Although understanding how to conduct an effective and efficient job search is the one thing that every new grad needs to know, I have come across very few new grads with that knowledge. The purpose of this article is provide a quick and general understanding of the job search process by putting it into the familiar context of dating.
To start with, just as if you probably not enter a dating site such as OkCupid without a relatively clear vision of your ideal date, you should not enter the job search process without a relatively clear vision of your next job and employer. If you don’t have such a vision, you may waste precious time pursuing jobs or organizations that are not realistic or a good match with your personality, interests, strengths, and values. On the other hand, if you have a clear vision, not only will you be much more likely to bring focus, energy and confidence into your job search efforts, you will be a much stronger interview candidate by virtue of having genuine enthusiasm for the jobs and organizations you are targeting.
It’s a good idea to take another look at comparing potential dates, even if you think you have identified the right one. Similarly, you should spend some time reviewing your career options even if you are relatively comfortable with your plans. There are over 400 broad professional job classifications and over 800 detailed professional job classifications, many of which you have probably not considered. There are also millions of employers in the U.S., including over 18,000 with more than 500 employees — each with a somewhat unique culture. Doing this research may help you save valuable time by determining which industries, jobs, and organizations to target, and may help you to avoid investing in additional education, training, or certifications that may be of little value.
Once you have identified your best target(s), you can move on to the first key step in both dating and job search — networking.
When you enter the dating process, you will want to give some thought in advance about how you want to be perceived. What are you going to say about yourself that it compelling to the point that she will want to know more about you (your “elevator pitch” or value statement). If there is interest, she will want to know about your background, including your school and work history (your resume), and you will want to add some compelling information that may not be obvious (your cover letter).
If it goes well, she will encourage a first date (initial interview). She will likely investigate you on Facebook and LinkedIn (for your brand), and maybe do a Google search on your name prior to the date. On the date, additional basic and behavioral questions will be asked. The more experience you have had with dating (interviewing), the more likely that you will have developed effective answers. At the end of the date, you will want to get some indication of whether there will be a second date (next steps).
You will probably text her to express how much you enjoyed the date and are looking forward to the next one (thank you note). You will introduce her to some of your friends (for recommendations), and she will introduce you to some of her friends (for reinforcement). You both think about whether marriage (full-time position) might work, and compare each other to exes or other singles you know (the decision process).
Finally, after you discuss children and where to live (negotiation), you decide to ask her to get married (job offer). Of course, if you were too eager to get married, you might have overlooked some negatives in the situation, and the marriage may end in a painful separation before its time. This is why it is critical to only seek Ms. Right (the right job) and the Right family (the right organization) from the start.
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