I am a loser, a good for nothing jobless scum.
Not really, but that’s how I sometimes felt when I was looking for a job. Are you looking for work? Are you good at it? How long will it take for you to find a job?
I left a job I loved to join a small promising start-up. It turned out much less promising than I hoped, and a month later I was out, looking for a new job.
Some of my friends had been looking for work, too. I seemed headed for success, but my friends seemed like they didn't get it, they didn't know how to go about finding a new job. They spent way too much time browsing jobs web sites like Monster instead of being invited into companies through their professional network.
I landed my next job. I think I know a few things that work. I want to share what I know with you so you can get your next job, too.
There are three fundamentals to landing your next job. First, be prepared. In part one of this three part series, I’ll discuss what it takes to be ready to find a job before you need a job. Next, finding a job is your job. You have a job: finding your next job. You're just not getting paid for it. Finally, you're a wonderful person--don't change a thing! I’ll cover the latter two topics in parts two and three.
Already have a job
They say luck is a combination of preparation and opportunity. You can't control opportunity, but preparation is all yours. The most important part of being prepared to find a job is to already have a job, and to use it as the springboard toward your next job.
Looking for work is stressful, and running out of money more so. If you already have a job, you won't view every job opportunity as the pot of gold that can't live without, and you'll perform better at your interviews without the added financial pressure to win the job or lose your home.
Make sure you have adequate savings. If you got fired tomorrow, how long would it take you to find another paying job? A week, a month, three months? Do you have enough savings to cover your expenses for that long? If you already have a job, you can take your time and pick a company that has a business model with which you are comfortable, whether it is an investor funded venture with a fast burn rate or a more stable company with a sustainable business model. Already having a job puts you in the driver's seat.
Build your reputation
People in your industry should know who you are. Make yourself well known and credible in your field: write a blog, speak at conferences and industry events, and get published in magazines and conference proceedings. It is surprisingly easy to submit a presentation proposal, get it accepted, and speak at a conference. With just a little effort, you will stand out from the crowd of job seekers, and people will be eager to meet you and invite you in for interviews.
Build and reinforce your professional network before you need to use it. LinkedIn is a useful tool for managing your network, but the only thing that counts is face to face contact. As part of building your network, don't be an asshole. Be helpful--do selfless things for people that help them succeed.
Exercise: Stop reading for a few minutes. Write down three things that you can do to build your reputation.
The third part of preparation is not sucking. At your current job, kick ass! Be valuable. Help the company win. Be highly competent in your role, in your field, and in your industry. Read, read, and read some more. Take classes. Attend conferences and industry events. Don't ever stop learning.
Stay tuned for parts two and three of this three part series:
Part 1: Be prepared
Part 3: Don’t change