Create a Roadmap to Your Dream Job (Part 1 of 2)
Preparing for the Interview
We've all been there. It's time to start looking for a job and you don't know where to start. There are mountains of resources online and
ways to get your resume out there and maybe you've tried them all. Your resume has been submitted to hundreds of job posts but you have yet to receive a call back for an interview. What went wrong? Are
you unmarketable? Are you aiming too high?
The answer may be that you aren't aiming at all. Many recruiters and HR professionals insist that a more focused approach is the key to help you get your foot in the door. But how do you focus
your job search? Read on for tips and suggestions on creating your own roadmap to help you focus your time and energy on the tasks that will get you closer to the job you really want.
Brainstorm Your Ideal Work Environment
Sharon Reed Abboud cites a lack of planning as well as lack of career/job focus as two of the biggest mistakes job hunters make in her article 8 Job-Hunting Mistakes You Don't Want to Make:
Advice from the Pros. According to Abboud, "far too many people make the mistake of having vague goals such as 'looking for a management job' or 'a job with a dynamic fast-growing business.'
Job-hunters also sometimes say they don't want to limit their options and are open to any type of job opportunity." According to Orville Pierson, a senior vice president at Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH),
a NJ-based global outplacement firm, "these unfocused job seekers fail to appear interested in anything but getting on someone's payroll. Their search is too diffuse," Pierson said. "They do not
communicate enough specific value."
Set aside a couple of hours before you start your search and ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of work do I want to do daily? Am I better at leading teams and organizing meetings or do I add more value as an individual contributor? Do I enjoy diving into the details or am
I more inclined to see the big picture?
- What type of environment do I want to work in? Do I need quiet and seclusion to be successful or do I thrive in an open-office environment with distraction and noise? Is a large
established organization more appealing than a smaller start-up?
- What type of manager helps me be the most successful? Do I need someone to give me direct assignments to keep me focused or do I present better work when given the freedom to achieve
company goals with little interference from management?
- What type of commute can I live with? Am I willing to relocate? Do I want to travel? If so, how much?
- What is a realistic salary range for my current lifestyle? While money is not my primary motivator, I do have bills to pay. What are my monthly bills and yearly financial goals?
- Consider taking an online personality assessment. The Meyers-Brigg or DISC assessments can also help you understand what type of work will make you shine.
There are a myriad of questions that can be asked, but the point is that you take the time to figure out what you want before you start looking.
Do Your Homework
Now that you have determined what you want to be doing and how you want to be doing it, you can begin the work of creating a list of prospective companies that may offer what you're looking
- Make a list of companies you want to work for: Write down your dream company and their competitors. If you want to work for Google, make them first on your list. Then begin adding to your
list by considering Google's competitors and other similar companies. In addition, there are many online lists of top companies to work for in the country from websites such as Fortune.com,
Forbes.com, and Inc.com. In addition, consider speaking with ex-colleagues and friends who work in the industry and find out if they have any suggestions.
- Research the companies on your list to begin refining your final application list. Review each company's website to determine their focus as an organization. Reading the About Us page and
researching the leadership team can tell you a lot about their values. Are you aligned with them? In addition, find out what employees say about the company. Glassdoor.com, LinkedIn.com, and
Indeed.com all provide feedback from current and former employees regarding the culture and benefits of the company. There will be positives and negatives. Your job is to determine if the
negative comments by others pose a problem for you. Maybe the negative posts are from job-hunters who didn't take the time to figure out what they wanted before they interviewed and accepted a
job at this organization.
These two steps alone will help you focus your intentions and make the most of your time as you search for your next career move. However, there is one more important aspect of the job hunt to
consider. In our next article, we will share different avenues for getting your resume in the right hands so you are noticed.