Finding The Perfect Career

Lets face it, finding a good career path can seem a lot like dating.  You search for the right person, find creative ways to get a reaction, and hope that it turns into an fun outing.  If you’re anything like me, the chase is fun at first, but can slowly become daunting, discouraging, and tiring.

Lucky for me, I had a few friends to give me great dating advice that helped me land the perfect wife.  I’m going to share 3 of those tips with you, but relate them back to how you can successfully market yourself in the corporate world and find “the one”.

1) Focus on Friendships

This seemed counter-intuitive when I first heard it from a few friends.  What started as an X-box-on -the-couch kind of night, turned into a pseudo intervention, but honestly changed my approach and life for the better.  They helped me draft out a few friendships to focus on, and keep “steady dating” or “partner material” out of the equation.

How does this apply to the job hunt?  Well, it’s simple!  Focus on developing relationships.  Look for a company that interests you and find creative ways to build friendships within the company, it can be a common college affiliate, an interest, or a cold connection.  Either way, invest in the other person and get to know more about the company from the inside.  That will help give you an idea of the culture, fit, and ultimately if it is the right organization for you, when you do start looking for new opportunities.

2) Work Out

This was a humbling piece of advice to hear, but what I bring to the table is what I’ll get from the table.  Granted, I definitely married up in terms of appearance, but it didn’t hurt to go back into the gym and work out some of my unhealthy habits.

How will this help me get a job?  While physical appearance isn’t a factor during the interview process with potential employers, your work related muscle mass is certainly an issue.  If you have been between job, unemployed, or searching for work, what have you done to build some of your creative muscles?

As an Instructional Designer, it does not bode well if I allow my “muscles” to deteriorate or become flabby.  That means it is imperative that I continue exercising them, training old ones, and building new.  A simple way to work out is to take temporary gigs or contract jobs while searching for a full-time opportunity.  Sites like Upwork and Toptal provide a variety of opportunities to keep those muscles tight and strong.  Check out Anna Johansson’s 15 Best Freelance Websites for a plethora of different contract positions that will keep your skills sharp.  Be sure to ask for references and endorsements on your Linkedin page, as this goes a long way.

3) Have fun!

Remember the chase?  It can feel discouraging at times, especially when you swipe right on a potential match, but get no response in return.  I get the same feeling when I click that blue “apply” button, only to see an email thanking me for my resume but other candidates have been selected.  While there is no tried and true secret for gathering responses from potential employers, there are a few things you can do to get them interested in a conversation, and this is where the fun begins.

After finding a potential business and before applying, make sure you meticulously search the application for the department that you’ll be serving.  Use Linkedin’s search feature to identify who it is you are going to be working for, and send them a connection highlighting your interest in the company and position.  This is where the fun begins!  If they are too busy to respond, as most employers are, find ways to get them interested in a discussion.  Did their company just break into a new market, are they scaling uncontrollably?  Find an article, research paper, infograph, or any other form of media that may add value to their company.

Finally, remember this sage advise I received from a few of my closest friends, “You only need to get a “yes” from one.”

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