You’ve identified your passion and you are ready to find your perfect career fit. Yep, short sentence, but I bet it took you quite a bit of time to get there. So, hopefully you did your first happy dance after making that monumental decision (my dance wasn’t pretty or I would insert the YouTube link here). Now you are ready for the next step…the application and interview process. (That is supposed to be scary looking font just in case that wasn’t clear).
Interviewing can be a daunting, even grueling process. Searching for a career, especially if you already have a job, is almost like juggling a second job. It takes time, energy, patience, creativity, studying, a keen ability to not roll your eyes at inappropriate times (it sounds a lot like dating, actually, but I digress). Let’s take a look at a few key points to keep you on track as you search for the right opportunity.
Identify Your Starting Point. Are you looking for your first major job after finishing your education? Are you in a job that feels okay, but doesn’t inspire you to get up and rush to work every morning? Or are you in a job where you drag yourself out of bed, force yourself to go into the office and watch every second tick off the clock throughout the day? (Yes, I know, I just gave away my age speaking about clocks ticking. I bet some of you don’t even know what that sounds like).
For those of you who are just starting out you may be open to many, many opportunities. You may be in a position to try one type of job and then make a change if you don’t love it. And, honestly, you are still finding you, so you aren’t as likely to lose your identity or give away anything crucial to who you are, because you’re still learning who that is. That’s the advantage to being at the beginning of your career path.
For those of you with a little more life and career experience, what follows is more important and you may want to remind yourself of these little tidbits of information.
Know Your Path. Are you running from something or are you running to something? There is a huge difference. When you are running from something you are a little more desperate, a little more likely to say yes to a so-so offer just to get away from whatever it is that is making you run. It is tempting. In this case it sometimes feels like- the devil you don’t know is actually better than the devil you do know. Trust me, just stay away from all devils, period. Don’t say yes to a new job until you know you are running to it…and not running away from the current one. You are not desperate (I know, sometimes it sucks to make good choices).
Be Comfortable with the Destination. Before you even submit an application or resume to a company, do your research. Go onto their website and read their corporate overview or company mission statement. Is it in line with your values and passions? Find out what the company culture is like by checking out social media. Carefully review the job responsibilities and ask yourself if you'd enjoy them. Take advantage of your social media connections and find out what people that already work there think about the company. If you like what you learn then take the next step. I don’t agree with the philosophy of blanketing companies with resumes and applications and seeing what sticks. This is about you and what you are creating and who you want to be. Invest your time wisely.
Don’t Forget “You” at the Interview. There are two parties involved in the interview process- the company and you. The company is looking for a qualified candidate, with a stellar skill set, and just the right blend of personality and communication skills to blend with their culture. You are also looking for just the right fit. We all want to show our best selves during the interview process, and rightly so, but remember show the real you during the interview process, not the person that you think the company wants to see. (Warning: this is not a license to use four letter words or dress like it’s Friday night). This is about being genuine. Make sure you know what you need and be prepared to communicate it appropriately. Absolutely understand what they need and what they expect and whether you can support that, but assess how and if you fit. What you need is equally important if you are going to partner for long term success.
The best employers are not only seeking qualified candidates that can bring energy and robust skills to their organization, they are thinking about how to retain the talent that they bring onboard. These employers will be asking about your needs in addition to trying to meet the needs of their company. Are they showing you this interest? Are they asking you about what is important to you? About what kind of environment most inspires you? About how they can meet some of your most critical needs? If they are not asking you these questions, are you ok with that?
When to Say Yes! Are you running to something and not away from something? Does the thought of getting up and going to this new job inspire a smile? Are you excited about what you’ve read on the company website and excited about what others are saying about the company culture? Did the company show an interest in “you” during the interview process? Do you feel like randomly high fiving everyone within 100 yard dash distance? All good signs. Congratulations to YOU!