How can a job seeker find a job, if they can’t clearly describe what it is they want? An early step in a candidate’s job search is goal definition, or visualization of your job search.
This is often difficult for candidates to accomplish effectively. Doesn’t it seem strange that a job seeker can’t clearly explain what they are seeking?
There are a few reasons and suggestions of how to create an effective description of your target job:
Why Can’t Candidates Describe Their Target Job?
- Broad goals: When asked, many candidates will describe their job search goals very broadly … “I want to find a job where I can make a difference”, or “… add value”, or “… help in the strategic direction”, or ” … in sales.”
- Training: Most of today’s job seekers were trained to search broadly for jobs write broad resumes, so they don’t close themselves off from opportunities
- The times, they are a changin’: Having broad goals made sense when we found jobs in the newspaper, because there wasn’t a capacity to search for specific job criteria. Jobs were defined broadly and therefore employers expected candidates to describe themselves broadly. Job boards changes the industry and encouraged employers to write more specific ads and to search for specific criteria. These changes also candidates to search for specific criteria and still return a large enough universe.
I provide clients with an exercise at the beginning of their job search, called Dream Job Visualization. This exercise encourages candidates to think about what they are aiming for, very specifically. Many times, I’ll have a client redo the exercise, because the first attempt was too broad. You can find a copy of this exercise at the end of the article.
7 steps to visualize your dream job:
- Write it down: Writing it, rather than just storing it in your head helps you define your dream job more clearly.
- Dream big: What do you really want? If you’re not immediately qualified for your end goal, map out a course to visualize the intermediate steps you’ll need in order to reach a longer term goal. Define the next intermediate step as your dream job. Monster.com has some interesting tools to map out career paths, showing the intermediate steps others have taken to enter the specific job that’s your long-term goal.
- At the same time be realistic: If you are a janitor, you’re not going to qualify for a job as an astronaut until you take some intermediate steps. Make sure you really have a shot at your dream job, or adjust your goals to make your dream job an intermediate step to get to a longer-term goal. Maybe the janitor’s goal could be finding a janitor job at a flight school?
- Use keywords to define your goals: While you won’t need to enter this exercise in a database, using keywords can help you create a more specific definition.
- List 10 things: By forcing yourself to list at least 10 attributes of your dream job, you’ll probably run out of broad goals and list more specifics.
- Define your goals before you write a resume: Don’t you think that it makes sense that your resume is focused towards your goals? If you write your resume first, you have a higher likelihood that it will be inconsistent with your goals. – making it harder to reach your goals.
- Active Visualization: An approach to take this exercise a step further is active visualization, described here http://recareered.com/blog/2008/05/01/visualize-your-dream-job/.
- Just do it: There’s no right or wrong answers here. The only wrong answer is no answer.
The attached exercise is broad, but you’ll want to make your answers specific. The exercise is broad in order to get you to really think about your job search. You can download a copy of the Dream Job Visualization here: Dream_Job_Visualization_Template-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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