Job searches are stressful, right? Actually, they don’t have to be. Conducting a job search can be an empowering experience if you do it the right way.
Whether you’re a seasoned executive looking for a change or a new grad looking to start your career, here are four things you need to do to conduct a feel-good job search.
1. Only apply for jobs you actually want.
Does that sound like crazy obvious advice? Obviously you’re only going to apply for jobs you want. But there are a lot of people who are out there, guns blazing, applying for everything under the sun. Don’t be one of them. More isn’t better. Get focused.
When you target only the jobs you’re actually psyched about, you devote your time and energy to something that energizes you, which means you’ll do a way better job preparing your applications. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Clarity first, strategy second.
Figure out what you actually want, and THEN build a strategy to go after it. You don’t want to hate your life six months or a year into your job, so make sure you really think about what you want. Otherwise you’ll be looking for another job again in no time.
It’s hard to press pause on strategy if you’re fast mover, but getting clear on what you actually want for your career will make your strategy that much more effective. It might even help you dodge a few bullets.
3. Don’t go it alone.
Don’t do your job search in isolation, especially if looking for work isn’t exactly something you wanted. Downsized? Laid off? Let go? Struggling to find work after graduation? Many people feel some shame about that. They’re afraid to ask for help or even tell other people they’re looking for work because…ugh, it’s so embarrassing.
Friends, family, colleagues, and even acquaintances can be your eyes and ears. They might pass along a great lead. They might mention your name to someone. Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re looking for work, and exactly what you want. You never know who your career fairy godmother might be.
4. Informational interview your ass off.
Use this time as an opportunity to learn more about your industry, or a new one, or a couple of companies that seem really intriguing to you. What would you love to learn about your industry or another industry that interests you? That’s where informational interviews come in.
Not sure how to go about doing informational interviews? In a nutshell, you want to connect with people you can learn from (and, yes, it’s okay to reach out to strangers), plan ahead so you know what to ask, and follow-up so you can maintain that relationship. An amazing lead might come from that connection, either now or in the future.