In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of taking the time to elicit requirements for your job search. It seems practical enough, but it is amazing how few job seekers actually do it. They think they have all the requirements in their head, but when pressed, they often aren’t as sure as they thought they were (or when faced with a job offer have a hard time remembering what those requirements were!).
Just as with any project you are asked to manage, taking the time to document the requirements and scope of the project are the key first steps in achieving a successful outcome.
In Part 1, I provided some sample requirements statements to follow. In this post, I am going to list some basic, but important, questions to ask when gathering your job search requirements. It’s important to recognize that it’s not so much the questions themselves that are any great mystery; the problem lies in the job seeker’s ability to answer them honestly and then to stick to those answers.
1. What type of position are you seeking? In what industry? Sounds basic enough, I know, but you would be surprised at how hard this question can be for some people to answer….Why? Because we often don’t like the thought of being nailed down or pigeon-holed, so we “keep our options open.” Some flexibility is fine, even good, but those who have a niche almost always make out better than those who don’t because they can narrow their job search focus to a specific target market.
2. What type of work environment are you looking for? Cultural fit is more important than we often realize, so it is important we take that into consideration as part of our requirements statement.
3. Where would the job be located? Another seemingly basic question that often trips people up. Listen. If you can’t move, you can’t move. It’s best to be upfront with yourself first about it, so that you can be upfront with a potential employer later.
4. What skills/experience do you want to use or develop in your next position? None of us is perfect in everything. What areas do you excel at? Which ones would you like more experience in? Knowing the answer to this question will help you narrow your focus even more.
5. Are there any aspects about the next job that you consider absolutely necessary, e.g., a certain salary, particular hours, certain benefits, work ethics, and/or company mission or vision? Really think this all through before you answer it. Separate out needs and wants. Be realistic. That doesn’t mean you can’t dream or hope, but you need to know what your bare minimum is, and you need to consider these requirements in light of your level of experience, work environment preferences, and so on.
6. What concessions are you willing to make for the next position, e.g., move, travel, work long hours, go back to school, etc.? If you found the perfect job and it was an hour away, would you commute, move, or let it go? If you had to travel 60% of the time, would you really take it? Again, be honest here.
As we mentioned in Part 1, the reason for asking these questions is that you need to identify your target market, and you cannot do that when you do not have a clear understanding of what your requirements are. Of course, we want to avoid being too rigid, but we don’t want to be blowing in the wind either. Most people believe that they should open themselves up to more opportunities, especially in a tough job market, but that is false. You actually want to narrow your focus even more. Make yourself stand out to one market so that you are clearly defined for the potential employer. A strong job search requirements statement is an imperative first step in doing that.
The ITtechExec Way
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