I wasn’t happy at my former position, so I searched the online job boards and found a similar job at another company. I started this new position six weeks ago, and already it’s worse than the one I left! What do I do now? I can’t seem to land a job I really like.
You may be at the wrong company, in the wrong position, or you could even be in the wrong profession altogether.
Everyone has a hunger for fulfilling work. Ask yourself some soul-searching questions: What’s your passion? What’s your purpose? What’s your raison d’être, as the French inquire? Companies have mission statements; what is your life mission statement? What’s your “calling?”
If you’re more numbers or science-oriented rather than touchy-feely, this Forbes formula may help you rate dream job opportunities.
After some introspective contemplation (long walks in the woods optional, but highly recommended!), you now have the understanding to find a satisfying career path that aligns with your personal values and aspirations. Stop applying for random jobs that just so happen to be open during your job search! Make a plan to proactively seek out a position that better suits you, before it’s even advertised.
Start by compiling a list of 30-40 target companies you’d absolutely love to work for. Your willingness to relocate will determine how wide you cast your net geographically. With the advanced search tool in LinkedIn, search for Companies by entering industries in locations that line up with your passions, interests, and life goals. Click and read company profiles and Follow any that resonate with you. It’s a good professional practice to stay active on LinkedIn consistently, long before you’re in active job search mode. Comment on your favorite companies’ posts. Offer congratulations on achievements. Find connections. Nurture these online relationships before you need to ask them for a favor.
Don’t forget about offline networking as well. Join associations for the industries in which you are interested. Attend Chamber of Commerce mixers. Talk with friends about your “target companies” to see if they can introduce you to any insiders.
How do you approach these 2nd and 3rd connections and friends of friends? On his CareerPivot blog, Marc Miller suggests asking for AIR – Advice, Insights, and Recommendations. Most people will be flattered and inclined to be helpful.
In his book, 48 Days to the Work You Love, author Dan Miller recommends this 3-step process for making yourself know to those target contacts doing work you admire:
- Send a letter of introduction by mail, not email.
- In one week, send a cover letter and résumé. Again, by mail.
- Call to follow up (this is a step only 1-2% of job hunters do).
You’re sowing and nurturing seeds in fields where you will actually be happy in your work. Now, wait for the Reaping. Sure, this may take longer than the traditional “see job ad—apply—interview—get hired” cycle (which can sometimes take quite a while as it is). But isn’t it worth it to wait for a career that inspires?
May the odds be ever in your favor!
Readers: Have you identified your life’s purpose and found a job to support your calling? Inspire us with your story in the Comments below!