When you have a personal narrative, you have a strong sense of belief in who you are. You also have an idea of the type of place you belong, but chances are you still need to find that place. The tendency here will still be to search job postings in an effort to find a fit, but as is the case throughout the beginning of a job hunt, it’s not productive to even look at job boards right now. Your next move is to research and engage organizations to find those that best fit your narrative.
This is a time-consuming effort, but worth every minute. By finding and engaging companies that are great fits for your narrative, you build meaningful relationships. This foundation creates relative dominance for you over your competition in the job hunt when the time comes to apply for positions. Here are the key components to finding and engaging your 'best fit' companies:
- Web Search – search the keywords in your narrative and thoroughly explore the results. You will find web content, including video and news articles, that will lead you to organizations you knew little or nothing about. Read their publicly released materials to understand strategic objectives. Read relevant news to understand current developments and articles from periodicals like Fast Company to learn about more cutting-edge developments that you may want to be a part of. The mantra here is ‘consume, consume, consume’. If you are currently unemployed, this is now your full-time job. If you are employed, it’s time to start your 2nd job working the night shift.
- Trade Organizations – Find trade organizations that represent companies fitting your narrative. Join them and participate in their events. Read their newsletters. Interact with them by submitting questions or articles of your own. Volunteer or play some role in their functions. Do whatever you can do to be a valuable part of the community.
- Personal Networking – Engage specific people you meet in your research (e.g. forum discussions or authors of articles) and trade organizations to exchange ideas one-on-one or within a small group. Evolve yourself further by listening to others and bringing new ideas that are relevant to the industry space you are targeting. Specifically, search out managers and executives who work for the organizations you are targeting and exchange ideas anyway you can. Discuss with them that you are job hunting and be sure to market your personal narrative.
- Tracking – It is important to track your progress and involvement. Make it methodical, not haphazard - i.e. don’t attempt to drink from a fire hydrant. Know who you talked to and when you talked them, using your activity to strategize on next moves. Make the number of organizations you target a manageable number – no more than 10 or so. If you find yourself too busy to follow the organizations completely, it is time to trim down by eliminating the worst fit of the group.
After a few weeks of rigorous effort, you will have built the beginnings of very powerful relationships. You are now a serious player to hiring managers because you are displaying passion and have clarity about your strengths and where you are valuable. By finding your 'best fit' organizations, you are on your way to focusing in on specific, targeted job opportunities that you can win.
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