Over the last two decades, we have received thousands of inquiries from individuals looking for their next career opportunity. In reviewing these inquires, there were two things the overwhelming majority of individuals had in common: they were either reacting to a situation that affected them, such as corporate reorganization, downsizing or a layoff, or they were using traditional means of finding a "job" by responding to ads, sending out resumes, and contacting recruiters.
While these "by the book" methods seem sensible, there is another way of thinking about your career that is not always considered. Instead of reacting when something happens to you then looking for a new opportunity with urgency and panic, why not be proactive about your career in the first place? Think about what could happen if you were to intentionally seek out opportunities that were reflective of your desired role, preferred culture, and location of a position. With a focused direction and an understanding of what your needs are, the opportunities you look for and pursue are more likely to align with your ideal of a perfect career.
If you are already searching for a role with traditional job-search methods, namely responding to ads and contacting recruiters, keep in mind that it will result in an average "job," not a dream career you're looking for. By utilizing traditional methods, your desires and needs are sometimes ignored. There is less of a focus around the values you are searching for and what type of role and organization would work best for YOU. Instead, you're looking to fit yourself in somewhere, with the hope that it all works out. If you take on a more strategic approach to finding a real opportunity, you may be surprised at the doors that are opened.
To put it to practice, consider the following steps to proactively seek out a career rather than a job:
Step 1: Define what would constitute a perfect opportunity for you. Think about the type of company you want to work for in what industry, the size, products or services they would offer, the functional role you would play, the culture of the organization, management style, and location. Creating this opportunity vision will help you target companies that align with it.
Step 2: Figure out where (and how) you will find these organizations. List your existing contacts, referral sources, and online tools you can access to assist in the identification of the organizations you want to target.
Step 3: Create a target list of organizations and an outreach plan. For each organization, you'll need to identify the right people to reach out to and find their correct information (like email address, direct mail address, and phone number). Take time to write out what you will say to a prospective hiring authority, then create an email template to send it in, at the same time sending a physical letter too.
Step 4: Set a follow up plan. In one week, contact the hiring authority via email, mail, or phone. Make sure you have given them adequate time to process your initial letter, and reiterate important points you want them to know. After the first follow up call, wait one more week, and then call once again. Perseverance in a sophisticated, non-interruptive way will show that you are committed to finding an opportunity.
Step 5: Track your activity and results. Keep notes of who you reached out to and when, how the conversations went and the results, and next steps to take with the company. These notes will keep you organized and motivated to continue seeking out a career.
If you target 50-100 organizations and contacting them, the ideal end result will be interviews. You can be confident that you're interviewing with an organization that could provide you with the perfect career because you were the one seeking them out. If executed well, you'll land offers where you are not even competing with other job seekers. Many times, after learning of your experience and skills, an employer will create an opportunity for you.
If you're ready to take the first steps in finding a true career but need help executing the outlined steps, please contact us and one of our professional coaches will contact you. Alternatively, if you feel you represent the top 5% of talent in your industry, we invite you to qualify for our executive agent program. For more information, please click here.
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