A Community of Professionals Ages 21-45 Brought Together By Events
As a Boston career counselor, I often recommend that clients set concrete job search goals at the beginning of each week, something they can reflect on and be accountable for at the end of the week. This is both a way to make sure you’re approaching your job search thoroughly and strategically, as well as a method to help you stick with it and stay motivated. As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, it’s much more effective to set concrete numerical goals rather than setting aside a certain amount of time you will spend. If, for instance, you tell yourself that you’re going to spend 2 hours “job searching” on a given day, you might accomplish a lot or you might waste time checking your email, pouring over irrelevant job postings or seeing what friends said on twitter. While these can all be fruitful activities, what’s most important is knowing concretely what you want to accomplish. Then, if it takes you 30 minutes to accomplish your goals, that’s great. It it requires 3 hours, then that’s how long you need to devote.
That being said, what are these mysterious goals that you might set for yourself in your job search? If setting aside 2 hours isn’t the right kind of goal, what should make it onto your list? That’s what today’s post is all about: realistic, tangible, achievable job search goals.
1. # of Jobs to Apply For: While it’s true that networking is how a large number of people find jobs, that doesn’t mean that applying for jobs you find online is a complete waste of time, especially if you make the effort to target your resume and cover letter for the specific requirements and needs of the job you’re applying for. This number may not be super high because sending a generic resume out en masse to many jobs that you may or may not be qualified for is not particularly helpful.
2. # of People to Contact for Meetings or Informational Interviews: After having said that you should be applying for jobs online, I’m also going to repeat that many jobs are found through networking. One of the cornerstones of finding out about those jobs is reaching out to new and old contacts, and linkedin can be very useful for this purpose. Set yourself a goal of reaching out to a certain number of old contacts (ex-bosses, ex-coworkers, friends, etc.) to meet up for coffee and reconnect, giving you an opportunity to hear what they’ve been up to and letting them know you’re on the market. You might also reach out to a number of people you don’t know yet, but who you have connections to through friends (2nd and 3rd degree contacts on linkedin, for instance) to set up informational interviews for networking purposes.
3. # of Desirable Companies to Target and Track: If you start putting together a list of the kind of companies where you might like to work, you can then specifically track those companies and jump on any opportunities you come across (through following the companies on linkedin, attending company based networking events and following company specific job boards). To find the perfect job, start by focusing on companies you’re interested in instead of just those whose job postings you’ve come across.
4. # of Networking Events to Attend (and # of people to meet at those events): Whether it’s by attending a great BYPA event, through industry specific networking groups or otherwise, the more people you can meet, have a good conversation with and start developing a relationship with, the more likely you are to run into the perfect job lead. It’s important to remember, though, that networking is at its best when it’s a two way street. If you get in the habit of trying to help others, good things are more likely to come your way. And quality is better than quantity for relationships.
5. Revamping your Resume and Cover Letter, Practicing your Elevator Speech, Interview Preparation: There’s no doubt about it; these are all important things to do. On the other hand, they can take up endless amounts of your time that could be spent on the more concrete activities mentioned above. The key with these less tangible things is to devote time and energy to them, but make sure that at the same time you’re actually doing numbers 1-4 above since working on your resume will never get you a job if no one ever sees it!