One of the trends I’ve noticed so far this year is that people are on the move. With the unemployment rate still low, more people are feeling that the time is right to search for a new opportunity. And I’ve had a number of calls asking for my advice on how to start the search, as part of my executive coach offerings.
Searching for a new opportunity can be both exciting and overwhelming. To make it more of the former and less of the latter, you need to have clarity, focus, a compelling message and a strategic job search plan.
Start by gaining clarity. What do you want to do next? What are the skills, experience and competencies required in order to achieve that? What kind of work environment do you prefer? Big company? Small company? Structured? Start-up? What are the roles, type of leadership, work culture, and experiences from your career so far that brought you the most satisfaction?
Take inventory. What are the skills, behaviors and competencies that have helped you succeed in the past? Which of those map to what you want to do next? Where are the gaps? What are the beliefs and/or behaviors that may have held you back so far from getting to where you want to be? Do you have skills or knowledge that you haven’t been able to leverage so far in your career but want to?
Create focus by identifying a target. Based on what you want to do next and your inventory, select a couple of target organizations/roles that are a potential match. Focus is incredibly important in your search for a new opportunity. It’s tempting to just throw out a big net in search of “a job” but if you want to have a fulfilling career, focus on the companies/roles/experiences that will propel you toward your personal career “vision.”
Develop your personal marketing campaign. This includes a compelling message about the value you bring to the table, and will include your resume, LinkedIn profile, a personal “elevator pitch,” and a list of people in your network (and in their networks) who might connect you to an opportunity. An important note about resumes. Remember that the purpose of a resume is to pique the interest of a recruiter or hiring manager so they will contact you for an interview. Keep it clean, concise, achievement oriented, forward looking, and error-free. It should not be a job description, but rather an account of what you did that made a difference to your role, your team, the organization.
Design your search plan. Once you’ve developed these components, create the action plan that will put them to work for you. Commit to paper your target, your key message, and your daily activity goals for your search. Keep active. Do something related to your search every day. Small steps every day lead to big results.
And remember, working with a coach can help you create your plan and accelerate results. If you find that your search for a new opportunity is leaning more toward the overwhelming side of the equation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.