Job-Seeking Step 1: Preparing For The Job Search

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Before you start

  • What you do today will affect the rest of your life
    • The average person goes through 12 to 15 jobs in their lifetime, so quitting a job and job-seeking is almost certain
    • Some mistakes can be recovered from, but some will haunt you forever
    • There are a lot of career decisions that sound right at the time, but will hurt you in the long run
      • Overachieving
        • Pretending to be what you are not, in hobbies or expertise
        • Making decisions solely on money
        • Overworking yourself and sacrificing your happiness
        • Putting your work life above your personal life
        • Micro-managing everything
        • Fearing mistakes and failure
      • Underachieving
        • Settling for mediocre
        • Making careless mistakes
        • Not giving your best
  • Make sure you’re not leaving for the wrong reasons
    • If you have a negative attitude, you need to fix it or you’ll eventually bring it into your new job
      • Dissatisfaction is not always negativity, but negativity will always lead to dissatisfaction
      • Your happiness is a choice, and you can be happy anywhere and at any time
    • You need to be moving into something better, not away from something you dislike
    • Your best chance of networking is from helping others succeed, not your own betterment
    • Ask yourself some questions to self-assess what you feel about your job
      • Lay out all the possible decisions you can make about your job and their pros and cons
      • Look at how you describe your work in a conversation with someone else
      • Examine the feelings that will come from what your decisions can be
  • Some very good reasons to find another job
    • The job ruins your personal life
      • You dread or are afraid of going to work
      • The weekends make the beginning of the work week unbearable
      • The work makes you cranky and irritable when you’re off the clock
    • You can’t identify with the organization
      • You don’t feel that you are adding value to the work and your ideas are not being heard
      • You don’t like spending time with your co-workers
      • The company does not fulfill your personal mission
      • You are the victim of verbal abuse, sexual harassment or other illegal behaviors
    • You don’t see your future with the company
      • The top management has made advancement impossible
      • You can’t see yourself at the company in a year, which is about the time it takes to transition to a better job
      • You don’t see an opportunity to grow or learn from your job
      • Your career goals have changed, and it’s not in line with the company anymore
    • The job is an obstruction to one of your major life goals
      • You’re prepared to start your own business
      • You are getting married and want to be a stay-at-home spouse
      • You want to move to a region that the company doesn’t cover

Before you start looking at work elsewhere

  • Capture and quantify all of the work you have done at your job
    • Download your contacts and customers lists from all company-owned devices
    • Ask for reference letters from key people in your company
      • If they don’t have much time, give them 3-5 items you’d like them to include
    • Update your LinkedIn profile and resume while you are still employed
    • Save copies of documents you’ve made that highlight your accomplishments
  • If you work under a non-competition agreement, find out exactly what is and is not restricted
    • Get outside advice from legal counsel if you need
  • Alert your references in advance about their receiving a call from another employer and ask for them to say good things
  • Keep in mind any colleagues you’d like to have with you if your new employer asks for references

If you have been fired or laid off

  • There are many things that are worth being fired over
    • Principles or values that you stand for
    • Abusive work environment
    • Unhealthy favoritism or family-style dysfunctional roles playing themselves out
  • On the other hand, there are many things that should inspire soul-searching if it causes you get fired
    • Extreme negativity
    • Making promises that you don’t deliver
    • Trying to “sell” something not related to the company inside the company
    • A lack of emotional intelligence
    • Misusing company resources or supplies
    • Speaking wrongly or presumptuously on behalf of the company
  • Don’t make any big life decisions for at least 3 months
    • You will be depressed and angry, which is where most dumb decisions come from
    • Learn to let go of the anger and find your inner happiness
  • As much as it hurts, accept that nobody cares about you being fired as much as you do
    • This world is harsh, and true empathy in this context is very rare
    • Learn to be happy and grateful in spite of the circumstances
  • Good work results from the job you were fired from may still have value
    • Nobody can fault you for what you could not have prevented
    • However, be careful trying to find another job doing the exact same thing if you were dismissed because of an improved automation technology
  • If you haven’t been fired at least once, you’re not trying enough in your career
    • In this fast-paced world, it is necessary to take some risks that can backfire in you losing your job
    • Getting fired gives a big wake-up call that you may have been needing about major problems in your life
  • Don’t give up, since it’s impossible to defeat someone who doesn’t give up
    • Getting terminated isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning

If you’re just starting out

  • Try to think about any relevant volunteer experience, extracurricular activities or hobbies that will make you more interesting to an employer
    • Clubs or organizations
    • Team sports
    • Church involvement
  • If you can’t think of anything, then go out and find something to volunteer in!
  • You’re not going to get a glamorous job
    • Expect to work in the fast food or hard labor industry if you don’t have connections
    • Even if you find a nice job, nobody will respect you until you’ve earned it
  • While you’re searching for a job, the number one rare resource you have is time
Next: Step 2: Setting Your Goals