I’ve have had more job searches and been to more interviews than I am prepared to admit. I have had lots of advice and received lots of scars on the way through, so here come my 12 top job hunting tips if you need them in the New Year. You will get one every other day from me in the lead up to Christmas with reflections on each one from my coaching colleagues as we go. I hope you enjoy!!
1. Know yourself
You’ve decided. You need to get on with that job search. Either, it’s something you know you should have started a while ago, or it’s something you’ve been forced into. Either way, now’s the time to get going. So, where to begin? Where better than with yourself?
Such is the nature of the modern workplace that we rarely take a moment to step back and think about who we are and what we really want. On one level it can be considered a pretty self-indulgent thing to do; but on another it is a pretty crucial thing to get to grips with before you expose yourself to the bear pit that is the job hunting world.
There are a whole range of ways to go about it: take a personality test (boy are there are hundreds, but many are free); talk to colleagues and friends who know you well; get some professional coaching (I would say that wouldn’t I?) or simply, take some time for yourself and reflect. Look at what you like to do, look at who and which activities you are naturally drawn to. Try to work out if you have a clear purpose and what values naturally support and enable your attainment of that purpose.
One of my old bosses had his pet interview question: “What do you stand for?” When they heard this, many of my colleagues thought he was being really pretentious. But stop, and think about it for a moment. Firstly, it’s a great open question. Unstructured and it forces (or enables, depending on your point of view) the interviewee to guide the conversation.
Secondly, it gives a real insight into both the maturity and thoughtfulness of the respondent. Have they actually ever stopped to think where they are going and what their goals are? Do they value the art of self-reflection; have they considered their options; have they ever questioned how they impact those around them and what is important to them? And how does the interviewee sum themselves up? What’s their brand, what is important to them, what will their employer and fellow employees experience when working with them? What are their values and what will their lasting impact be?
On one level, really philosophical and abstract stuff. But on another level, it’s really important for you to understand and be able to articulate what your fundamental drivers are and the impact you will have over time.
Fear not, if you are anything like me, you may never bottom out exactly who you are and what your purpose truly is. But the closer you get the more equipped you will be in identifying what you want and the role to look for. You might experience some positive side effects too. Making difficult decisions can become much easier if you have a greater sense of who you are and your priorities. You can start to develop a really useful compass that defines who you are, the route you should go and what decisions you might make.
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