A Reader Writes:
I am looking for a new position and have a few questions. My main problem is how to organize my job search. I want to be strategic. I always hear its easier to find a job when you have one. Right now I work in an HIV clinic. I graduated two years ago and want to do something more corporate now. I know I have the skills I just need to market myself. Anyway, I don’t know if I should just be blindly applying to jobs or focus on networking as my main avenue. I think my Linkedin is pretty strong as I have been working on it. I am trying to make a list of about 10 companies that I really want to work for and learn everything about them but I don’t know if that is a good use of time. When I got my first job I was just looking everywhere because I needed a job. Now I feel I need to think smarter because I want a pay increase (15k more) and more responsibilities. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Oh to be young and not too foolish. Anyway…
Blindly applying for jobs is never the move. That translates into wasted effort and disappointment. You’re definitely right about being strategic and networking. Looking at companies is helpful, but you should start with figuring out what type of work you want to do next. Once you do that, you can start looking for job titles via a site like indeed to see what companies are hiring now. Check out the job descriptions and start tailoring your résumé and LinkedIn profile according to the common skills between them. Of course, if you’re updating the skills and responsibilities according to job descriptions, they should be things you’ve already done. Not fibs. But you know that. While doing this, you can also review the companies you’d like to work for and see if they have the type of role you want. You can also look at profiles of people that work there and see their career history. You may even find additional companies of interest this way.
My guess is that you’d gain more traction going for some of the larger nonprofits that can pay more, but I understand if you don’t wanna go that route.
Do know that if you’re making a transition and doing something relatively new, there’s a good chance you won’t see as significant a pay increase as you’d like. You can find something that pays that much more, but that doesn’t usually happen unless you’re a certified rockstar and they can justify paying you what you want. I was able to see a 25% increase during one transition. That wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have the right experience under my belt and the industry certification to match. If I were relatively new to the field, I certainly wouldn’t have been doing the money dance. I may not have even gotten the job!
You also should consider that money isn’t everything. There are other perks and benefits that might make you more flexible about that desired number: mobility upward and laterally, flexible hours, free lunches, huge portion of healthcare covered by employer, education reimbursement, etc.
And you know how I feel about networking. It’s the most important thing you can do, and you should be doing it consistently and not just because you’re looking for a new job. You never know who you will meet and who they can connect you to regardless of the type of work they’re doing now. Networking is also a long term strategy. It may be months or more before you reap the benefits of building your contacts. So don’t get frustrated if you go to a few events or make a few calls and nothing happens. That’s normal. Your objective should be to periodically follow up with contacts so they don’t forget about you, and to try to help them where possible. So basically, be prepared to do a lot with expectation of little to nothing in return. At least to start.
This should be enough to get you started. Happy hunting!