CHOOSING A CAREER / FEB. 12, 2015
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How to Find Out Where You'd Love to Work

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If you find yourself looking for any job rather than the job you are dreaming of, then it’s time you changed your approach. Although making use of relevant keywords in the job ad is a highly recommended strategy for figuring out whether the job is for you, you should not omit another important factor: the firm you want to work for. Rather than going over a certain job function or keyword, create a target employer list with a bunch of organisations you believe you are a good fit for.

It is quite easy to know what sort of responsibilities you are looking for, but deciding on what kind of organisation you want to work for is key to job satisfaction. So, you’d better think: Do the company’s culture, mission and values align with your ethics and overall philosophy? How can the company help you achieve your goals and make the impact you want? Are you proud of the company’s history and key achievements?  Getting a clear vision of the organisations that allow you to thrive, makes it easier to customise your job search and make a well-informed decision as to whether to accept a job offer or not.

See Also: How to Get Your Foot in the Door With Your Dream Employer

Here is a good strategy to help you lay the groundwork for finding the ideal employer:

Start Building a List With Target Employers

To begin with, use this spreadsheet to help you keep track of contacts and interactions at your targeted employers.

As a first step, keep a running list of those organisations you would mostly be interested in working for.  Before adding an employer to the list, think of the main reasons you are pursuing this organisation. If no company comes to your mind, use these questions as a reference:

-  What sort of companies have you applied to recently? (It’s a good idea to start keeping a record of these companies if you haven’t done so already)

-  Where do your friends and family work? Is there anything fascinating about their careers? (Look up their employer online or ask them about their jobs and what they enjoy the most- This is not stalking, it’s networking!)

-  Have you ever volunteered anywhere? Would you consider working for that non-profit? Why? Or why not?

-  Where do the majority of your first connections on LinkedIn work? Have they recently changed jobs? Be alert on LinkedIn for ‘suggested jobs’ and company developments.

-  Do you notice trends in the global job market? Which of the Fortune500 companies appeal to you? Do they have any subsidiaries that have a branch in your city?

-  Which brands do you buy? And what philanthropic causes do they support? Also, think  of some of their competitors.

The process, of adding targeted employers in the list, is ongoing and note that your priorities may change over time.

Identify the Key Reasons to Work for This Organisation

 Congrats! You have ended up with a huge list of potential employers. So what comes next? The next step requires you to research organisations and collect information to add to your spreadsheet. Think whether:

- You enjoy the corporate culture and could imagine yourself fitting in it

- It meets your general criteria (right size, location etc.)

- It offers favourable prospects for career growth

- You have respect and interest in what they do

- You can be a valuable asset to the company (in what ways can your expertise add value to the firm?)

Obviously, if you can’t find good reasons to work for this company, then it probably does not deserve to be on your list.

Keep Track of Your Communication With Your Organisation Contacts and Information

Once you have an exhaustive list of targeted employers and have completed the “why interested” box in the spreadsheet, start building meaningful relationships with people who work there. Keep up with what the firm is doing, and use relevant contacts to give you the inside scoop of potential developments, job opportunities that may arise, potential problems they may face, etc.

Keep track of your contacts’ key details and interactions with them, note whether they have replied to you or not, and whether they’ve agreed to set up an informational interview.

See Also: How to Network With a Purpose

When trying to figure out where you’d love to work don’t just go through the job description and say ‘that sounds like an amazing job’. Identify companies that inspire you, investigate these organisations thoroughly, identify why you want to pursue these organisations and establish connections with key contacts to get insider information so as to make a well-informed decision.

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