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5 Tips That Will Make You Rethink Your Job Search

5 Tips That Will Make You Rethink Your Job Search

The job search isn’t a loved process. We know we need to go through it to achieve our dreams, yet it’s dreaded by most job seekers. It’s long, boring, frustrating, and stressful. But, what if I told you it didn’t need to be? What if I told you that it can actually be a lot of fun?

There are now mobile apps that make looking for a job easier and more interesting. Plus, due to the rise in social networking, there are countless opportunities to meet new people who can become valuable additions to your professional network.

Here are five job search tips that can help you learn to love the whole process.

1. Have fun with the new technology.

As with everything it touches, technology has radically changed the job search. Long gone are the days of looking through the newspaper classified ads for a job. Even relying on newer resources, such as online job boards like Indeed, is becoming outdated.

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Now, a new era of mobile apps has arrived. For instance, my company’s PathSource app can help you do everything from swiping to find a job opening to learning about a career path to drafting a resume — all from your smartphone.

Just like you’d download and try out the latest version of a game, check out what job search apps are out there and play around with them. And don’t be surprised when you find them as addicting as your other apps.

2. Reconnect with old friends.

One of the best job search tips is to never do it alone. The moment you start looking for your next employment opportunity, spread the word to those in your personal and professional networks. You can’t be looking everywhere all the time, so the more eyes you have peeled for the right job, the better.

Take the time to reconnect with the people you plan on listing as references. Meet for coffee (that you pay for) and fill them in on what you’ve been doing since you last spoke. That way, they’ll know the latest details about your career and be reminded, in person, of all your best qualities.

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3. Meet new people.

There’s no such thing as a network that is too big. The job search is the perfect time to grow and expand your list of professional contacts. You just need to go about it the right way.

Instead of spamming hundreds of people with copies of your resume, spend more time building connections that might actually lead somewhere. Focus on the industries and companies you’re interested in and then start reaching out to people. Even second- or third-degree LinkedIn connections can help you get your foot in the door.

Remember, however, that there’s an actual human getting every email or InMail you send. Don’t repeatedly send a form message that fails to engage with the receiver. Think about what would convince you to help someone you don’t know find a job and incorporate that type of message into whatever you write.

4. Narrow your search.

Massive, traditional job boards like Indeed are where professional hopes and dreams go to die. They bury you in posts that either don’t interest you, are months old, or don’t match your qualifications. Instead of wasting your time combing these sites, focus your attention on smaller, more niche job sites.

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There are job boards for every industry and interest. For instance, if you want to work for an up-and-coming startup, AngelList is the place for you. Or if you want to try freelancing, go to Upwork. These types of sites will provide job openings that are more specific to what you’re actually looking for.

5. Focus on quality, not quantity.

You’re looking for the right job, not just any job. That means you need to do more in-depth research on companies or positions you’re interested in. You might end up spending more time looking into each opportunity and applying to fewer jobs, but you’ll be more confident that the ones you do go after are right for you.

Being more knowledgeable about a company also improves your chances of nailing every step of the hiring process. You’ll be able to write a better cover letter and have more relevant answers during the interview. So, instead of sending out 100 generic resumes every week, put your energy into several that are higher quality and directed to the companies that really excite your interest.

If you want to be a successful job seeker, you need to become friends with the job search. And that means getting to know and understanding what makes the process exciting. If you can focus on those aspects of the job search, the frustrating parts won’t seem so bad.

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What are some other job search tips that can make the hunt more enjoyable for job seekers? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: StartupStockPhotos; Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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