How To Land Your Next Job with Skill

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“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” — Steve Jobs

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from author, carer coach, and Agile practitioner extraordinaire, Eric Brechner.

Imagine if you could hear directly from somebody somebody with experience who has consistently helped people launch, land, and level up their careers, in the best of times and the worst of times.  That’s Eric.  Eric is extraodinary in his results and generous with his insight and advice.

You can find Eric at Ally for Onlys in Tech, where he offers his career coaching services.

Here’s Eric…

For over 25 years, I’ve been coaching coworkers on hiring and getting hired. While I also coach about getting promoted, managing up, customer obsession, and project, people, and time management, the recruiting process is a top concern for everyone.

Job changes are often the moments of highest risk and reward, so it makes sense that folks care about getting it right. (I recently left Microsoft to focus on my passion for coaching underrepresented software professionals.)

Finding a new job can be intimidating. You want to take your time to find a better role, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking. Yet you can’t afford to be unemployed or stuck in the wrong job for long. Toss in the competitive nature of recruiting and it’s amazing job seekers stay sane.

Fortunately, I’ve helped hundreds of people like you quickly find and obtain jobs they love. It requires dedicated effort and calling in favors from friends, but it’s one of the few times in your career when doing so is unquestionably worth it.

How I Coach People on Finding Their Next Job

First, let’s talk strategy. We’re not trying to land the perfect job—even if it exists, someone else might have it or gain it years before you can attain it. Instead, our goal is to find the best job available for you as quickly as possible.

The best job is one that aligns to your interests, values, and strengths. Our approach centers on these three alignments, ordering them so that the best jobs will respond first, followed by other great jobs just in case your ideal job isn't available right now.

It’s a Numbers Game, Here’s How to Play

Job seeking is competitive and job descriptions are often misleading. To overcome these obstacles, we’re going to treat your job search as a numbers game.

Even though the probability of anyone job being ideal and available is small, if you cast a wide enough net you’re likely to catch a good one.

We’ll cast three increasingly wide nets, timed so that the best jobs available for you are caught first.

We’ll use your network of contacts to catch jobs even before they are posted, which places you first in line to get the job and makes you a preferred candidate with a referral.

6 Steps, 3 Nets, and a Goal to Land Your Next Job

When you’re seeking your next job, time is of the essence. I won’t waste yours.

What follows is a straightforward method to find your next job quickly without compromise.
Here’s what to do:

  1. Make three lists:
    1. Pursuits you like. These could be hot new markets or simply areas of
      interest to you.
    2. Orgs you like. These are orgs with cultures and managers that align to your
      values.
    3. Roles you like. These are the kinds of roles that play to your strengths.
  2. Divide your prospective next jobs into three nets (ignore existence of openings):
    1. Net 1: Roles you like in orgs you like working on pursuits you like.
    2. Net 2: Roles you like in orgs you like.
    3. Net 3: Roles you like.
  3. Write to everyone you know in the net 1 orgs. Ask if there are any roles you like
    available in the pursuits you like. This is the time to call in favors and request
    assistance. Apply immediately to any matching open positions.
  4. One week later (two weeks if three or more net 1 orgs responded with interest),
    write to everyone you know in the net 2 orgs. Ask if there are any roles you like
    available. Apply immediately to any matching open positions.
  5. Another week later (another two weeks if three or more net 1 or 2 orgs
    responded with interest), write to everyone else you know. Ask if there are any
    roles you like available. Apply immediately to any matching open positions.
  6. Track your progress in a spreadsheet for each role. Note responses,
    informationals, interviews, offers, ranking, and comments. Accept the first offer
    you’re made unless you expect another offer within a week. Wait no longer than
    a week to accept any offer.

These six steps should land your next job within 6 – 12 weeks without compromise.

I’m assuming you write to everyone you know in each org, not just a few people, and that you prioritize responding and meeting with prospective teams above nearly
anything else you’re doing.

Remember, job seeking is a competition and time is of the essence.

If you don’t know many people in some of the orgs, use a tool like LinkedIn to find friends of friends in those orgs and write to them.

Why Does This Job Seeking Approach Actually Work?

Why does this straightforward method find your next job quickly without compromise?
Because industry hiring is done primarily through referrals—this method is heavy on referrals.

Because by the time a position is open, the hiring manager probably already has some candidates in mind—this method makes you one of those candidates.

Because hiring is a numbers game—this method casts a wide net, increasing your chances. And because hiring takes time—this this method makes your net 1 jobs most likely to be your first offers, without significantly delaying net 2 and net 3 offers.

Why Not Compromise on Strengths and Culture?

Why do all three nets focus on roles that play to your strengths, but only net 1 focus on pursuits you like?

Because you only get paid well and move your career forward in roles that match your strengths (all nets).

However, those roles are unpleasant unless you’re in an org that aligns to your values (nets 1 and 2). The best job is one that plays to your strengths, aligns to your values,
and involves an area of interest (net 1).

Excelling in Your New Job

Once you’ve found your next job, you’ll want to smoothly transition off your current job and make the most of your new job.

You can read about leaving smoothly in Everybody leaves. I reveal how to start your new job strong in The new guy (or gal).

Happy job seeking!

Use your network generously, cast your search in wide nets, and enjoy all your new experiences and learning in your new role.

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