by Cindy Key
Without focus, you waste time and energy. As you assess the vast experience, knowledge, abilities and skills you have gained during your professional career you might be tempted to say, “WOW, there is nothing I could not do!” This may be true, but without focus it will be more difficult to appeal to employers. Your search will be fraught with wasted time, energy and money. And you prolong your job search.
Just doing stuff, like searching job boards, hoping for a job that sounds good, or targeting openings that list a salary near the figure you want to earn can be a big waste of time. If you have been job searching for at least four weeks, and still don’t know “what you want to be when you grow up” or what you want do in your next job it is time to create focus.
If you are frustrated, in need of direction, it is be time to create a point of concentration. Focus will help you become aware of the solid employment opportunities that are all around you, ready and waiting for you to explore.
If you are ready to end the frustration and speed up your job search, here are four steps to follow to create focus.
1. Title four columns or four pages “Recent Job Focus”, “Ideal Job”, “Ideal Employer”, and “Ideal Boss”. Reflect on each of these areas. Think about what you have done recently and what you want in your next position.
2. Under each title record what is important to you and what you want. Describe in detail what you want in each area. For example, under “Recent Job Focus” note what you enjoy doing, do well, and would like to do in the future. Then under “Ideal Job” write down a detailed description of your ideal job. Continue for the remaining two items.
3. Review each of the four areas, circle the critical items, then write these on a blank page titled “My Ideal Job Includes …”. You have created a list to help you focus and assess the fit of posted jobs.
4. Now, before you spend hours reading the job posting, researching the company and the hiring manager, drafting a targeted cover letter, targeting your resume and maybe completing an online application, STOP.
5. Review your “My Ideal Job Includes…” list and compare your list to the job posting. If the job does not fit your “must include list”, write down the name of the company on your “Research Company Later” list, and move on. Don’t spend your valuable time on this posting.
Pat yourself on the back. You have gained focus and saved time. You have a description of your ideal job, a tool to help you measure each opportunity before you, a method to keep track of possible companies to research in the future should you need to do so, and time to focus your efforts on researching companies that meet your ideal employer description.
Hundreds of people tell me this one tip saves hours in just the first week it was used. Further, it reduces the frustration of going through a phone screen or an interview, only to discover the job would not be of interest at any salary.
The bottom line is you save time, create focus, improve your attitude and have time to explore the right jobs for you, at the right companies, and ultimately land the job you want, quickly and with less stress.