Una's Blog


88 The biggest mistake in job hunting

graphic-4by Una Hearne.

So many clients, so many times I’ve heard ‘I don’t have time to figure out my Vision, I need a job NOW!!’ People in terrible jobs, desperate to move on, people not working and panicking about getting any job.

I totally understand this thinking – been there myself.  A few times. The problem with this thinking is it leads to slow progress and is very often unsuccessful. It seems counter intuitive, but putting the time and effort into identifying clearly what you actually want is a much faster and more successful way to get into a new job and you are far more likely to find work you like or even love.

Without a clear vision of the work you want, the typical job hunt consists of going onto recruitment sites, signing up with agencies and applying for any jobs you think you have a chance of getting. Because you are unfocused you are likely to use a lot of energy adapting your CV for a ton of things you don’t even want, and are likely to be unsuccessful. You become exhausted, despondent and lose confidence with every day. Which of course makes it even more likely you won’t get work. It becomes a bit of a nightmare.

Now imagine you have figured out what YOU want. Imagine you know the type of work, size of organisation, type of people you want to be surrounded by, location you want to work in…etc. It doesn’t have to be a perfect vision, just everything you know so far. It can be for the next 2 years or 20 years. It only matters that it is authentic to you and in line with your core values. Imagine you are excited by your Vision.

This changes the game entirely. Now the job hunt is not about trying to fit yourself into a lot of different jobs, exhausting yourself and losing confidence. Now the game is ‘how do I find (or create) organisations where I might be a natural fit and appreciated for what I bring?’. Now you are looking for organisations that fit YOUR criteria. Now you recognise your value and know that whoever gets you will be lucky to have you.

Here’s some of the differences in my approach:

  • You don’t waste another moment of your time or energy applying for jobs you are not sure you want. You are focused on what you do want.
  • You are now on a research mission – not a job hunt. All of your investigations and networking are focused on finding suitable organisations and useful connections. Getting job offers is a by-product.
  • As you research you refine your vision further on the basis of what you find is actually out there (not the myths we so readily believe).
  • Networking conversations become productive and enjoyable. You are not trying to make other people responsible for finding you a job. You are looking to exchange information, ideas, advice, further contacts, small favours, encouragement – all of which people are usually thrilled to give and receive.
  • Added to which, you are now talking about what you are genuinely interested in, this makes you far morelikely to make a good impression and long term contacts.
  • Your confidence gets built up in this process, to the point you don’t even worry about interviews, you see them as two way exploratory conversations.

The process I have developed and use with my clients, does take time. It can take weeks to explore your values, what you have to offer and to create your authentic vision for yourself. It can take weeks or months to do the research and find your next step. The difference is the weeks and months are spent re-connecting with your authentic self and building confidence, self belief and a bright future instead of endlessly not finding work or settling for the first job you can get in the mistaken belief it is the only one you can get. It makes all the difference in the world.



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