At a time when it is blindingly obvious that by far not every postgraduate will proceed with a career in their work field, we dramatically need to adapt how we talk about a lifetime job, which Wikipedia defines as ‘A job for one’s whole career’.
Most job seekers are no longer clinging to their future jobs the way one of my friends, who worked for Hewlett-Packard, did for fifteen years after which he got fired. According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs held by the average worker before age forty is ten and this number is bound to increase to twelve to fifteen jobs in the near future. So there we have it; in the age of digital nomads, work-life balance and remote working we are rightfully so no longer the loyal work slaves our parents once were.
The sheer majority of us may be looking for instant gratification. Aleana, a Market Researcher from Israel, working at Ginhub in Paris, is preparing her presentation for a Marketing Management position at the company’s office in London. When we ask her about her motivation to hop The Channel she says defiantly: “I’d like to work at a place where there is a harmonious corporate culture and where they keep an eye on all colleagues, without any prejudice.”
Some employers or recruiters might think we have become present-hedonist little beasts, dropping out of every job as soon as it does not satisfy our needs. The truth of the matter is that many of us, just like Aleana, are rather grateful to get an offer whereas those who are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime job – not just any job, are ready to negotiate, ask for more, or turn down any offer that does not match with their criteria. To them, the ultimate job is the stepping stone to a career-oriented position. But what defines this dream job? A bigger salary, an ultimate work-life balance or more responsibility?
Instead of thinking this will cut out too many options and leave you without anything, consider that being focused on an idea will help you sort out the possibilities out there. When you think big, you work yourself up to your full potential. Even when you fail to come up with a solution, you can rule out one possibility and more importantly, you are building boldness. For at times, the problem with most people is that they lack the confidence to step up, take the bull by the horn, and achieve the greatness they so desire. There are those who prefer to stick to the comfort and security of their jobs.
An unknown developer on Quora writes, “we would not quit our jobs any longer, if the salaries were six figures, the workweek less than 32 hours, the benefits striking, and the boss nowhere around …” Once a high-flyer knows what they are looking for, they are willing to change things up and try something different to achieve results. They do not consider the application rules, nor do they focus on the interview neither do they humbly accept what is offered to them.
Looking at job boards and seeing who is hiring is passé, you need to go out and do your homework on the companies in your area that have similar qualities to the ones you admire online. It is critical to understand your unique strengths, as well as the work environment you are looking for. Then it finally drills down to a little planning and a great deal of focus. After developing a networking strategy to connect with the right employers for you, one should build on their reputation and gain trust while believing to be in control of the situation.
Dmitry, a young, full-stack software developer from Kiev, longs for, as he mentions it: “Finding a sense of freedom together with challenging development opportunities”. After a 3-day interview procedure in which he flipped all the switches, Dmitry has without japing declined a decent job offer from Yandex, the number-one Russian search engine. When we ask him about his next move, he explains to us without blinking and notwithstanding the fact that in many industries working for the competitor forms a stepping stone, that he has the ambition to work at Google, where he thinks to find all that he desires. For sure, Dmitry is not alone; around two million people apply for a job at Google each year while the company only hires a tiny fraction of them. (*)
In a popular Ted Talk, Mel Robins, a successful motivational coach, tells her audience: “Getting what you want is simple, but not easy.” Likewise, getting a dream job at a great company is probably not as hard as you think. Knowing whether or not there is a fit before you sit down across the table from the HR manager is essential. For instance, you can somewhat investigate the company, the hiring manager. Find out how they respond to the press, how they are represented in the news. Regarding your prospective teammates: What types of people are employed there? Which causes do they support, or how do they spend their days off? When you are targeting the right companies in the right way and for the right reasons, it is time to fast-track success.
However, once called up to the big leagues, it will become extremely difficult to return to the minors. Everyone will set a bar of expectation for themselves that will likely never be met again.
We will end this article with Patrick, a 37-year-old IT consultant, who, after having worked for some of the biggest IT-companies in Germany, chose to leave for Switzerland, where he could increase his discretionary income by paying lower taxes.
Would one not say the grass is always greener on the other side?
(*) Half of Google’s developers leave the company between 1.3 to 4.7 years; number based on figures in San Francisco.
