Target Your Perfect Job

Anita,

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.

Bow-n-Arrow_iStock_000021553751Dear “MockingJaymie,”

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:

  1. Send a letter of introduction by mail, not email.
  2. In one week, send a cover letter and résumé. Again, by mail.
  3. 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!

RELATED POSTS:
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How to Find Jobs Not Advertised on the top Job Boards, Part 2
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I Resolve… to Get a New Job

Dear, Anita,

After being in a job that I’m not happy with, after much soul searching, I decided to quit and get a job I love!  It’s been a few months and I didn’t get many interviews during the holidays. Do you have any advice now that everyone is back to business? I’d love to start the new year out in a new job.

Dear, Shooting for the Stars,

I certainly don’t recommend quitting one job before getting another, but what’s done is done. Let’s start with a fresh approach.

Your CareerExplore Your Options.  What about your last job(s) made you unhappy? What tasks did you enjoy the most? To figure out what your dream job looks like, take advantage of some useful self-evaluation tools on  O*net OnLine, an occupation resource website sponsored by the US Department of Labor/ Employment and Training Administration.  Under Advanced Search, you can explore occupations based on your interests, skills, work values, and more. “Know thyself,” as the ancient Greek philosophers recommended. You don’t want to end up in another job where you’ll be unhappy again.

Résumé Review. Take a good look at your résumé. If it hasn’t been working so far, it may need a tune-up – minor or major. Review my post Reasons for No Résumé Response, have a colleague give you feedback, or bite the bullet and hire a professional résumé writing service like CareerPerfect to communicate your skills and experience in the best possible light.

Networking – Social and Traditional. If you’re an introvert, push yourself to do one networking task a week. Go to the chamber of commerce mixer or call an old colleague to ask if they know of any job openings. Haven’t completed your LinkedIn Profile? Checked the privacy settings on your Facebook page? Now is the time to make sure your social media presence is employer-friendly, with no embarrassing photos and off-color language. Google yourself; you may be surprised at the odd things that pop up. (Make sure your Amazon Wish List doesn’t contain anything weird!)

Learn a new job skill. If your newly discovered career goal requires upgraded skills, sign up for a class. If the training you need isn’t available at your local community college or job center, there are a myriad of options on the Internet.  While watching random software tip videos on YouTube can increase your knowledge, choosing a course that provides a certificate of completion you can tout on your résumé is preferable.

Create an action plan. You may have a long-term goal of becoming CEO of a company, but it probably won’t happen next week.  While long-range plans are important, it is equally important to break objectives into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. This segment from Kababayan Today gives some goal-setting tips for getting a job:

Readers: What is your work-related New Year’s Resolution? Do you plan to jump ship in 2014 and seek a new position? Take our poll above. 

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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