There are countless job boards and employer sites, job fairs, and networking opportunities. They say that job hunting is a full-time job, but it can become much more than that.
Without appropriate focus, your efforts will scattered and you’ll likely expend time and energy on opportunities that aren’t right for you. The more defined your job search goals, the easier it will be to apply your time to pursuing positions that will meet them.
Here’s the format for a job search mission statement:
1. Type of company — Include company size, industry, public or private, profit or not-for-profit, and anything else that is important to you.
2. Position responsibility — Do you want to manage? Are you a specialist or a generalist at heart? Are there portions of your current position you absolutely do not want to see next time around? Is there an area where you’d like to see greater focus?
3. Growth opportunity — All this goal setting won’t get you far if there isn’t a step beyond the next one. Figure out where you’d like to be in five years (consider it interview prep) and include in your mission statement that there’s a path to that role.
4. Company culture — Fill in things like company philosophy, training investment, flexible scheduling, performance compensation, level of bureaucracy, team atmosphere, recognition… all those “intangibles” that affect how you feel about your organization.
5. Manager — People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. Make sure yours isn’t one that’s gonna have you packing it in a year down the line.
6. Geography — For local jobs consider two zones: the distance you’d like to commute and the distance you’re willing to consider. If you’re willing to relocate, figure out where and under what conditions.
7. Salary and benefits — Here’s another two-part answer: the salary you’re targeting and the salary you’ll consider. If you’re currently employed, make an inventory of your current benefits and their cost to you and try to quantify them. It’s not uncommon to think you’ll be earning more, but find after changes in insurance premiums and other benefits that you actually took a paycut.
Once you’ve got this in order, you can quickly evaluate job opportunities and determine whether or not to pursue them. And when you do get that job offer, you’ll already have a checklist that will let you know if this is your ideal next step, or if it is better passed by.