You’ve spent time identifying your interest, your skills, and your ideal environment. You understand your strengths, what you have to offer and a profile of what the organization you want to get into looks like. It’s now time to develop your plan.
Develop your targeted companies list
You should have your industries picked out by now. You’ll use that list plus items you discovered in your ideal environment study to target companies that fit your profile. Sites like zoominfo.com, ReferenceUSA, Glassdoor, and Linkedin can help you build a list based on your industry preference, company size, and geographical preferences. Your targeted list now becomes one of three avenues that you will pursue in landing your job.
Your targeted company list.
Job openings you find.
Proactively reach out to your targeted list to get to know them and show them the value you can add. Connecting with their employees, doing informal interviews, going to their events and job fairs are a few of the ways to connect with them.
Track your progress
You want to track your application statuses and set deadlines and expectations for yourself to ensure that you stay motivated and informed.
Job Tracker: I suggest creating it online so that you can reference it across multiple devices. Google Docs is one of the easiest to use. (It’s similar to Microsoft Word) Break this document into three sections.
Jobs applied to: List out the role title, the company, pay range if known, and date applied. Also, add in other contacts you made and when.
Said no: Move any applications to the no pile once you hear back. Leaving it in the applied section just clutters up what you have out there that is still an option. Delete out your No section from time to time so that it doesn’t build up to a discouragement.
Never heard back: (60 days): If you haven’t heard anything back in 60 days, you likely aren’t going to hear anything. Moving them out of the applied section again gives clarity to real options. Clear this one out periodically as well.
Activity Goals: Set weekly goals for yourself to hit towards your ultimate goal of finding your job. It’s easy to get sidelined because you are overwhelmed, don’t know what to do or just get plain lazy. Keep yourself accountable so that you don’t fall into those traps.
Resilience and proper expectations
Finding your job can take some resilience. Know going into this that you are going to have setbacks and be prepared for them. Make peace with the inevitable and do your best to not take it personally. Just because you don’t get an interview or someone says no, doesn’t mean you have less value. It just simply means that the opportunity wasn’t your job. Look to see what you can learn from those tough moments to help you in the future.
Keep yourself focused and in the right mindset while on the hunt for your job.
You know who you are. You know the skills that set you apart. You know what that ideal job and company look like. Use all that knowledge to build yourself a solid plan to land your job. It’s out there, you just need to go and find it.
It’s important to match your skills, strengths, interest, and personality to a company’s culture, values and environment. No doubt, that the company is going to feel you out for culture fit during the interview process. How do you learn about the environment and culture of a company that you’ve never worked at before? Getting this one wrong could lead you to regret the decision to join the group in the first place. Let’s get it right.
Understand the company’s purpose and philosophy
You should research any company that you are interested in to understand its purpose and philosophy. It’s the whys and hows of its existence. Here are a few of the ways that you can check in on this.
Check out the company’s website. What are they promoting and proud of? What is their history? Do they have info on the specific location that you are looking for? You can find much of this info on the about page of their website.
Look into the CEO. Have they been there awhile? You can look at sites like Glassdoor to see their approval rating among the employees. You can also discover if the employees would recommend the company to others. I like to check to see the trend in the comments. Have they jumped up or taken a nosedive in the year? Why?
Check the organization’s social media feeds to see what they are highlighting. It’s a signal of what is important to them.
If you have an in-person interview, get there early and observe how people interact with others. Are they modeling the type of environment that you like?
Interview everyone that interviews you about their thoughts on the company. (They usually love this!) Ask them to describe the company. What is their favorite thing about working there? What is one thing that they would change? What does success look like there?
Some items that describe fit are universal
Some things are just universal and are nearly always looking for in a new job. Here are some of the most common to look into and discover how important they are to the organization you are looking at.
Employee engagement or their level of care
Their culture: formal or informal
Communication to its employees
Ownership of role and responsibility
Delegation or micromanagement
Identify your ideal leader
Hopefully, you have had at least one great boss. It’s ok if you’ve had a bunch of bad ones too. Use the bad ones to figure out what you don’t want in a leader! Write out all those qualities and honestly ask the hiring leader how they see themselves as a leader and what their leadership style is. If it’s a match, that’s just further confirmation that you are in the right place. If it’s not a match, it’s an indicator that you likely will be frustrated in the role.
Now, you know everything you need to about yourself, you have your industries narrowed down and your companies picked out. Next time we will formulate the plan to get your job.
For your next job, you’ll need to have a good grasp of your skills and strengths so that you can show that value to the hiring leaders for the company that you want to be with.
Uncover your skills and strengths
First, you need to note what your skills are. Think about your current and former jobs, schooling, hobbies, and other activities that could draw out what those skills are. Some categories to consider are:
People skills: coaching others, leading, listening, performance management, hosting, selling, and teaching
Data skills: research, compiling info, finance, programming, excel, reports and problem-solving
Some areas to think about to uncover your strengths.
