A Successful Job Search is a Focused One
A focused job search lands jobs in a fraction of the time. It may seem counter intuitive, but it’s true.
There’s a misconception we’ve all once fallen victim to during a job search – that we’ve got to cast a wide net and apply to as many jobs as we can to make sure we end up with a job at the end. While the “Jack/ Jill of all trades” persona may sound like a good idea, it can be a major roadblock in your job search where employers are looking for you to fulfill a specific function within their operations perfectly (Well, unless you are interviewing at a 3 person tech startup where they may go for the Jack or Jill).
When you think of a successful job search what do you imagine? For many, it’s a couple of good interviews to see what their options are in terms of work environment, company culture, and job content then considering a few job offers before they launch into their new role. All this while avoiding submitting hundreds of applications to never hear back or interviewing for jobs you realize aren’t a fit. Eliminating the potential of the latter occurring is crucial in ensuring your path to your next role is a smooth one.
Much of creating a successful job search lies in being focused on your goal of finding a great fitting role. Focus keeps your mind sharply aware of your goal, gives you a clear understanding of your uncompromisable needs, and steering clear of wasted time.
Maintaining focus in your job search isn’t just important to be aware of in terms of your mindset but also the way you portray yourself to potential employers through branding.
There is a common way of branding yourself in the job search that can be the kiss of death in a job search. It sounds something like this “I’d love to work here, I am open to anything! Marketing, Admin, Project Management, Sales, I am happy to learn!” . This sort of “Jack of all trades approach” does not work for two reasons.
Firstly, this broad approach makes you appear weaker as a candidate or like you don’t know what you want or what your strongest skills are!
Secondly, Employers look to hire new employees because they have a need for a specific skill set that they are missing in order to perform the way they need to. If they are going to hire a Sales Representative, they want to hire someone who eats, sleeps, breathes Sales. Not someone who dabbles or has other competing interests. Additionally, remember these people don’t know you and they probably aren’t going to spend their time figuring out how you can fit in their company – they are relying on you to share what your strongest strengths and abilities are.
The tendency to fall into this trap and not want to close any doors to opportunity is strong! Especially those who have a diverse set of skills and tend to wear multiple hats. We all want to see ourselves as multifunctional and avoid being seen as one dimensional.
Sometimes out of pure desperation or when we are just trying to get by we don’t do this work and develop a focus before we job search and we start to rationalize why an opportunity would be a good fit but if we were more intentional, we could clearly see that is doesn’t align with our strengths and goals.
So how do you avoid this common pitfall?
Get clear on the one direction you are going to go in your job search.
Equally important to having a focused job search is knowing that your focus is the right fit and is truly enjoyable for you. So many of us fall in love with the “idea” of a company or profession, and then think we need to actually experience it to know if it’s right – but that’s not true. There are several ways to get a taste of a potential career, we can make more educated decisions when we seek out additional information. Here are some effective ways to find the path you want to focus on:
- Get the playbook on how to excel at your new career by setting up informational interviews to understand different career choices. Looking to enter Human Resources? Speak to 20 people in the profession, ask detailed questions and you’ll be sure you are making the right career choice
- Before you set your sights on a particular company to work for, have conversations with former employees to get the unfiltered details about the culture and everything you should expect
Once you have established your career direction you are going to focus on, make it evident! Here are some effective ways to do this:
- Brand your LinkedIn profile to reflect your focus. No more profile headlines that say “Open to Opportunities”
- Tailor your resume to reflect only the achievements you’ve had in the field your are focusing on
- When developing your elevator pitch or your response to “Tell me about yourself”, get specific about the opportunity you want! Avoid subjective words and adjectives in favor of something that gives the listener a clear idea of what you want
- Too broad and not effective – I want a creative, collaborative role working with people at a company doing meaningful work
- Just right – I want to lead consumer sales at a nonprofit in Seattle
Finding focus in your job search and professional life is most difficult and most important when you are just starting out with limited previous experience on your resume. If you send an email to a company saying “I want to intern at your company, I’m open to any role” you will get a significantly lower response rate than “I would like to intern on your Email Marketing team, I have been studying and building my skills in Marketing”.
What’s at stake if I don’t stay focused in my job search?
Launching an unfocused job search and hoping you figure out where you’re going along the way can lead to many unfortunate places including:
- Wasted time
- Feeling helpless and unsure throughout your job search
- Ending up in a place where you aren’t happy
A lot of people don’t do this because it is a lot of up front work, but it will payoff in the long run for a fulfilling career!
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest job seekers find their “just right” jobs for over 40 years.
A 4 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.
PACE provides multiple placement options….
- Direct Placement – Full or Part Time
- Temp to Hire Auditions
- Short or Long Term Temporary or Contract Assignments – Full or Part Time
Our services for job seekers include….
- Resume reviews and consultations
- Access to the “Hidden Job Market”
- Insider intros to TOP Employers HIRING NOW
- Confidential Job Searches
- Professional Career Guidance
There is NEVER A FEE for using our services.
We provide paid absence and healthcare benefits for employees assigned to work at client sites thru our services. .
To learn more about how one 2 minute application can open doors to a full range of PACE placement services plus introductions to local employers hiring now, contact PACE’s candidate services team at 425-637-3301 or e mail candidates services at firstname.lastname@example.org.