Unfortunately, your ideal job is not going to jump up at you waving its arms around and saying hi. From my experience, getting your dream job involves a combination of grit, knowing people in the market, understanding where your skills are in relation to what the market is desiring, what your mindset is and understanding what you want in your next role.
For some of us who work in larger organisations, where the company cares about how we want our careers to grow, finding your dream job can be easier: roles are lined up, training is provided so you can qualify for the role and there are support infrastructures that enable you to achieve the job you want. I personally have been invited to apply for roles or placed into roles that allowed me to challenge myself and provide an opportunity to change things up.
I have also been in situations where I was overlooked for roles, worked for toxic bosses and had been thoroughly demoralised to the point where I have been crying in the kitchen before going to work. Not a pretty picture and it was at a low point in my self-confidence. But, spoiler alert: I recovered and continued to deliver.
Through all of these experiences, here are the things I’ve learnt about attracting your next role:
1. Mindset matters
This is such an important thing – exuding self-confidence and believing in yourself and your abilities are so important in attracting your next role.
There is no doubt that your current or new employer wants someone who is super confident about his/her ability to deliver what is asked for.
How can you have a confident mindset?
- Try to let go of as much emotional baggage as you can. It is not easy but it will help to make you feel better
- Take deep breaths and meditate
- Identify exercise goals you want to achieve and work hard to achieve them. It will make you feel fabulous
- Do something creative that you enjoy
- Connect with your support group
2. Have a clear vision
In the past, I’ve been flapping around unsure about what role I really wanted. I used to think that I could be CIO or work for external consulting companies. It took me a while to realise that I am not suited to some available roles and that I shouldn’t force myself into roles that are clearly not fit with my personality and the lifestyle I want.
I had to envision the types of roles that will allow me to flourish and deliver great outcomes.
Here are 6 tips to identify and/or clarify your job vision:
- List 5 things you enjoyed about the best role you ever had
- List 5 things about the worse role you ever had
- What are the realistic career moves available for you?
- What are your stretch careers moves?
- What are the types of organisations you want to work for?
- Make sure your CV/resume reflects your career vision
3. Invest in your skills
The world is changing around us and if we fail to keep our skills relevant, your career options will be limited.
It would be fabulous to think that all employers are there, willing and able to invest in your skill development. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Investing in your skills involves targeting the skills you will need for your next role.
Here are my 3 tips for investing in your skills:
- Research the skills you need for your next role. Use job boards and your LinkedIn account to review what skills employers are looking for
- Be clear about the skills you will need for the future
- Identify how to improve your skills (peer to peer learning, on the job training, online training, in–person training)
4. Research and Intelligence
Undertaking research and gathering intelligence about your next role is important to attracting the kind of career you want. Consider the following:
- Who is hiring for these types of roles?
- What skills and experiences are employers seeking?
- What are salary levels and working conditions?
- What are the types of projects/work is the organisation undertaking?
- What kind of culture do they have in the organisation?
Here are some tips for doing your research:
- Use your network to find people who are currently working or have worked in the organisation and ask them questions about their experience
- Research in LinkedIn
- Attend professional association meetings to gather intelligence
- Search in the web
- Refer to white papers and industry briefings
5. Have a plan
Have a plan in achieving your career goal. Without a plan, you might just waste time on activities that will not yield the results you want.
Here are some planning tips:
- Use the results of your research to identify the employers you are keen to work for
- Include the following in your plan:
- Potential leads
- People to contact
- Industry events to attend
- Coffee catch ups
- If possible, use SMART goals against the tasks within your plan
- Track your progress; know what is working and what is not
- Adopt an agile mindset. Get rid of things that are not working anymore.
- Be mindful of your progress
I follow this mantra when finding my next role.
I am willing to be okay with the uncertain nature of the search
I am willing to take time and be kind to myself as I investigate/pursue my next role
I am willing to make mistakes
I am willing to be uncomfortable
I am willing to take risks based on faith and put myself out there
I am willing to invest in myself
I am willing to believe in myself and my abilities ⠀
You can spin around endlessly overthinking what your next steps are. STOP, breathe and plan your next steps.
Often the first step is the hardest because you need to acknowledge that you want something different for your future and change can be scary.
What if you make the wrong choices?
What if you mess up?
Just do something – start your job search even though it might be messy.
Do it NOW!