Before you go to market
There is a flurry of activity to dust off the CV, track down relevant recruiters and look up old contacts, which are all necessary, but the order of priority may be a bit skewed.
The two things you need to know intimately before going to market are:
- Know what you want
- Know what you offer
Know what you want
Before searching for a role, you have to know what you’re looking for. When people change roles they can take the opportunity to shift their requirements, so what impact does that have on location, salary, career prospects, etc? Have you researched the market? Can you identify all the criteria you are looking for?
When talking with any network contact, they will always ask you what you’re looking for. People can only help if you offer them a degree of clarity. If you go out with a ‘jack of all trades’ message, it’s extremely hard for people to narrow that down into something specific; that’s a job for you to do and it’s so important when approaching a recruitment business. They need to be able to code and label you. The more specific you can be, the more clarity they have, which makes it easier for them to help you. There are grey areas, but try and bring as much focus to your offering as possible.
The result of you determining this clarity is a statement that anyone can understand and immediately be able to comprehend what you’re looking for.
This clarity also allows you to be really focused when you reach the interview stage. If the role fits your job preference, then you’ll be able to demonstrate your passion for the subject and convey well thought-out reasons as to why you want that type of role, how your strengths fit the role, and how this move would enhance your career.
That’s far more persuasive than those who haven’t given it due thought!
Know what you offer
If preparation is the key to success, then self-awareness is the key to preparation. In my view, enhanced self-awareness makes the difference between a good and great candidate.
Before approaching the market you will need to be really clear about your skills, strengths, weaknesses, values, background and aspirations. These will be asked about and challenged along your job seeking journey, so being able to articulate them is essential.
Look at old appraisals, request feedback, look at your recommendations on LinkedIn or work with a career coach to recognise these factors. Get to know what makes you a great asset to any business, how culturally you may fit with an organisation and what makes you expert in your field. Work out what makes you different and more attractive to the employer; knowledge of this is a great confidence-booster.
Know your background – scrutinise your CV and ensure you’re comfortable talking someone through your career chronologically, highlighting the relevant strengths required in the role you have applied for. I’ve always been amazed by the number of candidates who don’t easily recall their career dates and details. Make it fluent and engaging.
When you can confidently articulate these two essential areas, you’re ready for the job market. Go too soon and you may have a false start, creating an incorrect first impression. Get it right and you have every chance of substantially shortening your job search. Good luck.