After you create job targets, any number of scenarios can evolve. Here are some and how you might respond to them.
- You discover early on that there are very few job opportunities in one of the targets you’ve established.
Suggestion: Be ready to either ditch or at least modify the target. For example, you may want to keep the range of industries you’ve been considering, but be willing to expand the geography component of the search.
- Available job opportunities match one or more of your targets, but the competition for these jobs is intense, and you’re not sure how you measure up against the competition.
Suggestion: Don’t be quick to give up just yet! Try to get a clear sense of what the employers in these target areas are looking for and what the other candidates might bring to the table in the way of experience, credentials, and connections. If you are convinced at this point you are not in a strong position to compete – and, again, don’t throw in the towel too soon – think about the steps you need to take (an online course, for example) to make yourself a more appealing candidate down the line.
- There are openings that match your targets, and you are a legitimate candidate for those openings; but the salary range falls below your needs.
Suggestion: If you see in these openings an opportunity to do something that will bring you great satisfaction and that within a reasonable period could pay you an acceptable wage, consider taking the job and explore ways to supplement your income – a weekend or evening job, for example. This is an option that does work for many, though not all, of course.
Get yourself “market ready”.
The assumption at this point is that you have defined a set of targets that meet your criteria. Each target represents a job that you can envision yourself performing, offers a reasonable number of opportunities, and meets your basic requirements. The next step is to determine just how “marketable” you are.
Your marketability is a function of two things. The first is what the “buyers” in the marketplace – in this case, prospective employers – are looking for. The second is what you can bring to the table.
Marketability is a highly relative and subjective notion. What makes you highly marketable in one situation or company might not make you highly marketable in another situation – even if the two jobs appear similar. That’s because the “buyer” in each situation has his or her own idea of what’s important. The fact that you lack an MBA may not matter to one prospective employer, but could be a top priority for another.
Control the controllables.
You can’t control how people will respond to you, nor the competition you face for a job. You can control how you respond to people and the way you convey your value proposition as a candidate. You can’t control whether networking contacts will share leads or ideas with you. You can control how frequently you network, to some degree who you network with, and how easy you make it for people to help you.
Controlling the controllables is key to job search. A few basics in your sphere of control include:
- Number of hours per day/week you spend on your search. If you’re unemployed, put in a full work week of 30 to 40 hours; if employed, put in 10 to 15 hours a week. · Number of networking calls http://hireimaging.com/articles/career-tips/networking-picking-up-that-800-pound-phone you make each week.
- Developing a “Plan B” should “Plan A” not pan out.
- Types of activities you focus on in your search.
- Participating in professional associations that will increase your visibility and reputation among hiring managers.
- Having a robust online presence, i.e., LinkedIn profile, your own web page or blog posts, multiple social media platforms, etc.
- Taking a course to keep your skills and knowledge current and ahead of the curve.
- Studying press releases and information about your target companies.
- Showing up prepared and excited for every networking meeting or interview.
- Increasing visibility through public speaking, or through committee involvement.
- Being good to your body with rest, exercise, and healthy diet.
- Focusing your self-talk – what you believe and tell yourself quietly in your head – on possibilities rather than problems!
Employers like to hire people with vitality and excitement – people who act with intention, confidence, and perseverance – people who have an optimistic outlook when the inevitable snafus happen. They bounce back. They inspire others. They get hired and promoted faster. You can be that person!
I always welcome your thoughts! Please comment below.