What are you known for?
What are you the go-to person for?
What do you love doing?
What are you successful at?
There are several places that can help you identify your skills and strengths.
I recommend the book Strengthfinder 2.0. It’s not a traditional book in that you read it from cover to cover. You take an online assessment and then use the book to dive into your strengths and then increase your understanding of who you work well with and you wouldn’t work well with.
Assessment.com is a free site where you can find your strengths and skill set. Be prepared. It takes nearly 25 minutes to complete. There are paid options for this site as well.
Mindtools.com is another comprehensive site out there that identifies and maps your skills.
List out your accomplishments & build your story
Now that you’ve got your skills and strengths figured out, take some time to list out your accomplishments. These could be projects, tasks, that you are especially proud of. What are you most proud of in your job? Try to get to a list of 10 or more. They don’t all have to be monumental things. They may be simpler things you did that put a smile on your face, made you celebrate, or helped someone out.
Got your list?
Perfect! The next step is to start to create stories around those accomplishments. We’ve talked about the importance of storytelling in the past. (Be the Storyteller: PTB show #124) Reference that resource to understand the story type that you want to convey with each accomplishment.
There are many acronyms that professionals use to convey a good story structure. Regardless, each story should start with your situation, what action you or your team took and what the end results were. We’ve covered this topic in the past as well. (Ace the Interview: PTB show #113)
Put those two together and you’ve got strong accomplishments that are presented clearly and in an engaging format for hiring leaders to hear.
You should have a list of 12 or so industry careers interests from our time last week. Combine that with your knowledge about your strengths and skills and you should really be getting close to finding what your job looks like. Next week we will look at your ideal environment. What does your dream company look like?
As you get older, the stress of finding a new job increases. As a high schooler or college student, there is little risk or consequences, and you typically have many options to choose from. Life gets more complex. You start a family, you buy a house, you are (hopefully) preparing for retirement. It can be easy to fall into temptation and just jump into any job that you can land that pays what you were making before or a little more.
We want to help you find not just any job, but your job. It’s out there, we just need to figure out what your interests are, what your strengths are, what the environment looks like and develop a plan. We’ll focus on your interests today.
Know your personality
It’s important that you start with your personality and interests as you look for your job. After all, your job should be about your interests, skills, and desires and not something you have to mold yourself into liking.
If you do research on personality types, you’ll find anywhere from 4 to 16 personality types listed. They typically fall under these general categories:
Introverted/Extroverted: This should be the easiest for you to identify.
Planner/Flexible: Do you love building and following a plan, or do you enjoy meeting the surprises of life? Public service professions strive in flexibility, think of nurses, firefighters, police etc. While they do train and plan, they never know what their day is going to look like. Great planners sit in areas like finance, operations, and management.
Big picture/Small details: Are you more of a visionary leader or love being in the details of the work and creation? Loving details is great for those in auditing and technology programming. Big picture and creativity work well in the arts, marketing, and business strategy.
Solo/Team: Do you like depending on yourself or love the team environment? This will help you narrow down what type of job in the industries that you pick out.
Logics/Emotions: Do you lean towards logic? These people love numbers, analytics, data and facts in making decisions. Emotional people follow their heart. They typically have a strong sense of their morals and use that to guide them.
Consistency/Variety: Do you like to work on the same things consistency and grow a deep level of knowledge and expertise or do you enjoy mixing it up on different tasks and projects?
Driver/Contributor. Some would say this category is leader/follower. We know that you can lead yourself well without having the desire to lead others. This category is still relevant though, and one I surprising struggled with a bit as I was going through the same process. Is leading others important to you? How much? Does it have to be direct leadership or can you have an impact through indirect influence? I found that I love leading people directly, but I didn’t require a number of direct reports as long as I am influencing the whole organization.
Two of the largest and most known personality profiles are Myer Briggs and DiSC. A number of companies and organizations use these two companies to better understand their people. You can find those and various free outlets online. I would suggest utilizing one. You will likely found yourself as a bit of both options in the categories above and a test can help clarify that for you.
Uncover your interests
Now that you’ve got your personality nailed down, you need to identify your interests. This means figuring out what industries you want to work in. O*NET is a site by the US Department of Labor that can help you narrow down the industries to find the best fit for you.
Step one: Find your industry
Eliminate the industries that you are totally out for you.
Pick ones that really interest you.
Identify ones that have some interest.
Step two: Find your job areas
Click on each industry that you picked and choose your top 25 areas. This will take some time to complete.
Once you drill into the industry, you can see jobs, projected growth and what the estimated job count increase will be in the coming years.
Narrow your list of 25 down to 12.
Uncovering your interests and identifying your personality are two very practical points towards finding your job. You now know what type of job role that you want based on your personality and where you want to work based on your interests. We’ll cover skills, the company profile, and your plan in the coming weeks.