There are many reasons to be on the job market -- whether to seek a promotion, make more money, or improve work/life balance, it's only natural to move and grow into a new role or function. But as you embark on the journey to find that next great opportunity, it is important to first be sure that you really understand yourself -- your goals, your wants, and your needs -- so that you stay on the right path.
The real beauty of this is that no one can provide this understanding for you but you. Your future, with all of its potential excitements and challenges, has yet to take place. All you have to do is take that first step.
If you are finding yourself in a position where you don't know where to begin, here are a few questions to consider asking yourself before diving into the job search.
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? For many, the fear of failure can be debilitating. It can often lead to not seeking greater professional challenges, or taking on new responsibilities. So instead, ask yourself: what if you were guaranteed not to fail? Within the context of your skills and abilities, what would you do? The answer to this question may help narrow your focus and zero in on the skills you might need to learn or improve before finding that next job.
- What if money wasn’t an issue? Now, this question isn’t really about money -- while money is important, we all know that money doesn’t equal happiness. This question is really about what you enjoy when it comes to work. Is it cutting-edge technology, or the ability to lead complex technical projects? Or is it something else? Answering this question will help define the function of a role as it correlates to your aspirations and goals, and can further assist identifying the right job for you.
- What are your values? What's important to you in how you go about your business? Fairness, honesty, integrity, and hard work are all usually at the top of most people’s lists. But what else? Some companies are very structured with strict management protocols, while others are looser and fly by the seat of their pants. Some companies hold strong to the moral codes of business, while others tip-toe (or worse) into the grey areas. Understanding your professional values can help prioritize what matters to you in a potential employer.
- What's your 60-second elevator speech? You've probably been asked this before, but let's go with it: You're in an elevator with the CEO of a company you have always dreamed of working for and you have one minute alone with them until they get off at their floor. What would you say? You can talk about your accomplishments, the companies you have worked for, and list off the rest of your resume - but almost guaranteed, the CEO won’t be impressed. While we can't tell you how to craft your own speech, using the above three questions to define your goals, aspirations, and values as they relate to benefiting a new employer will provide a firm foundation on which to build your own elevator speech.
Finding your true answers to these questions will most likely not be easy, and probably won’t come to you the first time you sit and think about them - but give it time. It's a process, and if you give it attention it requires, you'll have put yourself in a great position to land your next job.
by Russell Wolf
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