Firstly, how do you determine what is the perfect role for you? Here's 5 steps you need to consider before targetting that ideal job...
1. Have an HONEST conversation with yourself
Before you start applying and interviewing, take an honest self-assessment of what's most important. Is it having the chance to take on more responsibility and advance? Is it having a work life balance that allows you the flexibility to work from home on mid week afternoons? Is it finding a workplace that lets you lie in a room full of puppies every Wednesday afternoon? You may discover that your career goals and objectives are different from the last time you looked for a job, and that’s okay.
As we progress in life, our priorities change but finding out the answers now will make your search process more efficient, and more importantly, ensure the highest level of personal and professional satisfaction with the outcome. And side note? Your chances of finding an employer that has Puppy Wednesday’s is slim so be realistic in what you’re looking for.
2. Be ready
Regardless of how a new opportunity comes about, when it does, employers will be motivated to fill it quickly. If you're not ready to match their urgency, you could miss out. Make sure your CV is up to date and ready to be presented with confidence. Assemble a list of references you feel comfortable with. A word to the wise, whilst Nana Pam might make a mean cup of tea, she probably won’t make the best reference, so be sure that the ones you chose confirm their consent and their readiness to come through for you.
3. And About your cv...
Having your CV ready to go means a lot more than just updating the months and years you've spent at your current employer. CV’s that include the basics such as an overview, job titles, day to day responsibilities, education, etc. can all start to look the same. How do you make yours stand out? You know, apart from that summer you spent in Greece teaching underprivileged dolphins how to windsurf.
Start by highlighting how you have progressed within the organisations you’ve served. Instead of listing your responsibilities, detail what you have accomplished for the company. When you pick and choose what to include, give priority to what seems most pertinent for the new opportunity.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help
A successful job search can't be accomplished alone. At some point, whether it's asking your former boss to be a reference or asking your prospective boss for the job, going through the interview process becomes an exercise in collaboration. The earlier you start asking for help the better.
This is also why you should never leave your current post on bad terms. There’s nothing like having to grovel to a former boss for a glowing reference when the last time you saw each other was as you were being escorted off the premises following your desk top rendition of Wannabe by the Spice Girls.
5. Specialise, don't generalise
No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. Presenting yourself as all things to all people isn't good for you, you'll just end up confusing your future employer about what you're looking for, or worse, you'll get yourself into a situation where you've bitten off more than you can chew. Remember that time you told that girl you fancied you could double back flip off the skate ramp but ended up in A&E with a broken nose? Yeah, that’s biting off more than you can chew.
Take the time to map out your strengths and your professional interests, and then go after the opportunities at the intersection of the two.
Be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t achieve, look at your specialities and how you can make them work for your future employees and become irresistible – good luck.