Job security is on people’s minds today. We’re all seeing the same news about unemployment rates at historic highs. Whether you’re one of the job seekers currently looking for a new opportunity or not, it does make sense to always be thinking about your career and what options you have.
One of the most important aspects to consider is how you would go about a job search. Let me dish out some tough love here . . . a job search in today’s technology driven world may require a unique approach. Here are a few skills for job seekers to consider:
- Goal Management. Careers are about goals. It might be to work for a certain company or in a specific field. You could have a goal to achieve a particular job title (like vice president). We also have career goals surrounding compensation, benefits, and perks. Or maybe the goal is to learn something like “graduate from the Culinary Institute of America” (also known as the CIA). Once we achieve one career goal, then we set another one.
- Organization. We achieve our goals through planning and preparation. It’s possible that, to achieve some of the goals mentioned in #1 (goal management), job seekers need to save money, schedule time off from work, or take some classes. This could involve doing some research. For example, if one of your goals is to obtain HR certification, then you might need to research the requirements, ask your boss for reimbursements, schedule time to study, etc. All of this takes organization.
- Prioritization. I wish I could say that once we set a goal, that’s it. But it’s simply not true. Fortunately, and unfortunately, we have other opportunities present themselves. Some of them won’t sway us from our goals. Others could be so tempting that we need to evaluate them alongside our existing goals. Understanding priorities is incredibly important in figuring out which path to pursue. No one wants to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity because they didn’t have their priorities established.
- Networking. Speaking of opportunities, you’re not going to get them if you don’t network. I know virtual networking can be hard, but job seekers have to find ways to stay connected. It’s one of the big pluses of social media. Having a network is critical for career development. Your network can help you find new job opportunities. It can also serve as an informal board of advisors. So, being able to build positive trusting relationships is the cornerstone of your future career.
- Curiosity. It’s possible that we will miss out on building relationships with interesting people and being a part of exiting opportunities if we’re not curious. I totally agree that there’s no rule that says we must say “yes” to every request but listening can be very beneficial. It can present us with options we never thought of AND it can confirm that the goals we’re currently pursing are the right ones. Understanding our priorities (see #2) can help job seekers constantly re-evaluate the new options being presented.
- Risk-Awareness. At first, I had labeled this paragraph Risk-Aversion, but then I changed it. Because it’s not always about taking fewer risks. Sometimes our careers will require us to make bold moves – maybe a relocation or an extra assignment. It’s about understanding the risks associated with the decision and being okay with them. It could also involve having a Plan B (see #1 – goal management) available in case you have to make a change in plans.
- Communication. Of course, you knew communication had to be on the list, which is why I made it last. All of the skills we’ve discussed involve having excellent communication skills – both verbal and written. You might want to journal your goals to remain focused. Or chat with a family member or mentor about the risk and rewards associated with a new opportunity. Either way, being able to communicate clearly AND being able to truly listen to feedback and guidance from others will be valuable.
While this list of skills might impress an employer during an interview, that’s really not what it’s for. It’s designed to be a reminder that, whether you’re currently an employee or one of the job seekers, you need to have some ownership of your search. And these are the skills that will help you be good at it.