Updated: Feb 9
I know that dealing with a bad boss, being fired, or even getting bullied by a co-worker can and does stop people from moving forward all the time! It happened to me!
I let a bad boss erode my confidence and keep me from growing in a position that could have been an incredible opportunity.
I was an emotional wreck but... I didn’t rush to leave that position! Not even when asked to apply for a job that was outside my scope of expertise. I knew it wasn’t the right fit so, I turned the opportunity down. I would have gone from one negative experience to another.
Instead, I was strategic about how I went about looking for my next job. I'll tell you how I landed that job a bit later, but if you find yourself in a similar situation, or looking to be intentional about finding your next position, I suggest you use these steps:
5 Steps To An Intentional Job Search
1. Identify what you do well before you search for a job. Focus on tasks you enjoy and can show proven experience! We will call these tasks your STRENGTHS! It sounds simple but, many of us have yet to identify our strengths. Instead, we walk around telling everyone how great we are at everything! If we spend our time and energy on everything, we never become an expert in any specific area. We never excel beyond just being good at something. Employers are looking for someone with demonstrated strengths. You can be good at a lot of things but not GREAT at everything! Hiring managers will see right through this approach so, be confident in the things you do well.
If you are having trouble identifying your strengths, consider this:
Look back at past annual evaluations/reviews
Talk to a co-worker you trust and ask them what strengths they see in you
Take a Personality Test like the one found at www.16personalities.com
2. Create a resume that highlights your STRENGTHS. Focus on providing relevant information by giving context and listing accomplishments for each position on your resume. Give the reader a big picture and help them understand all the hard work that went into your accomplishments.
For example, I see resumes with an Accomplishments section at the top. They boast about all the right things but they do not provide any additional information. The reader no longer understands the significance, leaving a lot of unanswered questions.
How long ago did this happen?
What other responsibilities were you tackling at that time?
Were you also managing a team or multiple projects?
3. Use your STRENGTHS as criteria to conduct your job search online. Companies are getting creative with the way they title roles so, why not get creative with the way you search! Instead of searching for job titles, use tasks or strengths to find your new position! Once you start trying different search criteria, you'll start to notice jobs popping up that you never would have searched for by name. Don't get caught up in the company or job title, read the description to see if the tasks connect with what you'd like to do.
You may even use other search criteria like:
Your degree or certification
The name of the software you work well with
The name of industry-specific processes you feel confident in
4. Apply to positions you are at least 60% qualified for! Stop applying to just any job! If you apply for a job you are 100% qualified for, you're going to be bored as there will be no room for growth. By applying to positions where you still have room to grow, you create a work environment that challenges you. It also will allow you to use your creativity and strengths to solve problems. These situations can possibly provide a much happier work experience.
My advice is to print the job description, underline items using a green, yellow and red marker, similar to a stoplight.
Items marked "preferred" - Underline in green. Don’t let these items keep you from applying. Items that are explicitly labeled "preferred" are simply a wish on the part of the employer. You should still proceed by applying.
Items that you have experience with - Underline in yellow. You should pay attention to how much you underline in yellow, if it's at least 60% of the page, proceed by applying. If less, considering slowing your approach. Learn more about the company, position and reach out to someone to get more information.
Items marked "required" - underline in red. Stop and pay very close attention to these points. Human resources will typically use them to disqualify candidates who don't possess these items.
5. Talk to friends and colleagues about your Job Search. We now know that referrals are the best way to find and land a new position. This means you'll want to be sure to connect with your network. The best way is to send a well-crafted email that tells your network that you are currently in the market for a new opportunity. Include the top 3 positions you're interested in. Let them know you'd be happy to hear about any positions they come across but most importantly, include your resume and give them permission to send it out and let you know about it later.
Need help crafting that email? I've provided sample text in another blog post titled, How to Create a Job Search Team
You shouldn't expect 100% participation so, it's important to send this out to 40-50 people who would speak highly about you. Don't just send this email to your core contacts but consider:
Past supervisors and work colleagues, you trust
Non-profit professionals that you’ve volunteered with
LinkedIn connections who are employed at the companies you're looking to work in
I took these 5 steps and applied them to my job search. In the end, it was a trusted colleague who referred me to what would be my dream job! Ultimately it’s where I was most creative, grew professionally, and honed the skills I use now!
I never would have been ready for that opportunity if I hadn't started with these 5 steps!
What other steps do you tackle during your job search? Have you dealt with a bad boss that ran you off the job? Comment below. I'd love to hear more about your successes and the journey you took to get there.
Don't feel like you have to figure this out alone. I'm happy to talk with you about your career trajectory and plot a course!
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