The number one mistake I see people make when initiating a job search is lack of focus. The late George Harrison said it best, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Besides being a catchy tune, it’s a significant point in the world of careers.
So where are you going? If the answer to the question is, “anywhere,” you’re probably already there.
If the answer to the question is, “I don’t know,” let me suggest a few key tips to help navigate your search in the right direction.
In order to find the most fulfilling work, it’s imperative to concentrate on finding the RIGHT career — not just “any career.” Begin by thinking about what makes you, you!
Essential factors to consider include:
Throughout my 15+ years working in HR and as a career coach, here’s what I’ve come to realize: too many people, all too often find themselves feeling stifled in a career that just doesn’t fit. Whether it’s from forcing themselves into an uncomfortable pair of shoes and a stiff pantsuit because it portrays a particular image…
Or dragging themselves into a regimented, dull office that stifles creativity…
Or feeling paralyzed from staring at a computer screen until 6 pm every night because it’s taboo to leave before their boss…
Or from the guilt that weighs on their heart from leaving their puppy home alone for 10+ hours each day…
Or from the constant judgment of their work results displayed on a red—yellow—green colored scorecard at each team meeting…
Or…..you get the point…
I get it. I’ve seen it, felt it — and heard it all.
To me, working in a career that doesn’t fit is like a princess working on Wall Street. Can you picture Cinderella working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange — her blue and white gown, perfectly applied makeup, puffy blond hairstyle and overall presence among all the dark blue pantsuits?! Yeah, me neither.
I’m not saying careers are all about magically going from scrubbing factory floors to dancing in fancy corporate boardrooms…although I do believe there are practical ways to move toward a career path that fits perfectly, like Cinderella’s glass slipper.
It breaks my heart when clients share stories of applying to hundreds of jobs without ever receiving a response. The online job market is saturated. Stop wasting your time and energy applying to hundreds of jobs as your applications fall into a deep black void.
Use your valuable time to explore companies that could be a great fit.
Use this crucial data to investigate prospective paths and ultimately narrow your search to the TOP 3-5 companies that match you and your career aspirations.
It’s easy to get thrown off course by blockades and dead ends. A daily practice can make the path much more drivable. Craft a methodology and process that works for you.
Make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to know you’re the perfect person for the job.
If your resume indicates you’re a UX designer and a project manager and a marketing leader, these are all fabulous skills and transferable in certain instances….although a recruiter will be perplexed.
*Special note to all you multipotentialities out there — I hear you — you have several prospective career paths, but trust me on this one: when applying to jobs, pick one to focus on!
You don’t have to go it alone. You likely pay a contractor to paint your house, or hire a tour guide when exploring a foreign region, why wouldn’t you invest in professional help with your job search? Career coaches provide objective guidance, help to articulate your value, and provide a proven structure to keep you on course.
Most people spend more time planning a vacation than planning a job search. And you need a map to get you there, once you know where “there” is. So, focus on finding the right destination, explore and plan accordingly, ask for help and you’re more likely to land comfortably in your next best job — and avoid those costly and disappointing U-turns.