Friday, September 30, 2011

Competency #6: I have a well-defined career objective that focuses my job search on particular organizations and employers

Being able to focus your job search on specific organizations requires that you've already done the work of what I like to call "field research" - including Internet searches, informational interviewing, and networking for information.  It also assumes and requires that you know what kind of work you want.  This skill set comes only after you've identified and made sense of all the many self-assessments you've taken and you've got a pretty good handle on what drives you, what you most value in the workplace, what motivated skills you've got in your arsenal, and your personal brand.  By the way, have you developed your personal brand statement?  If not, now is the time to do so!

Assuming that you're ready to focus, you'll need to get a piece of paper and a writing tool.  Write down all the organizations you can think of where you know an employee, or someone you know knows someone "on the inside". This can include where family members, friends, neighbors, or casual acquaintances work.  Utilize your Facebook contacts, and your LinkedIn connections. While we've all heard of the "7 degrees of separation between Kevin Bacon and I", the reality is that it's now only about 1 or 2 degrees of separation.  So start the list now - try to come up with at least 30 companies.  There is nothing wrong with grabbing a few close friends and doing this together!

Then, prioritize your top 5-10 companies based on your values, interests and skills.  Once you've prioritized, start contacting people, using your network if possible, inside those companies.  Tailor your career objective to what you can offer these companies - the most compelling pieces of your career brand - AND what you know they're looking for.  Remember that your career objective must be specific to the company needs, and that your focus must be perfectly matched to what they need.