By Tim Tyrell-Smith, founder of Tim’s Strategy®, a job search strategy website dedicated to helping people succeed in their job search, career and life.
We’re not all strategic thinkers.
Some of us are great with people or are a talented team member. We’re great at contributing to an idea but struggle to come up with the idea or the strategy at the beginning.
Is this you?
If it is, this article will help you outline a strategic action plan to help you find the right job faster during your search. Below are 5 action items:
1. Decide what you want
This is often a challenge for job seekers – for a number of reasons. Some simply don’t know what they want and need to sit with a coach or assessment tool to decide. Others know but don’t want to limit themselves to one target job. But therein lies the problem.
If you don’t know what you want, it is next to impossible to find a job in a productive way. The “haven’t decided” are applying for too many jobs, wasting time and getting very little help from their network.
Answer the question: “What are your looking for?” with specifics including a list of three target companies.
2. Decide who you are
You have to decide how to position yourself to employers. Figure out what you do differently when compared to others in your industry.
What were you known for in your last company?
If you are in sales, for example, what kind of sales person are you? Are you an account manager type or are you the one that knocks down new deals?
Don’t try to be whatever they are looking for. That doesn’t work.
3. Identify your target network
Once you know that you are looking for a sales director job in the apparel industry located on the west coast, you can act strategically to get introductions and leads. You should then activate your network by telling people that you’d like to work for companies similar to Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.
So now instead of “any sales job”, you are strategically focused and, as a result, can specifically identify the people in your life that may know key people who work there.
4. Be selective in applying for jobs
It’s easy to apply for a lot of jobs these days. You can visit a job board and rack up some great mileage for your resume by sending it off to 50 companies a week that mention the word “sales”. It might even feel good to do that.
But it’s not strategic. And it’s not smart.
Here’s a better approach: use the job boards to search for jobs that are a really good fit. Then, before you apply, search for the company on LinkedIn and see who you know there.
Apply for jobs that are a great fit with your objectives and your background. Then see if you can get your resume forwarded to someone inside the company instead of or in addition to the online application process.
5. Interview with a purpose
So many people walk into job interviews and let a variety of people “put them through the wringer.” A barrage of questions asked with friendly smile or tough grimace will keep you on the defensive if you aren’t prepared to interview with a purpose.
You should be ready with questions from the start, and create a conversational environment as soon as possible during the interview.
The goal? A back and forth dialogue that allows you to share your great accomplishments, tell powerful stories and establish positive themes that help the hiring company see you as a qualified candidate and potential new hire.