I’ve been in a tizzy this week. My car was totaled in a rear-end collision and I’ve been car shopping. Wow! Auto makers have shown maximum ingenuity in creating so many choices that it is mind boggling!

Getting a handle on this is directly related to my ability to DECIDE. The word decide actually means to “cut off” possibilities. My making choices, the search becomes easier. The variables become more fixed, and the options are reduced. New or pre-owned? Body style? Color? Trim level? Model years to consider? Budget?

As difficult as car shopping is, looking for a job is much more challenging. The stakes are higher. Instead of spending a lot of money, you’re trying to earn a lot of money. There are at least as many factors to consider. And, instead of being on the “buy” side, you are on the “sell” side. Here are some ideas that might help:

  1. Research Job Titles. You can’t look for a job if you don’t know the name. Position titles are constantly in flux. As you work on Job Boards, make a short list of titles you are willing to consider. Then, search on ALL the titles when you look for jobs. Be sensitive to new names that have recently been introduced.
  2. Shortlist industries you like and know. Most job-seekers are industry-agnostic. They feel they can be a Project Manager, a Finance Manager or an Account Executive in ANY industry. Recruiters don’t usually see it that way. They want industry and position experience. Make a list of all the industries you are willing to work in. Don’t forget to list industries that were vendors or clients of your former employers. You have a treasure trove of knowledge that you can sell in an interview!
  3. Choose your favorite corporate environment. If you haven’t experienced all the kinds, here’s a short list: start-up, family owned, partnership (as in law or accounting); corporate small, medium or large; and global enterprise. Each environment has its pros and cons. Think back in your career and choose which one(s) would make you happiest.
  4. Shortlist companies where you want to contribute. Notice: I didn’t say “where you want to work.” As a job seeker, you may be too hungry to consider this heart factor, but do consider whether you like the mission of the organization. When you can put heart into your everyday work, it’s easier to get up each morning.
  5. Refine your resume. Use the first four items to rework your resume. Make sure you look like the right candidate for the job you have selected. This means key words, industry terms and achievements that match up with the skills required.
  6. Take the job for a test drive. Connect with an employee of a target company who has a job similar or even the same title you are seeking. Use LinkedIn to identify someone inside who can give you information about the role, corporate culture, and names of supervisors that may be hiring.
  7. Take the company for a test drive. An interview is your chance to size up the company, while they check you out. Feel into the interview. Let yourself see red flags, if they come up. Let your intuition be your guide. If the hiring manager is selling the job too hard, chances are there’s a significant catch. If the job and company feel right for you, they probably are.
  8. Negotiate the salary. You would NEVER buy a car without asking for a slightly lower price. Never accept a job offer in the moment. Ask for 24-48 hours to think it over. Ask for details in writing. Then, make a counter-offer.
  9. Talk to friends, family and the professionals. I found it very helpful talking to friends who have recently been car shopping. It’s helped me understand my preferences. A Career Coach can help you better understand yourself, and continue to refine your search.
  10. Be willing to change your target. While you are shopping for a job, an unexpected opportunity can pop up that’s close to your original target. Maybe even better. Be open to changing your mind, for all the right reasons.

Just as with a car purchase, this is something that you should live with for 3-5 years, at the minimum. It needs to be right. For you.

On your side,

Catherine Jewell
The Career Passion® Coach

PS: I decided on a Cross-over, Hyundai Santa Fe or Santa Fe Sport, SEL or above, 2014-2017. That’s what I’m looking for now. I plan to take my time, and get the best deal.

PPS: I can help with ANY of the 10 steps described above. Sometimes the best help is from a coach who asks you the right questions. Want to talk?

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