Here’s the scenario. You decide you want to look for a new job because you’re fed up with your career. How do you figure out your next move?
New clients often tell me they’ve already “tried everything” and nothing is working. I ask what “everything” entails. It’s usually they’re looking for jobs online and not finding anything or they’ve applied for a few things with no luck.
This approach works well if you’re looking to buy a house or a car. But, unfortunately, it’s the least likely strategy to work if you’re looking for a new job. And even less so if you’re looking for a new career.
Why? Well, mostly because hiring managers and recruiters don’t want to post jobs in online forums unless they absolutely have to. They’ve either already got a great candidate ready to go or they’re looking for a needle in haystack.
And, when they do post jobs, they’re relying on software to automatically screen out as many people as possible. Time is money, so getting a role filled is the priority. I’m generalising, but rarely will you find a recruiter who cares if you’re in the right career.
The thing is… you won’t find a job by looking for one
I know it seems counterintuitive, but it’s the truth.
I’m not saying searching and applying for jobs doesn’t work at all. I’m just saying there’s a very small chance of success that doesn’t warrant the effort you put in.
Last week a previous client let me know he’d been approached on LinkedIn to apply for an exciting new role. The role has not been advertised and the hiring manager had approached him after finding him through a keyword search.
Now… the job is not his yet. He may even choose not to apply for it. But, I love this story as an example of having the “right” type of opportunity find you. Instead of the exercise in frustration you experience searching for work or inspiration.
In order to be “discoverable” you need to feel comfortable communicating your unique professional value. You must showcase exactly who are and what you stand for. And, you need to do this so it’s about what you want, not to what you (or others) think you “should” do.
Strategies that are better than “looking for a job”
1. GET ACTIVE ON LINKEDIN
Oh, I hear your groans and feel your eye-rolls from here! And, I understand your resistance. I was an early adopter of LinkedIn, way back in 2004… but I’ve only become an active participant recently. I too thought it was just a place for braggers and big-noters. Let me assure you, it’s not. Getting active on LinkedIn is the single biggest thing you can do to set yourself up for career success. It’s not about asking people for jobs. It’s about raising your profile and showcasing your value. And, it’s about finding the advice and support you need to make confident next steps.
2. LOOK FOR PEOPLE, INSTEAD OF JOBS
Use your professional and social connections to seek out those who can help you do what you want to do. Be clear about who you’re looking for. Perhaps you’re interested in another industry, ask your contacts if they know people they can introduce you to. Maybe you’d like to ask questions of someone who’s made the career move you want to make. Reach out and ask if they’d be prepared to meet with you and answer your questions. You never know who you might connect with that might be looking for exactly what you offer.
3. ASK GREAT QUESTIONS
Once you’ve made some good connections, don’t waste their time (and yours) by not being prepared with good questions. In the conversations you have, aim for two outcomes. Firstly, gather helpful information to inform your career transition. Secondly, leave a good impression. You never know exactly who that person will speak to next. And you want to be top of mind for them if they encounter an opportunity that’s right for you.
4. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Do you put yourself forward for something and wish and hope to be picked? And then feel disappointed, perhaps devastated, when you’re not? It happens. Sometimes when you’re not even that interested in a role. When you’re confident about exactly who you are, the value you contribute and what you’re worth you stop thinking and feeling this way. You know you’re putting your best foot forward. And it’ll either be the right opportunity for you or it won’t be. A simple reframe can make all the difference.
5. BRING IN THE EXPERTS
You wouldn’t try to cure yourself when you’re sick, teach yourself how to drive, or build a house without a professional builder. If you want to make big decisions, changes or transitions in your career you may need to “hire some help”. You might question the value of investing career coaching but why would you leave something as important as figuring out your career, to chance?
Are you sick and tired of trying to figure out the right next step for your career? It’s time to think differently and employ a new strategy. If looking for a job if the only strategy you have and you know the cost of investing in your future outweighs what it’s costing you to stay stuck, I’d love to help you work it out.