A Strategic Approach to Finding Your Next Job

At one point or another most people wear the “job seeker” hat. Be it due to the desire or need to relocate, seeking financial or career growth, as a result of retrenchment, or any other reason. People get armed with their résumé’s, do a little research, and psych themselves up for what I consider to be an emotionally taxing process while they repeat same process without considering strategic approaches that may positively alter the job search process.

I have always been fascinated with the recruitment process, from both the employer and candidate sides. I have sat-in in more interviews than I can remember both as the hiring manager or as part of an interview panel. The dance between a potential candidate and an employer is a very delicate one.

The job market is extremely tough these days, avoiding some of the following mistakes will make the process a little easier for candidates.

Starting the process mentally unprepared

Make no mistake, putting yourself out there to convince people you are worth it and facing possible rejection takes its toll mentally. Be prepared for everything that comes with the process, know upfront how you plan to address or deal with different scenarios. From the search itself to interviews, to negotiating your package, to resigning from your current position where applicable, all the way to starting afresh in a new position/company. Be aware and remain present.

Unrefined job search

Before updating your CV and LinkedIn profile, take a moment to think about what is it that you are looking for. Make note of everything that will influence your decision, everything that matters to you. For me, that list will include flexibility, organisational culture, proximity to home, ability to work off-site on occasion and ultimately the role itself as I am at a point in my career where I long only for roles that will stretch and challenge me. This list will look different for each individual, but is so important and will help you apply only for roles that are right for you and prevent you from “falling” into just any job.

Casting your net too wide

Try to resist the edge to apply for just any and job in your field that gets posted. Streamline your search by mostly applying for jobs that you have adequate experience and qualifications for. This will increase your chances of securing interviews significantly.

Applying for jobs you are not qualified for may leave you despondent. If you are seeking to apply-up, just check that you can satisfy the role requirements, and this will mean doing what I call a “required skills vs acquired skills analysis”. In most roles qualifications and experience are interchangeable so it is not necessary to be put off by a required degree (unless you are seeking employment in a specialised field such as medicine, law, engineering…).

One Size does not fit all – Diversify

The method that helped your colleague get a job in record time may not work the same for you. Just posting your CV on job portals and waiting for someone to reach out to you is not an effective way of seeking new opportunities. It is great to reach out to recruiters however you need to maintain control of the process. Different ways to explore includes:

  • Direct networking (LinkedIn is a great platform for this)
  • Finding a reputable recruitment firm that specialises in your field.
  • Researching companies that are hiring and applying directly through the careers page of their website.
  • Most companies encourage their staff to bring in Talent so let your friends and family know you are in the market and send them your CV.
  • Good old job portals. Make good use of those filters and narrow your search to the exact roles you are interested in.

Poor branding

Think about it, two candidates with the same experience and qualifications, which one makes a better impression? The one that brands themselves really well of cause and yes, an immaculate CV forms part of branding but it does not end there. Your social media pages should represent you well, if you don’t have time to go far back to clean it, keep the accounts private. Decorum is a critical part of your personal brand, pay attention to it! Your brand is essentially the impression you leave people with.

Not knowing your value proposition

Simply being qualified for a job is no longer enough as rarely will you be the only qualified candidate that applies for a position. You need to be clear about what else you bring to the table that makes you unique. By the time you apply for a position you probably have an idea about what you will be getting out of the relationship now let the employer know what they will benefit from having you as part of the team.

Finally, it may take time don’t be disheartened hang in there, nothing worth having comes easy.

Your Career is your business, it is time you manage it as a CEO – Dorit Sher

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