The beginner's guide to job hunting
Looking for a job change? With the unemployment rate (especially in Seattle) continually decreasing, you can start to actually be picky about where you work. The first thing you need to do is have a strategy to set yourself up for success. So where do you even start?
1. Know yourself
I know that I talk about understanding your personality way more than I probably should, but it’s just because I completely believe in the power of knowing yourself. Have a clear direction - don’t just cast a huge net and hope to snag something. Once you have figured out what you want, you can tailor your approach based on the job, industry, etc. Then you can really research and understand what the employers you are targeting expect from you as a candidate.
2. Ask for help
Referrals are powerful, but you already knew that. Having someone give you advice or coaching as you are going through the job hunting process makes it a lot easier emotionally. Having someone on your side that has an established network can not only feed you leads on great companies but also may be able to present you to a connection within a company.
Sometimes, your judgment can get a little clouded if you’re strained for money or you are nervous you’re going to say no to a great opportunity. Having an objective opinion to help give you a fresh perspective that may mitigate the emotional part of decision-making, giving you the opportunity to stand back and see what is really best for you in the long run.
If you can, I would recommend finding someone within the industry or job you are targeting. If you’re looking for a job as a chef, it probably won’t be helpful to ask for insight from a web developer.
3. Get on LinkedIn
This is the best thing I could have done when I was job hunting. I would go online, find a company I was interested in, and inMail the recruiter or hiring manager directly. Short, sweet and SO effective. Don’t wait for them to chase you down, because sometimes they won’t, and you’ll grow old waiting for a job offer that isn’t coming.
This is an excellent way to differentiate yourself. I guarantee that not everyone is utilizing their LinkedIn to its full capability. Before you do this, make sure your profile is fresh and ready.
4. Relax and trust in your abilities
Finding a job is an emotional experience. Realize that you can add value wherever you decide to go - and don’t feel like you can’t ask for the things you want. Everyone will have interview anxiety – that is just part of being human – but don’t let it affect your ability to present your skills and yourself as a strong candidate.
Also, don’t get discouraged if you hear no. Ask for interview feedback and take that knowledge into the next interview!