“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
– Steve Jobs
Based on data by collected by Gallup from surveys completed by working individuals spread across more than 140 countries, only 13% of respondents shared that they actually enjoy their job.
A whopping 63% of those surveyed admitted that they are unmotivated at their job while the remaining 24 felt that they are truly unhappy and believe that they are unproductive at their current position.
These are certainly discouraging numbers, to say the least…
Over the years, I have worked in eight jobs in seven different industries ranging from non-profit, public relations to fashion publication.
Having seen this data, I consider myself fortunate that I could genuinely admit to having enjoyed most of them.
In hindsight, however, I’ve come to see all of my previous jobs as wonderful opportunities and I am very much grateful for the wealth of skills, network, and valuable experiences that came with each.
Having been through the job search process multitude of times, one of the most valuable skills that I’ve gained from the experience is how to effectively land a job that I actually want instead of ‘settling’ for something that merely pays the bills.
Interestingly enough, by implementing these strategies, on a previous job hunt, I was able to land not one, not two, but three great job offers within a short month.
Whether you are currently in between jobs and actively searching for a new opportunity or merely keeping your eye open for job search tips you can use in the future, I hope you’ll find these job hunting steps useful.
May they help you to land a job that you will not only enjoy but also thrive in!
1. Get REALLY clear about the job you want
I know, this step sounds pretty darn logical yet you’d be surprised as to how many people don’t actually know the type of job they want let alone what it entails.
Before you start your job search, it’s crucial to take the time to clarify your vision of the ideal opportunity you are looking for. This includes:
- The industry
- The company
- The mission & vision
- The role/position
- The tasks and responsibilities
- The type of working environment
- The colleagues & bosses, etc.
Do your research and get a vivid picture of the kind of job you truly desire. Ask yourself what type of job resonates best with your passion(s) and would offer you true fulfillment.
By doing this, you should be able to narrow down a list of 10 – 30 great companies that you can see yourself happily working at.
Once you have a clear vision of your ideal company/job/ position, it’ll likely be easier for you to focus and invest your time and effort in applying only to those that fulfill your set requirements.
2. Take Advantage of LinkedIn
If you don’t already have an active LinkedIn profile, I urge you to sign up and create one now. I found LinkedIn to be such a valuable tool not only for job hunting but also to network as well as to keep in touch with other professionals.
More than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn (including yours truly) so be sure that your profile is in tip-top shape.
This way, when recruiters decide to check it out, they’re able to see just how suitable of a candidate you are for their clients/vacancies.
There’s a myriad of resources on the web to help you to create a great LinkedIn profile such as this one shared on Forbes magazine’s website.
Most of the world’s reputable companies and businesses starting from tiny start-ups to huge multinational cooperations are also actively searching for possible candidates directly through LinkedIn.
Many of them even regularly post job vacancies so it is definitely worth it to also follow the companies you are interested in for their updates.
3. Personalize Your Résumé
I can’t stress this enough – Sending a generic résumé (or CV) to every company and/or opportunity that you’re interested in no longer works.
Companies want to know why you are interested in working for them as well as how you can specifically add value. Hence, tailoring your résumé is a vital step that you must take in landing interviews, and ultimately, the ideal job you’re applying for.
Though altering your résumé to better suit each job and/or company you are applying for sounds like a whole lot of work, it can really pay off in the long run so it’s definitely worth investing your time and energy on.
Check out these great steps for tailoring your résumé to show that you’re an ideal candidate for the job.
4. Contact Hiring Manager(s) directly
This may be one of the most important tips I can offer: If you found that the companies you’re interested in are not hiring, don’t let it discourage you.
Many companies prefer not to advertise or publicly share their vacant positions – this is especially true when the position(s) you are interested in happens to be higher up the chain (i.e: middle management and up).
Do a bit of research and find the names as well as contact details of the decision-makers at that particular company.
This can include anyone from the CEO to the head of the department you are interested in applying to.
Basically, look for people who can make a direct call when it comes to hiring new employees.
When you make a point to contact hiring managers, even if there are no vacancies that suit your profile, if they’re impressed with you and felt that they simply must have you on their team, they’ll be able to (and likely to) create an opening for you.
Some people are hesitant in contacting hiring managers as they fear that these people would be “too busy” to entertain their interests. From my own experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, I found that the higher one’s rank is, the more they are likely to respond.
