Job seeking is a tough, time-sucking activity that is a lot of work for very little reward – but alas, it needs to be done. Whether you are looking for a different role or a new opportunity, there are three things that professionals always seem to skip when hunting for a new job; three things that are essential if you actually want to land the position that you want. To help you find (and secure) a new role, here is the first of three job seeking tips. By the way, this article comes from a fragment of our The Secrets of Job Seeking In Professional Services Virtual Masterclass If you want to listen to the whole masterclass, join Progress to Partner for just $1 and get access to the full recording.
Secret 1: you must have CLARITY
It might sound mad (because it makes so much sense), but a lot of professionals skip this step in the job seeking process. They cast their net as wide as possible and apply for as many jobs as possible because the more jobs you apply for, the higher the chances of success, right? Wrong. The very first job seeking secret is to get clarity on what you want because if you don’t know this, you’re going to be swimming against the tide. Chances are you could spend hours and hours searching for and applying to positions only to be continuously turned down. Why? Because you’re being too general. If you get clarity on what you want and where you want to go, you’ll soon see the exact route of what you need to do to get there. Think of ‘clarity’ like a set of stepping stones rising out of the water. Once you know how to get to where you want to, only then are you far more likely to be successful in doing so.
4 steps to getting clarity
So ‘get clarity’ is one of our job seeking tips, but how do you actually get it? Here are the 4 steps to making those stepping stones to your new position much clearer.
1. Think about your medium to long-term career aspirations
Some solid job seeking advice for professionals is to “think about what your medium to long-term career aspirations are.” Where do you want to be in 5 years or ten years time? What does your ideal future look like in terms of your job and lifestyle? It’s important to think about the longer-term whilst job seeking because what you want in the future will impact the decisions you make in the short term, especially when it comes to job moves. When you have this clarity, the better and easier it is to make decisions and choices along the way too. If you need help identifying what your really want from your career – perhaps you are at a career crossroads, then sign up for Progress To Partner for $1 + VAT and take our course “How to truly commit to moving your career forward”. Module 2 of the course will give you the much needed insight about yourself and what makes you tick, to identify what really matters for you and your career going forward.
2. Think about what you want from your next role
The next piece of job seeking advice (and the next step to gaining clarity) is to take some time to think about the next role that you want. What exactly is it that you are looking for in your next role? Is it more money? More experience? Perhaps it’s wanting to work with certain clients or you want experience in a specific niche area within your area of specialism? Whatever it ends up being, make sure that you spend some time to get clear in your mind exactly what you want. This is really important as it not only narrows down your job search significantly, but it also ensures your long term happiness too.
3. Think about the type of firm you want to work in
Another important step you need to take in order to gain clarity with your job seeking, is to think about what type of firm you want to work in. Why is this important? Because not every Big 4 firm or small-medium size firm is exactly the same. Every firm has its own style, its own vibe and approaches, its own culture and values. And the more you can match up your values and your motivations to this type of firm that you’re actually going to be working in, the more successful you’re going to be in that environment.
4. Know what you have to offer
Last but not least is, you need to know what you have to offer. This is one of the best pieces of job seeking advice for professionals that we can give as you don’t want to be applying for things that you’re not an ideal fit for. That’s just a waste of time and energy and it results in feelings of defeat on your end (which is not ideal for job seeking). To gain clarity of what your assets and strengths are and exactly what you have to offer employers, spend time making these 6 lists:
- List all of the experience that you’ve gained in the course of your career so far – for accountants, this maybe experience in audit, tax and certain areas of tax, VAT and/or insolvency. For consultants, this maybe experience of major change programmes. For lawyers, this maybe experience in criminal law, family law, commercial law and/or banking and finance law.
- List areas where you have a real in-depth level of knowledge – what are your specialities or which areas would you say you are the go-to-expert for? List the areas where people always ask for your advice about or where you have a lot of knowledge of (even if you haven’t had practical experience in that area yet).
- List all of your technical skills – things like I.T, digital skills, project skills, corporate governance, and risk management are technical skills, but try to include others with more detail too such as “managing bid programmes.”
- List all of your non-technical skills – this is one of the top job seeking tips because many people often forget to include non-technical skills in their job search! Interpersonal skills such as communication, problem-solving, leadership, customer service, marketing, and sales are all important in finding that perfect role.
- List all of your achievements – include your key career achievements and instances where you have made a significant contribution right over the course of your whole career. It doesn’t have to be massive, something like introducing a new technology or automation or anything that has helped improve profitability and reduce costs is a big deal to potential employers. Always try to quantify the impact of your achievements.
- List all of your personal attributes – what makes you the person that you are? What differentiates you from everyone else when it comes to your career? If you can show your employer that you really understand what it is that makes you who you are and that you are a great fit for their culture, this can often have more weight than you just fit the skills and expertise that they are looking for.
For more job seeking advice, read: A definitive guide to job hunting for lawyers, accountants, and consultants (part 1)
Don’t skip this first step
Many professionals skip getting clarity when searching for a job, but all they are doing is setting themselves up to swim against the tide. To avoid drowning and wasting a lot of energy and time, take this essential piece of job seeking advice. Get clarity and see those stepping stones that you need to take to win the job that you actually want. For more job seeking tips join Progress to Partner for just $1 and get access to the full recording of this virtual masterclass