through networking. Networking isn’t just setting up a LinkedIn profile (you should do that too) as it’s more effective when you use a variety of tools, some of which mean taking a risk to get out of your comfort zone and talk to strangers (scary, I know). This step is so important to find the right fit.
Now you’re focused on a role (or still a few) and started your initial networking. Before fully committing yourself down one path it’s important to understand the common requirements around education, certifications, licensing and specific skills needed to get that role and those that follow on that career path. Through this research you may find you need to take steps before pursuing the role you want to get additional education, earn a specific certification and or take trainings to address a skills gap. This may be a deterrent and lead you to choose to pursue a different role but is also important to find out early. If you still want that role, it’s best to get started on meeting this requirement as early as possible to unlock your continued pursuit for your chosen role.
By the time you’ve reached this point you know a fair amount about your chosen role and career path, likely more about it than anyone except some who has had that role and maybe a few things even they don’t. This is the time to start targeting and focusing in on companies and industries served by this role looking for ones that connect with you personally. A role within different industries can focus on different aspects of that role and specific company cultures will impact the day to day of the role as well. Before starting to apply for specific jobs, make sure to spend the time to do the research to choose not just the role but what type of company you want to be a part of. Many people overlook this step but its so crucial to help you find the right fit.
With roles and companies identified, now you likely have some specific jobs in mind. Don’t fall into the trap of going to apply for a job and then realize, “Oh S- - -, I haven’t updated my resume”. This part of the process shouldn’t be rushed as in many cases is the document that determines whether you move to the next step of the process or not (sometimes it’s as impersonal as a software filter you need to get past). There are resume help tools that can assist you in crafting a professional description of your career, adjust it to match a specific job posting and optimize it to get past the algorithms (these are called Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS).
Finally you have arrived at the time to start applying for jobs. Most people start here and that is a contributing factor for how we can end up in roles that are unfulfilling, with a job that we got but didn’t choose, or are in a perpetual job search process because we aren’t getting responses to our applications no matter how many we send. The better job search strategy is to not start with job boards. If you start with focusing on roles that interest you, work to strengthen your network, ensure you fit with the skills requirements of that role, have companies you are excited to be a part of and have a strong resume, you will find this part of the process much more fulfilling and successful. With all that prep, you are now ready and informed to get the job you are applying for instead of hoping to get lucky.
If you are seeing success from your networking and job board applications then you likely now find yourself needing to prep for interviews (if you aren’t seeing success yet, we have some alternate tips for that later in this article). There are a number of tools to help with this ranging from sophisticated AI solutions to more standard question banks. Use these to your advantage but in general make sure you have a solid understanding of the content of your own resume (you’d be surprised not everyone does) and the key contributions from your career. Have these practiced and ready to walk through with an interviewer in a way that can be applied to a number of different career type questions. Also, make sure to do some research on the company you are applying to as they may have specific interviewing styles you can prepare for and to ensure you can speak somewhat intelligently about their business in how it applies to your role.
What’s left is closing. If everything has worked out you are now sitting with an offer (or offers) from a company you want to work for with a role you are interested in that is along a career path you want to be a part of. Don’t let all those positives get in the way of negotiating for the most competitive pay you can for that role. There are advisors out there that can help you with that negotiation and sites where depending on the company size, you can find what they have offered to others with the same title. Use these to your advantage and remember to not negotiate with yourself. If there is a number you want them to meet, then share that, don’t bring that number down on your own because you think it may be too high. If it is too high, you will have a chance to talk through it with them. Remember, they have invested a fair amount of time in you as well through the interview process (and likely a number of other candidates as well) so they are just as excited to get you in that role as you are.
If in following this path you find yourself stalled out in any particular step then consider reaching out to a career advisor to talk through your specific struggles and personal situation. There are also some new alternative type tools that you can leverage in each of the steps above that may work to get you past a roadblock as well. Beyond the tools and advice, it’s important to be informed of what’s required to get the role you want, work to build your skill set to match that and most important, keep faith in yourself (stay positive). You can take control of and choose your career path and job search with success.
Last bit of commentary….
You may have read this and think this process of improving your job search results only applies to complicated career type roles or something that needs an advanced education. That is not the case. While you may not need to use as many of the tools or invest as much time in each stage, if you follow a process similar to this for any role, you will find your success rate in landing roles you have an interest in will increase significantly. We hope this guide will help you to take control of and improve your job search.