They may contact you back directly or they may forward your e-mail to the relevant people to further review your profile.
They’ll likely contact you back (because the order is coming from their boss!) should you be a suitable candidate for the company. In essence, it’s a win-win situation!
Remember that unless you are applying to an industry that is heavily reliant on robots, a company’s greatest asset is its people.
Having previously been a headhunter, I know first-hand that companies are more than willing to fork out a handsome sum for the service of executive search firms all in hopes of landing themselves quality candidates.
So, when you contact a hiring manager, keep in mind that you (an awesome candidate) may just be saving them a whole lot of time, money, and effort by cutting out the middleman and contacting them directly!
Don’t hesitate to contact as many hiring managers on your list of companies as you can. As long as you keep your contact professional and courteous, the worst thing that can happen is that you won’t get a response.
Should this be the case, don’t take it personally. Move on and contact the hiring managers of the next company on your list.
If you’re not entirely sure how you can create a winning e-mail for hiring managers, be sure to check out this insightful article.
5. Be Patient, Consistent, and Persistent
There are a whole lot of variables that can affect how long your job hunt will last. Hence, some will take longer than others.
In any case, it’s always helpful to stay patient and optimistic. This means that no matter how you feel, you would need to make a consistent effort to show up for your job hunt day in and day out.
When a job search is taking a considerably longer time than we had anticipated, it’s likely that fear and insecurity will start to rear their ugly heads. When this happens, remind yourself that you are good enough.
Choose to believe that everything is unraveling as it should and all will work out in the end.
Most importantly, don’t let yourself down by desperately taking any job that comes your way. If you do this, all the time & effort you’ve already put into the job hunt may just as well be wasted.
When you accept a job that you don’t necessarily resonate with, chances are, you will find yourself miserable within a couple of months. Soon after, you’ll likely be back right to square one (aka back to looking for yet another job).
If you are not yet convinced that settling for a job that’s below your expectations will cause you nothing but grief, have a read through this great LinkedIn article by Liz Ryan from the Human Workplace, a Human Resource coaching and consulting company.
6. Be Ready to Ace Your Interview
If you successfully stayed the course, you’ll inevitably land one or more interview(s).
Now that you’ve got your foot in the door, you’re a step closer to your ideal job and it’s time to shine.
Prior to the interview, be sure to do comprehensive research about the company you will be interviewing with.
In addition to the products and/or services they offer, do educate yourself on the company’s mission & vision. It’s important that these align with your own personal values.
Be sure to read up on other pertinent information about the company that’ll allow the interviewer to know that you truly want to become a committed part of their team.
More importantly, you should already know exactly how you would bring value to the company.
Look for a challenge/obstacle/issue that they are facing and be ready to share solutions that only YOU can put forth should you be hired.
If you happen to know exactly who will be interviewing you, it would also be helpful to find out a little bit about the interviewer.
Check out their profile on LinkedIn and find something that intrigues you about their experience that you may just find will tip the scale in your favor during the interview.
It’s very important it is to be prompt or to show up on time (if not early) as well as to dress presentably for your interview.
The first couple of seconds of meeting our interviewer goes a long way in making the right first impression. Be sure to confidently make eye contact and smile but of course, don’t go overboard with both.
For more tips on basic yet crucial interview etiquette that may improve your chances of landing the job, click here.
At the risk of sounding cliché, during an interview, stay true to yourself and be truthful about your expectations which include what you can and are willing to bring to the table.
Keep in mind that should you be chosen for the job, if you would like to be employed with that particular company and stay happy at work for the long haul, it’s important to be forthcoming instead of providing the interviewer with only answers you believe they would like to hear.
Being honest may, at times, lead you to not getting the offer. However, it would likely be that particular job that was a poor fit for you in the first place.
On the bright side, many companies deeply value honesty, and should the combination of your experience, skills, knowledge, and character truly resonate with the interviewer & the company, you’re well on your way to landing yourself an ideal job.
There you have it! I hope that the 6 steps above will prove to be as useful to you as they were to me.
Keep in mind that should your job hunt end up taking longer than you had anticipated, don’t despair because it usually does.
Most importantly, keep your eye on the ball and keep going. Stay driven and motivated, you’ll inevitably land a great professional opportunity that you’ll be more than excited to wake up for every day. Best of luck! 🙂
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