Confused about finding a job that excites you and which organizations you are best suited for? Read on to discover the hidden places to look and learn the right questions to ask yourself.
Today’s successful job seekers start with an open and curious approach. The older ways of sending a resume to a company, hoping for an interview (and expecting a secure future with one employer) may not be forthcoming. Most people now want more than just a position in an organization, they want to find a job they are passionate about, that gives them a sense of fulfillment.
The opportunity here is to differentiate yourself from other job seekers by knowing your special strengths, talents and skills – and marketing yourself from that platform. There are certain industries, products, type of customers or colleagues you already feel an affiliation with. Your individual experience and interests are likely to be served well in a variety of positions and working arrangements.
1. Look inwards
Look inwards and discover what type of company, industry, environment, and job responsibilities you are best suited for. Just like dating, assume there is “the right one” for you somewhere. As a mental wellbeing exercise, try and suspend your disbelief for a month. This will give your creative mind permission to come up with new ideas and solutions that your realistic and practical mind wouldn’t allow you to consider.
2. Short courses
If you think you have insufficient education, update your credentials with an online certification. Employers are looking for practical skills more than academic degrees and many of these short courses are highly regarded and easy to obtain. Career coach Diane Huth in her excellent book Reinvent Your Career suggests that even crane operators, attending a two-week practical course, can find a job paying $26/hour.
You may consider updating your credentials or adding extra skills with an online certification course. Udemy.com offers economical online courses in a variety of specialist skill subjects.
3. Be a freelance professional
Expect that your job-hunting journey will be unconventional. Many jobs are now found through networking or developing visibility in the marketplace. Showing yourself to have special attributes, knowledge, skills, or wisdom in a particular area makes you valuable.
Speaking at trade events or writing articles on LinkedIn will raise your personal brand and profile so that you become known in the marketplace. Don’t be a wallflower! Put yourself out there. If you wish to offer yourself as a consultant or freelancer in the USA, use the LinkedIn Profinder. Aimed at ‘white-collar freelance professionals’ you can list your services for free so that potential companies contact you.
List your services on LinkedIn Profinder for companies to contact you.
4. Network at professional events
The next time you attend a professional conference, plan to speak to the moderator about your career interests. Event moderators are not as mobbed (as the various presenters) so it is likely they will pay attention to what you are saying. Since they are the focal point of the event, they are super-connected and could be best suited to point you to those that could use your skill set.
Attend as many events as possible. Are you a sales engineer? That is no reason not to attend a yoga retreat or socialize at a fundraising event. Your instincts will be on high alert to industry sectors that appear to have jobs in your area of training. Have you ever thought that the CEO of an engineering company would be at a fundraiser? Or their wife would be in your yoga class? Keeping your network fresh means interacting with everyone in your path with the hope that those they know or where they are in life could be of benefit to you. If you are keen to find a job you are passionate about, then you will look for ways to bring opportunities to yourself through networking.
5. Focus on companies
Ditch the openings – focus on companies. Pick out a handful of companies or organizations where you see yourself working. Skip the HR if you can. The HR receives tons of applications at any given time so sending yours to them does not help your chances. Why not aid your chances by approaching the HR from inside instead? This way: identify the vacancy position you would like to fill within an organization, befriend someone from the respective department, and then introduce your interest to them. If you already have their contact (which you can get via LinkedIn, business cards or physical connections), let your interest be known to them. They will most likely send you to HR but in this case, your bargaining power will have improved.
Jobs with the Federal Government are worth investigating. Thousands of jobs are listed nationwide. Veterans are given priority.
Federal jobs are also found on https://www.usajobs.govt/. You will need to open a free account and submit your resume. There is a system to follow to ensure your resume is done properly and there are online information and Youtube videos that explain how to do this.
See Understanding the Federal Resume Format
If you are a veteran, include this and there is another separate website for veterans here: https://www.fedshirevets.gov/
6. Offline Listings
Explore offline listings. You probably think that these no longer exist but that is because you have been paying attention only to online vacancy listings. If you live in a small town with a local newspaper, look through the jobs sections. What are you looking for? You should keep your eyes open to small companies that advertise their job vacancies there. This is also a great place to find entry-level jobs by startups. You may find a job you are passionate about at a different type of organization that you originally envisaged.
Also see Remote Work Opportunities
7. Build a portfolio
Work on building a portfolio. The best way to show you are capable of a certain task is to be seen to be doing it.
Proving your worth means showcasing your value to your world and prospective employers. Powerpoint is a common application used for presentations which can then be saved as a pdf and emailed to interested contacts.
Using the skills you possess, why not identify a problem you can tackle and use this as the theme of your portfolio. See yourself as a brand with a product you are selling, which is your expertise and what you offer. You now have something to show others based on the current problems you can solve, and the outcomes you can achieve. If you have a special competency, it most likely brings you a high degree of satisfaction. This is how you find a job you are passionate about.
8. Expand your range
Many professionals and hobbyists embark on building a colony around other like-minded individuals. Joining or setting up a Facebook or LinkedIn group gives you a voice and encourages online discussion. If you can be a researcher, problem-solver, trainer or in any other way positively add new insight or information to the discussion, then it raises your visibility as a professional. When you are finding a job you are passionate about, you need to be bold and raise your head so you are seen. Life is too short to wait on the sidelines for opportunities to find you.
Many companies and organizations have LinkedIn videos as an open showcase for new products, technologies, and company announcements. Commenting on these LinkedIn videos in a respectful and constructive way could highlight the value you could give to those organizations if they needed your services.
Companies like to hire people that give added value i.e. can contribute more than what they envisaged the person doing in that position.
If you have some “extra strings to your bow” by being an active engager in online communications, it can be very helpful to your public image in the job marketplace.
9. Mentor Others
Mentor others. You can never go wrong with sharing your knowledge with those that really need it. The more you share what you know, the better your chances of being noticed. If you have already identified the job you are passionate about, call upon others that want to gain some knowledge in it and start mentoring them to be the best in the industry. You will be increasing your chances of getting noticed and one of these people may be looking to fill a vacancy.
Offer to volunteer. By signing up as a volunteer in an organization where your dream job is, you not only keep tabs on vacancies that interest you but are also building a portfolio for works and projects you are involved in.
Volunteering can be a useful way to get experience without being formally employed.
11. Act the part
Would you fit into the environment you want? Do you have the right mindset and appearance? You do not need to feel bad about your actual age, but you can avoid needless ageism assumptions by behaving in a youthful manner with energy and enthusiasm. Check your appearance with clothing, haircut, glasses, etc, and ensure you look vibrant and interested in the company and what you can offer.
12. Start a business
Start your own business. Many of today’s great companies were started by an individual who believed they could provide a product or a service better, faster or cheaper – and that customers were missing out until they brought their offering to market.
They did not necessarily see themselves as business people, but they certainly felt passionate about what they were doing and how they could get and keep customers.
If you feel certain that your business idea has a place in the world, start the conversation. Talk the idea through with people who can help you. Get the cards stacked on your side by identifying what the critical success factors would be and how you would meet them. Many business owners realized that the way to finally get a job they were passionate about was to be of service to others doing what they loved best.
Do you know what job you are passionate about? Consider how your job meets your inner needs: does it touch your soul with a sense of satisfaction or contribution? Does it use your talents, is it aligned with your values, or does it drive your desire for success with its challenges and excitement?
Give yourself the gift of discovering what your passionate job is and start planning to find it today.