Once you’ve decided you’re searching – or maybe it was decided for you – I don’t think the best place to start is to apply for jobs. It may feel like the right thing to do, to get on the horse if you’ve fallen off, but this is not a leisurely ride on a nature path. This is a path where you spend most of your waking hours. This is a path where the core of you – your craft– is expressed, and if it’s not, you begin to feel uneasy or restless. This is a path where you are rewarded for getting as close as you can to finding work that is fun and easy because it matches your best skills.
If you want to apply for a job online for research, there’s no harm in that. Maybe you want to practice aligning your resume and a cover letter to the job requirements. Maybe you want to see how the company responds to applicants who don’t make it through to interviews. Or maybe you want to see if they’ll respond if you are an exact match to every qualification listed.
If you’re employed, see below for your first step. If you find your self suddenly unemployed, there are several first steps to take to ensure your basic needs are met while you search:
What’s going right in your career? What do you always wish you could do? What could be better? How did you turn ordeals around in your favor? Clarity at the beginning will flow through each step and make them much easier. Strengthening a vision for yourself will carry you through each rejection and dead-end.
Review your accomplishments, your skills, your strengths, and your desires. Make some lists of what you’re good at. Read job trends and research job titles and descriptions at Indeed or LinkedIn to help clarify where you want to go next.
Here are some more ideas:
In great craftsmanship, the practice is “measure twice and cut once.” In great career searches, the practice is similar. Be clear, double clear, on your unique perspective before beginning your search campaign. You’ll create leverage and be able to “cut” through the distractions of general job search with specific contacts, organizations, job leads, and next steps befitting of your craft.
Dori "Story" Gilbert is Chief Storycologist; passionate about professionals, their journey, and their ability to direct a career story they love.