Finding the right employer requires a “bucket list” mentality
There are plenty of other great places to work that aren’t as difficult to get into as Google. That said, getting hired by a top employer starts with changing your approach to job search. Instead of looking at job boards and seeing who’s hiring, you need to go out and do your homework on the local companies in your area that have similar qualities to the ones you admire at Google. It’s called creating an interview bucket list–and it’s how smart professionals are speeding up their job search. It’s never been easier to research employers to learn more about what it’s like to work there.
Once you have the list, you can develop a networking strategy to connect with employees so you can build your reputation and earn their trust. This can lead to you be referred directly to hiring managers for open positions, many of which are part of what’s referred to as the “hidden job market.” Not only is there less competition for these jobs, but when you’re recommended by an existing employee, your candidacy is put to the top of the pile. Getting your dream job at a great company isn’t as hard as people think. All it takes is a little planning and focus. When you target the right employers, for the right reasons, and in the right way, you can fast-track your success.
(*) number based on figures in San Francisco
Sanford M. Jacoby, professor of labour
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Have you ever heard about someone “cutting the line” to land their dream job?
They’re the people getting the perfect position without ever submitting a resume, or negotiating a sweet signing bonus plus five weeks vacation, or getting hired for a role the company created just for them. How do they do it? Are they just naturally golden? Or do they know something you don’t?
While you might use the word lucky, these folks aren’t necessarily more more talented; they’ve simply perfected a way of approaching the job search in a manner others haven’t been trained in (or are fearful of adopting). This out-of-the-box approach gives them a notable advantage when it comes to standing out.
So what do they know and how can you follow their lead to make your next transition not only more quickly, but more successfully as well?
Do what they do:
1. High Performers Don’t Follow the Application Rules
The standard approach to applying for a position is to follow the application instructions outlined in the job post and get in touch with an internal recruiter. But high performers know that there’s a back door—and that it’s often a better bet.
My client Eric did exactly this. He reached out to people within the company in similar roles to the one he was interviewing for. If the conversation went well, he asked his new contact to introduce him to the hiring manager. (And if you’re unsure of how to go about that, here’s how you can find an in.)
You can identify and contact future co-workers or the hiring manager directly (often through LinkedIn), both to build relationships and to do a little under-the-radar investigation about the company culture.
Just like knowing the hostess at a popular restaurant shortens your wait time, you too can cut the line. Instead of waiting with the crowd, your future boss picks up the phone to recruiting and says “I just talked to Eric, can you make sure he gets an interview?”
2. High Performers Don’t Focus on the Interview
Instead of focusing on scoring an interview at any cost, they decide whether or not a company or position is even worthy of their time. They want to know whether it’s a fit before they sit down across the table from a hiring manager. In other words, it’s having the confidence to remind yourself you’re in control.
For example, you can do a little private investigation work on the company, hiring manager, and other employees. See how they’re talked in the news, and how management responds to press (both good and bad). Regarding your prospective teammates: What kinds of causes do they support? What types of people seem to be employed there? What do they all do in their off hours?
Ironically, this confidence makes these professionals more desirable than the average candidate. When you’re being selective, you do your homework, and that means going into the interview process with a greater level of knowledge and conviction about the organization.
3. High Performers Don’t Just Accept What They’re Given
They’re looking for the right job, not just any job. While a lot of people are grateful to get an offer, this group wants a position that gets them closer to their career goals, and, as such, they’re willing to negotiate, ask for more, or turn down an offer that doesn’t meet their minimum requirements.
Obviously, then, it’s critical to know what that “right” job entails. To do this, it’s important to understand your unique strengths, as well as the work environment you’re looking for.”
My client Jerrad, did the hard work of identifying what would make a great move before he started applying to anything. He knew he wanted to move to Nashville and be able to spend time away from his desk. It was also critical that he was in a teaching role, sharing his passions and interests with others. He set a minimum salary requirement, and was keen on finding a position that offered growth.
This list helped him focus his search on companies that appeared to be a good fit from the start. And then when he received an offer, he was prepared to ask for his salary and benefit requirements, as well get the organization to commit to future advancement, all because he’d prepared his “wish list” ahead of time.
Instead of thinking this will cut out too many options and leave you with nothing, remind yourself that being focused on your ideal will help you sort through all the possibilities out there. And it just takes one offer to get you to the next step.
Once high performers know what they’re looking for, they focus on the outcome versus the process. They’re willing to change things up, move pieces around, try something different in order to get where they want to go. Keep your eyes on the prize, and know that you too can be a high performer—if you just know how to play the game.