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3 Small Steps to Take on Week One of Your Job Search

You are in the position of having to find a new job. Your sleeves are rolled up, you feel determined and motivated and are ready to conquer this beast.

Enter….the job search boards.

Enter…the scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

Enter…the searching, searching, searching.

Hold up.

Yes, you will get to all of this. There will be searching and scrolling and job boards but let’s put first things first. Before you jump into the job search deep end, you need to make sure you can swim. If you can’t explain to someone what job it is you want, why you want it, and why you can do it, put your floaties on and get to work. Here’s the test. Can you answer these 3 questions?

1. Are you clear on what you want?

You won’t do any aspect of your job search process justice until you are clear on what it is you want. Your research, resume, cover letter, interviews, social media, and offer negotiations all depend on this. One of the upsides to having to look for work is you get to start fresh. This is an opportunity for you to craft how you will spend a good chunk of your life—both in and outside of your work. Your level of autonomy and impact, the type of company, service, or product you want to get behind, the skills you will use, day-to-day tasks and interactions, compensation, hours, commute, relationships, time-off, professional development, health etc. are all key considerations here. Get intentional about what you will and will not accept. I’m not saying you can always have it all, but why not try? You can decide what you will and will not bend on after you get clear yourself.

2. Why do you want this?

Part of getting intentional about anything related to career or life is knowing why you want what you want. Being clear on your “why” is incredibly helpful when it comes to making any decision. Examining our reasons for things might just uncover examples of things we actually think we want but don’t really. We might come to realize we have some quite arbitrary ideas of what we think we want or need. Why do you want to make $100,000? Why do you want to work for a large company? Why do you want to sell Real Estate, or teach children, or manage a large team? Remember, this is an opportunity to assess what you want and why so you land somewhere on your own terms. Whether you choose to view this as a burden or as a gift is up to you.

3. Why is this right for you?

Once you uncover your why, or your reason for wanting anything, ask yourself this: Do you like your reason? Why is what you want actually a good fit? Think about how what it is you want fits with things like your short and long term goals, your lifestyle, your skills and qualifications, your working style, and your values, interests, and personality. I know. It seems like a lot to consider but isn’t it important? Think of how much time you spend researching major purchases like a car, where and when you will vacation, where you will live etc. All of these things are possible because of your work. Why be haphazard about work considering how closely it is tied to everything else in your life?

So, hold off on firing resumes into the great Internet abyss until you have honoured yourself by getting clear on a few things first. Taking time to get to know what you want, why you want it, and why it’s right, will be time well spent. It might take longer than one week, that’s okay. Actually, the longer you are able to reflect and consider these questions the better. Your future self will be happy you did.

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