3 Ways to Choose What Jobs to Apply For
Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, Lata Hamilton, uncovers ideas for narrowing your job search to find the gem roles.
COVID has completely transformed the job market in a matter of months - we’ve gone from Boom to Bust, and now we’re in Build. There’s a lot of job-hunters out there right now. And here’s a secret - there’s also a lot of jobs, and more coming each day. One of the frustrating problems with having so much choice is not knowing what to apply for. Especially while there’s still so much uncertainty in the air.
If you watched my How to Job Hunt During Coronavirus webinar (grab the free recording here), you’ll see that I showed how you can take your transferable skills to open up tons of potential career paths. With so much choice - it can be overwhelming. Do you apply for jobs down every track? Do you choose one track and invest all your time in that? Do you change your CV for every role, or every track, or just have one generic master CV?
The power of focus
You have to know what you want. Why?
One word: Energy.
Imagine you have a rainwater tank you want to fill - that’s your "new job". But you have no gutter… so when it rains all the water just drips off all 4 sides of your roof and seeps into the ground below. Water, water everywhere - but not a drop to drink!
When you aren’t focused in your job hunt, it’s like you’re scatter-gunning your energy all over the place. You can appear inconsistent and inauthentic to the market. You won’t show up as your best self to your dream job interview. And you can start to send unconscious cues and signals of flakiness, or even desperation. If you won’t commit to them, why should they commit to you? You need to channel it better - show that rainwater who's boss!
I know this because there was a time when I was desperate - I needed to find a role, and I needed it quick. I had two tracks - move back into Marketing that I knew and had outgrown, or move ahead into my dream job of Change Management. I applied for over 100 Marketing and Change jobs in the space of 3 weeks. And a few random managerial roles. And I can tell you - it was exhausting! Hedging my bets both ways, doing over 20 interviews. I don’t recommend it and so these 3 tips can help you get clear and get focused on what to apply for:
TIP #1: Choose up to 3 tracks... that are interrelated
I’m a Career Coach who believes in loving what you do and finding fulfilling work. And I’m practical and also know that you need to put a roof over your head and food on the table. We’re not completely through the COVID crisis and the economy is still teetering. My dad always said it’s easier to find a job when you’re in a job. Be smart - prioritise finding a job, even if it’s a stepping stone role to your dream job.
Choose 3 tracks
So after doing your transferable skills, choose 3 tracks. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in an uncertain economy. And you may have heard two choices is a dilemma. So create 3 options. Choosing 3 tracks will give you the flexibility to respond to what the market is demanding right now, rather than choosing 1 track that may end up a dead end because the coronavirus crisis killed that industry or role. Move with the times - go with the flow of demand.
Write 3 CVs
Write a CV tailored for each track (altering your CV for every role is madness - a well-written CV should allow you to use that industry/profession-specific version to apply for 95% of roles in that industry/profession). But only do 3 - any more and you’ll spread your focus too thin.
Find the common thread
Even 3 is a lot, so to help build your focus and also appear consistent to the market - find the commonalities between the 3 tracks. For example, for me with Marketing and Change Management, the commonalities were transforming human behaviour, communications, creativity, campaigns/projects, and launches / go lives. Marketing and Change aren’t actually all that different - one focuses on the external market of consumers or clients, and the other on the internal market of staff. Finding these core commonalities between the tracks will help you articulate your reasons why, and again, make you feel less stretched. You're looking to deliver the same value in any track, just through different executions.
TIP #2: Set your salary band
An amazing way to set your focus is to put a minimum salary figure into your job search engine. This automatically filters down jobs for you. If I put “Change Management” in Sydney I get 3,056 jobs. When I filter to minimum $200k, this becomes only 243 jobs. Much more achievable, much less overwhelming.
Setting your MINIMUM salary figure is important, too, because it keeps your promise to yourself about what you’re worth. You can decide your minimum based on:
what you currently earn/last earned
your goal salary
recommendations from recruiters, or
industry research on current rates.
Do note that salaries may be slightly lower during COVID because again - we’re still in uncertain times. It’s up to you to decide whether you drop your band or stay true to what you believe you’re worth.
TIP #3: Build your confidence
I know, I know. I’m like a broken record. I always talk about building your confidence in your self and that belief in yourself, your skills, your experience and the value you have to offer a leader, a team, and a company. Without this confidence, you may find it hard to stay focused on your 3 tracks because you'll be constantly distracted by “What ifs?” and FOMO. It can be hard to stand by your convictions, especially if your savings are dwindling, you keep getting rejections or non-responses, and time keeps ticking. It’s your job to stay strong, stay confident, stay brave and keep courageously applying. So do what it takes to stay emotionally and mentally fit.
If you’re struggling with any of these things - mapping your transferable skills, finding your 3 tracks, setting and believing in your minimum salary figure, or building and keeping your confidence high through your job hunt - get in touch. That’s what Career Coaching is for and trust me - there’s no better time than now. We’ve got more job loss on our doorstep, so do the work now and protect yourself to rid out the storm that’s soon to come.
Passion Pioneers provides empowering career coaching and training to individuals and teams. Check out their website for more empowering career articles, videos and services.