Before the Job Hunt

Often people get it backward. They arrive at a time when they need a new job, then the first thing they do is look for job openings. It may seem logical, but it is not the most beneficial way to go about it. Many of those jobs are not a good match for one reason or another. If they are not a match, then they are just distractions.

Instead, flip the process around and begin with yourself. Engage in some pre-job hunt career research. Career research is a process of getting in-depth knowledge of yourself and how your skills and interests best fit the career landscape. The purpose of career research is to develop a career strategy and job hunt plan. So the process looks like this instead:

  1. Begin with self-awareness
  2. Study occupations
  3. Then industry trends
  4. Then company culture and job openings.

There are substantial advantages to working a job hunt from this angle. The first is that you will get a better understanding of your personal brand along the way. You will be able to strategically network with others, knowing what you want them to remember about you. You also gain a deep understanding of what makes your heart sing and will be able to zoom in on opportunities that are more likely to work optimally for you. Lastly, you will come from a position of passion in job interviews and be more convincing and more likely to win the offer.

An excellent place to start is with this career aptitude test based on the Holland Codes. It’s good, it’s quick, and it’s free. The results are useful and insightful. The same website also has some excellent career research resources. I love the way the information on each job title is presented. It’s easy to read, short and sweet, and particularly relevant. Of course, O*Net is a very good resource for career research as well.

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