6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Job Opportunity

Searching for a job is not the goal. Finding the perfect career is. Follow these steps to find the perfect career opportunity for you.

6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Job Opportunity

6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Job Opportunity
6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Job
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Finding a job can be daunting, especially if you are applying either after being out of the job market for a while, or when you're looking for a change in roles. It doesn't have to be overwhelming, though. By following the steps outlined below, you can take a huge amount of stress out of the whole process, and increase your chances of success.

Analyze Your Skills  

The skills that you possess will have a bearing on the range of jobs that are suitable for you. If this makes you despair because you feel like you have no skills, don't fret! Most of us have many more skills than we realize. When we actually stop to think about it, we often discover that we are capable of far more than we think.

This can vary significantly by gender & age, too. In fact, stats show that women in their mid 20's & 30's are significantly less confident than men, so if you're in that demographic, try to be bold and don't sell yourself short – chances are you have more skills, and are move valuable, than you realize.

Try to think about the various tasks you perform both in your job and in everyday life – think what skills you use when carrying our each of those tasks and write them down on a list. Good brainstorming practice states that you shouldn't dismiss any idea when brainstorming, as it'll shift your brain into a 'dismissive' mode, which you don't want – You can always filter through the ideas later, so write down as many skills as you can come up with on the first pass, then filter out any you don't feel are appropriate afterwards.

Knowing these skills off by heart avoids moments of "ummmm" if the question is asked during interviews, helping you appear (and be) more confidant.

Write a Wish List  

Make a list of things that you want to get out of any job that you apply for. When you are looking at jobs, compare them to your list. This will give you a simple and objective way of comparing different jobs before applying.

Some people are looking for a job with the flexibility to work around other areas of their life, for example raising children, or looking after an elderly relative.

Others might be hunting for a job that offers the potential for a rapid career growth.

Whatever your goals, it's important to know exactly what you want from a job, then prioritize applying for positions that will best help you achieve those goals. 

  • Your Career Wish List will give you assignments. Whenever you feel motivated to work on your career planning, it will serve as a to-do list of opportunities to research. Once you begin to gather information on any idea on your list, you should start a folder for what you find to keep track of it all.
  • Your Career Wish List will help you network. Glance through your List to prepare for any informational interview, networking event or meeting with a career counselor. Better yet, bring your list along. The people you meet are likely to know some of the companies or people on your list—or how to reach them. Your list will turn a vague, "Can you help me find a job?" into a specific request for specific leads.
  • Your Career Wish List will help you assess yourself. As your list grows, you'll begin to see patterns of what kinds of opportunities attract you. Perhaps you'll notice that many of the items on your list point you towards creative jobs, small companies, political work, Asian American mentors, living in Chicago, making a difference, going to graduate school or something else. Or maybe you'll find a mishmash of stuff—which is okay, too. Don't see an all-over-the-place list as frustrating; instead, see it as reflecting the fact that a lot of different things will make you happy.

Focus on the Ingredients  

When you are deciding on the kind of jobs that you want to search for, don't just consider the title of the job. You should also think about exactly what the job involves and what skills it will call upon. These will often give you a much better idea of what a job involves.

A big factor to consider when you are looking at the components of a job, is whether it will require you to work mostly alone or as part of a team. Some people prefer a more isolated role – and there are jobs out there that don't require too much collaborative working, including remote working positions that will allow you to work from home either entirely, or for a proportion of the time.

If you're more of a team player, you might not be as suited to positions that will see you working in a silo within a business, so try to apply for positions that require a good amount of interaction with other staff and departments. There are usually plenty of roles that do require cross-department engagement. In fact, these days many companies actually to break down internal silos and encourage collaborative working.

Mine Past Experience

Some people will find their jobs through agencies. If you aren't taking this route, the best place to look for inspiration in your job search is in your past. Think what contacts from your past may be able to help.

Getting in touch with old work colleagues (or even college & university friends) and asking what they're doing now (make it about them, more than you) can yield interesting results.

Simply getting in touch and asking people how they are doing these days (and be sure to ask plenty of questions about their reply) often leads to them asking about you in return, at which point it's usually wise to mention a few non-work topics if possible, then mention that in the work-front, you're about to start looking for a new role in {insert your desired role here}.

You might be surprised and discover one of your old colleagues knows of a position in their company that's a good match for you.

The trick here, is that by asking about them about themselves first, then waiting for them to ask about you, you effectively change the positioning of the request, from you asking for help, to it being more their idea to suggest you for a role when they 'discover' you're on the hunt for a new position, which can be much more effective.

LinkedIn can be a excellent resource for helping re-connect with both professional and educational contacts.

Research Carefully  

This is perhaps the most important part of the process. You need to not only research what jobs are available and what those jobs are actually like. The more information you have before the interview, the more likely it is you will perform well and land at leas one of the jobs you apply for. So, remember to research the company your applying to, prior to any interviews.

It may sound like an obvious first step, but you'd be surprised how many people apply for a job without having looked carefully at a company's website. Everything that a company is proud to display will be on there, including case studies of work, key employees and any awards won.

You'll also get a clear idea of the company's brand by looking at their website. However, rather than being struck by the logo or colour scheme, pay attention to the set of core values that the brand is built on to ensure they are compatible with your own.

You can also look to see if an organisation belongs to a sector body, demonstrating they are keen to strive for best practice in the sector and commitment to values and high standards of work. Sector bodies or publications also often hold industry awards and publish league tables which can be something to mention in your covering letter to demonstrate why you would like to work at a particular company.

Polish CV – Both Your, And Virtual Versions

Having an up to date CV goes without saying. Try to keep it concise, accurate, and impressive. Be sure to have at least two references that will give you a glowing report if contacted.

In addition, though, remember that social media is often used as an unofficial virtual CV these days. Your LinkedIn profile should be complete and mirror the job-roles that are shown on your CV, you should ideally connect with past employers & work colleagues, and give out recommendations where you can, in the hopes people will reciprocate.

When it comes to less professional social media channels, such as Facebook, be sure to either set your privacy settings so those drunken nights out are not visible publicly, or ensure your Facebook profile is devoid of anything you wouldn't want a potential employer to see.

When looking for your dream job, having a clean, impressive online presence is a vital in today's job market. 

Have you ever tried any of the tips above? Will you start one this season? Please share your thoughts in the Comments!

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