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6 Steps to Start Your Job Search October 21, 2020

Before you start your job search, it’s time to get your head in the game about who you really are and why you are looking for each particular job.

Having a plan and understanding not only what you’re capable of doing for work, but why you want to do it – will help you continue to grow and progress in your career. Clarity about your career vision helps you at every point in your career whether you’re hunting for your first job or a new job because you’ve found yourself out of work either by choice or circumstances out of your control.

Here are 6 steps to get you started thinking about you and your why:

1. Clear your mind of preconceived notions about what you “do” for a living and focus on who you want to BE at work.  This is the essence of your personal brand. If you think you don’t need a brand you’re wrong. Your brand isn’t about you selling stuff on social media sites, but it is about showing the world (especially recruiters and hiring managers) WHY you are special.

2. Define your long and short-term vision for your career path. This can be a loose outline of where you are now and where you would like to be when you retire. Since anyone who has lived through 2020 this far is well aware that the world can throw curveballs to the best-laid plans, this is more of a guide to not only what you want to do at work, but how you want to feel as you are working.

3. Own the things that make you ‘different.’ Perhaps you’re an engineer who also plays cello with the local under-30 orchestra. You can use your experience in that realm to talk about your ability to meet team goals, play with both your creative and mathematical sides, and manage your time. And dig a little deeper. Why do enjoy both activities so much? What do YOU think they say about you as a person?  Getting into why you do what you do and what drives you helps you connect dots that may not be apparent on the surface about your motivations and that can definitely set you apart when it comes to getting hired.

4. Pay attention to what drives you at work. Are you passionate about people being happy at work? Why? For me, it’s because I KNOW from all my experiences that happy at work translates to happy at home and that translates to a deeper sense of connection to community which leads to a desire to make your world a bit better. What are your underlying motivators?

5. Clarify your worth. We talk about money often (The Dreaded Money Question) because money is the reason we all go to work. However, it is your job to ensure you understand how your experience and education contribute to your worth in the workplace. Do research the current salaries and benefits for someone in your role in your area. Then look at the current salaries for those in the next logical career steps. Make sure you understand what the market pays for your expertise and ask for that. It gives you the confidence to know your value and when you’re confident and well-informed you are an outstanding candidate for the right role.

6. Take the call! If a recruiter calls when you’re not in job hunting mode – congratulations! Take a ten-minute call and use the time to understand what the market is looking like right now in your field. Ask questions of the recruiter to determine what they see in you and ask yourself if that’s in alignment with how you see yourself. If you need to, tweak your online profiles to align with your ultimate goal. Be upfront with the recruiter during your chat. If you’re not looking, do let them know what you might be interested in doing in the future. I promise it won’t be wasted time. (Why a Networking Conversation is Worth Your Time)

If you love your current job and company, it’s an excellent time to start going through this process so that you’re prepared when an offer comes your way.

Written by: PEGGIE ARVIDSON, Executive Recruiter

Peggie Arvidson started recruiting in junior high school when she convinced her classmates to join her in creating a ski club. Since then, she’s held many positions from sales to recruiting to non-profit leadership and quality assurance.  Her focus in her life and career is helping people to find their right work for the right pay because she believes that when people are happy at work, they are secure in life, and happy people change the world for the better.

Peggie has moved more than 30 times across 5 states and three time zones, and is not a military brat. She can usually be found walking around Williamsburg, tasting new foods, and searching out hidden beauty whenever she’s not at work.


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