Job Hunting with Heart: Finding the Right Fit

Rowan Manahan has started a new writing project called the Definitive Guide to Clearing Job-Hunt Hurdles and I am happy to be a part of it.

I have been involved in the job hunt process as a person hunting for a job and as a person hunting for qualified applicants. As a job hunter, I have taken the process from beginning to end, from making the oh so important and often tough decision to seek a new position, through resume building, identifying opportunities, applying, interviewing, accepting offers and living with my decisions. As a candidate hunter, I  managed the process from beginning to end, from identifying necessary qualifications for the job to be filled, reviewing resumes, qualifying, screening, interviewing, determing fit, selecting candidates and living with my decisions.

Sometimes my decisions stood the test of time, and other times they did not. How do you, as a job hunter, ensure (the best that you can in such an unsure world) that your decisions during the job hunt will stand the test of time? Time is relative here as the test of time could be 2-3 years for an employee right out of school, looking to gain as many different experiences as possible or time could be 10 years for an employee looking for stability as they grow their family for plan for early retirement.

You are competent in your occupation, you have skills and experiences to offer and there are jobs for the taking. It is an employee's market. Where do you begin? At the beginning, of course, with you. What is most important to you? What are your non-negotiables?

  • Is it hours of work, scheduling flexibility or guaranteed hours? Is is cutting edge technology and innovation or the tried and true? Collaborative work teams or set reporting structures? 
  • Is the ideal organization profit or non-profit? Public or private? Large or small? Do you prefer manufacturing over retail? Local or global? What business cycle do you prefer: start-up, growth, stability, or decline?
  • What type of people do you prefer to work with?  What do you do exceptionally well? What skills do you want to develop? Is it more important to refine your skills or develop new?
  • Do you want to do the same in a different setting, do what you do from a different perspective or change what you do completely?
  • Is the salary and benefits package competitive? Does the package include what you need? How about what you want? Is salary the determining factor?
  • How far do you want to travel to work? Are you willing to relocate?
  • What is the company's mission? Do you believe in it? Do you need to?

The employee-employer relationship is just that, a relationship, and each party brings something to the table. So, they have what you want, but do you have what they want? You do? Well, tell them! Tell them and show them why you are the very best fit for the job. Why you and not others? Now is the time to differentiate yourself from all others.

What happens when it all comes together? You see both a personal and professioanl fit, blow them away in the interview and you live (work) happily ever after. Or at least until it is time to hunt with heart again.