Every day I talk with top professionals and executives looking for a better job. But deep down, they know they want more than a job -- they want more fulfillment.
They need to see a greater value and satisfaction in the 40 to 50 hours of brainpower and expertise they put forth every week. They have excellent skills and experience in their industry, but now they're faced with finding a new position, or expanding their career, and have very little background in that department.
They all ask the same questions: "Where should I start? Whom should I talk to? Should I just start calling recruiters?"
Finding a job is a job in itself.
It all starts on the inside: Step back, do a gut check, take a holistic approach and ask yourself:
- Why consider a job search in the first place?
- What's really going to make me happy on the job, 40 to 60 hours a week?
- What trajectory do I want my career to take?
- If I start a search, what are the first steps to take?
1. Why consider a search?
This is your key to success because it targets your motivation. In Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" (Zondervan), he says you need to get right with God. This cuts to the core of your spirit, your personal dream, and your overall satisfaction.
Is it all about money? (Hint: That's almost never the case). A greater career challenge? Are you stressed out or just tired of your boss and the working conditions -- or are YOU the boss and just bored with the industry, the company or the people around you?
Write down a few keywords or sentences about your real motivation and level of commitment. How much time are you willing to spend creating a resume, learning & conducting internet research on target companies, calling them personally and doing personal networking? Will you keep track of your calls? How long can you be unemployed?
2. Can You Get Some Satisfaction?
At this very moment, what do you want to DO with your life? What are you lacking in your current position, and what's going to really satisfy you on the job, regardless of job title, industry, location or money? We hear "Life Is Short" all the time. Yet most of us are content to remain in our comfort zones.
Only when that becomes unbearable do we reach out for advice and support.
Don't let your pride or ego prevent you from working with a certified career coach.
Coaches can prove invaluable in helping you come to terms with where you are and where you really want to be. They can assess your current value in today's marketplace, and help create a plan to get you a position that will maximize your talents.
For many, it's a chance to stand up and help others; you discover whole new challenges. You meet new people, create new relationships, and find greater value and substance to your days, and that's priceless.
3. The Big Picture
Take the long view; don't be afraid to dream and imagine greater possibilities, meet new challenges, and make a positive difference in the lives of others. This is your trajectory.
Talk it over with your spouse, good friends you trust, your pastor, or co-workers who can keep a secret. Don't rush this; take some time and sleep on it. Think out of the box. I built a career helping others with their careers, yet certainly never thought I'd do it for 20 years and write six books on resumes and career marketing.
4. Strategy and Execution
OK: So you've done some dreaming and pictured yourself in the ideal opportunity; how do you get there? Get online and search for job descriptions; talk to anyone even remotely related to the position or industry. When you're sure about the skills you want to use, sidestep the fear and market your abilities. Track down the names and numbers of key players to contact and line up informational interviews to learn about the job market, their company direction, their challenges and how you can help them. Such interviews can lead to job offers, it happens all the time.
Studies show only 5 percent to 10 percent of jobs are filled through internet job sites and bulletin boards. Many executives at our Career Workshop spend hours online seeking the perfect job. But personal networking is the single most effective approach to finding -- even creating -- the ideal opportunity.
In fact, 60 to 70 percent of all positions are filled through personal networking: people who know people. Real networks are created one call at a time, one person at a time. It can be slow and frustrating, but it does work. A good career coach can help you perfect the skill of calling companies and creating a 30-second elevator speech of your best value and benefit.
Some Final Thoughts
A job search is your chance to assess where you are right now. We all know life is short, and no one else can make it meaningful for us. It's up to us to get right with God and move forward with greater confidence and determination. It's up to us to use our gifts to add greater impact and meaning to our lives, and the lives of those around us.
Seize the day.
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