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  • Estelle Curry

Get Strategic - Prepare to Flourish series

The job-hunting process can sometimes feel like a full-time role in itself. It’s exhausting! I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. It sounds a little harsh to me, but there is an element of truth in it. Being prepared in your job search will save you countless hours. Save yourself the agony of disorganization by getting your strategy in place before you start, saving you hours of brain fog.

If you’ve been following the Prepare to Flourish series since the beginning, you will have already;

Preparing for your job search incorporates all of that, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the other things that you can prepare for when starting your job search;

Social Media – Regardless of whether you’re looking for a job or not, it’s always good practice to keep your social media on private mode, so only the people who can see your information are the ones you want to. Otherwise, any potential employer has the ability to Google you and find out more than they need to know about your private life.

The exception to that is LinkedIn, this is a great tool to help you in your job search. Always keep this up to date with your skills and experiences to maintain and promote your personal brand.

Salary – Technically, salary negotiations happen after you’ve been offered a job, but you might be asked, early in the process what your expectations are. It’s really important to not undersell yourself. It’s equally important to not inflate your expectations either, as you risk ruling yourself out. Look into the typical salary range for the type of job you’re going for. You could find job postings that advertise the salary, or companies like and can give you reasonable salary bands for jobs in various locations.

Job Alerts – Every job board and most large to medium size companies will have the functionality to send you an automated email when new jobs in your field become available. It’s easy enough to set up, you register your details. When setting up job alerts, you input your criterion, choose the type of job you’re looking for, salary range and then the location. When a job matching your choices becomes available, you get notified. These are incredibly helpful and save a huge amount of time when used appropriately. However, it is crucial to act quickly on that information, if a vacancy is urgent from the hiring company’s perspective, it could be gone in a few days.

Deal breakers – When applying for a job, we can sometimes ignore a part of the job that ultimately becomes a deal breaker. For example, you’ve already decided you don’t want a long commute in your next role. But you find a vacancy that is so appealing that you overlook the long commute. Then at the final stages of interview and the reality of a long commute gets closer to an everyday occurrence for you. You realize at this point, that no matter how good the job is, the commute is not sustainable for your personal circumstances, and you withdraw your application. Working out what your deal breakers are upfront, saves everybody time and energy. Here are a few potential deal breakers to consider when applying for a job.

  • How aligned are your values?

  • Are you satisfied with the salary on offer?

  • Is the commute sustainable?

  • Are you satisfied with the level of flexible working practices?

  • Does the working style within the company fit with yours?

  • Are the hours of work in line with your availability?

  • How much room is there to grow in the company?

  • Are you satisfied with the company’s commitment to diversity?

  • How much travel is required and is that something you can commit to?

Productivity time – Some people are more productive in the morning, some in the afternoon and some in the evening. We all have our individual circadian rhythm. Figure out when you are at your most productive and use that time to focus on looking for jobs.

Sustainable productivity – While you may be tempted to keep your phone in your hand all day, waiting for job offers, this is not sustainable. You most likely have other commitments and responsibilities that need your attention. Carve out some dedicated time during the day, (ideally when you’re most productive) and fully focus on your job search. This way you can respond to the job alerts in a timely fashion whilst giving it your undivided attention. It also allows you a chance to be 100% present with your other responsibilities and giving your brain a break from relentlessly applying for jobs.

SMART goals - At this pivotal point of your job search you have an opportunity to set yourself up for success by putting a strategy in place. The SMART goal framework is a great way to get clarity and set out a step-by-step approach on how you’re going to reach your goal.

For those unfamiliar with SMART goals, they are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. When using the SMART goal framework, ask yourself;

Specific - What do I want to achieve? How do I describe the outcome of this goal? What does success look like for this goal?

Measurable – How do I measure the success of this goal? How will I know when I have achieved this goal? How will I track my progress?

Achievable - Is this goal attainable for me? Is this goal within your control to achieve?

Relevant - What is important about this goal for you? How does this goal relate to your most core values?

Time-bound - What is your deadline to accomplish this? What date will you have made significant progress on completing this achievement? What milestones do you want to reach and when?

Setting SMART goals for your job search can create a huge amount of clarity while navigating the job market. Setting out your goals at the outset can save you time, energy and help boost your confidence because you’ll know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it. This will greatly increase your ability to sustain momentum until you land that perfect job.

Job hunting can be hard work and, with all types of hard work, it’s often made easier with some careful planning to ensure you’re working smarter, not harder.

For more great tips and techniques to help you get strategic, tune in to the accompanying podcast episode, where we speak with Tracey Haton the assistant director of career development center at Purdue University Fort Wayne. You can listen to our accompanying podcast here.

What steps will you take this week to flourish?

Edited by Stephen Flanagan at Talent Attract.


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