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The 6 Lessons I Learnt Job Hunting

3 April 2017 | Dan Griffiths | About a 3 minute read
Tags: Hiring, job hunt, job hunting, Recruitment


Having recently landed in a new role with AND Digital, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the time I spent job hunting. Here are six things I learnt…

Think about what you want

Have rounded job goals — not just title and salary. What are you looking for in a role? What size of company? What working environment? Are there industries you’d like to try? Or skills you want to develop? What you learn by thinking through and prioritising your motivations may surprise you. Edgar Schien’s work on career anchors provides a good starting point.

 

Set achievable goals

Yes, your key task is to get a new job, but if your sole measure of progress is “did I get a job today?” you’ll be disappointed most of the time. So, break up your search into achievable objectives: I’ll apply for 2 jobs today, I’ll practice my interview technique, I’ll meet with 3 ex-colleagues this week.

Don’t forget out of work goals: doing household chores; spending time with your kids are achievements and matter too. I managed a building project on our house alongside my job hunt and being able to switch between the two kept me busy and focused on both.

 

Networking, ugh.

Networking gets built-up into a ‘big thing’ and it’s really not. It’s about reaching out to people you know, meeting up for a quick coffee. Be up-front, tell them you’re looking for a new role and that you would appreciate their advice. Few people will refuse. Talk frankly about your situation, your skills and what you’re looking for. Ask if they know of anyone hiring, or if they can introduce you to someone else. Remember that not every networking conversation will have a pay-off — trying to force one quickly gets awkward.

 

Don’t over-focus on senior people

It’s tempting to get in touch only with the directors or hiring managers who could approve your next job offer, but people at all levels provide a useful way into a particular company — indeed many companies (like AND Digital) incentivise their employees to do so. Your goal should be to hear about opportunities, not to get straight to the CEO.

 

Get your stories straight

Interviewers often ask competency based questions of candidates: describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult stakeholder; how you motivated a team; supported a key sale. The STAR framework— Situation, Task, Action and Result is a helpful structure to use.

What was the situation you were in? What goal or task were you asked to achieve? What actions did you (personally) take? What was the result? A bunch of these stories, written down and memorised will serve you well and boost your confidence in interviews.

 

Inspire yourself

Job hunting can be a lonely pursuit. Take time to motivate yourself — there are so many inspiring articles on Twitter, Medium or TED talks to pick you up and energise you. The video of Steve Jobs’ address to Stanford graduates remains a favourite of mine, often re-watched.

 

And finally…

How did I end up here? Two people I spoke with independently recommended AND Digital. I met a friend of a friend who works there, he introduced me to the Recruitment Lead. From initial contact to offer took less than 2 weeks, though for most roles it’s even quicker. The efficiency of that process was a big plus for me and says a lot about the type of company AND is.

 

We are always looking for good people — why not join us?

Good luck with your search.

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