Whether you were laid off due to Covid-19, you’re ready to return to work after staying at home to care for a family member or raise children, or you need a career change, embarking on a job search can be a job on its own. It involves a multitude of tasks that can be daunting and include revising your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, signing up for job boards, and preparing for the interview process. But it is also a time to step back and see how far you’ve come since your last transition. You may find that what served you before isn’t working for you now. Taking the time to understand why you’re ready for a change allows you to approach your next move with confidence. Opportunity awaits! There are many fringe benefits that come with a job search. Here are ten of them:
1. You’ll learn to ask for help. This is the best thing you can do for yourself. The “I got this” mentality isn’t a good strategy for job hunting. Instead, find your tribe. When you reach out to another person, you’re creating a chance to connect, you’re allowing for contribution, and you’re creating a learning opportunity. Asking for help also cuts back on stress, which you’ll have plenty of during the job search process. Here are more benefits: 10 Benefits of Asking for Help
2. You’ll learn to set goals. Whether they’re SMART goals or HARD ones, when you approach the job search process in steps and not by expecting each interview to be “the one,” you’ll achieve better self awareness and feel better too. Keep in mind that there is nothing linear about finding a new job. It takes you all over the place. One day you might want to stay in sales and the next, think about becoming a job recruiter. Or bartender. It’s a roller coaster. The interview you thought you aced, and you very well may have, didn’t pan out. Total failure? No. With setting goals, when you take into account the steps you took by getting the interview and then consider what went well, you’ve accomplished several things.
3. You’ll meet new people. It’s inevitable. Even if it’s over Zoom. Each interview, every time you ask for help, and when you email or InMail on LinkedIn is an opportunity to connect with someone new. I found a job by calling a newspaper to place an ad for something totally unrelated to a job search, recognized the name of the person I was talking to, introduced myself, found out about an opening at her company, and got the job. And then we used her referral bonus three months later to go out for drinks.
4. You’ll get better at networking. Think “who, not how,” from the title of a book by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy “Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork.” This goes back to the benefits of asking for help. Getting others on your team opens doors and takes a tremendous burden off of you. Their insight, perspective and connections are a valuable asset for your job search.
5. You’ll ask better questions. Occasionally an interviewer will tell you about the job and ask if you have any questions. This puts the onus on you to make the conversation happen. Be prepared! Have a list on hand. Study ahead of time. Know what you asks will be. The more you practice asking, the easier it will be. What a great life skill! And it will help your networking game too.
6. You’ll discover your strengths. While it’s good to have a prepared answer to this question when it comes up in an interview, it probably won’t be the whole truth. Sure, you’re highly organized. But what they don’t know is that you’re feeding your family mac and cheese served five different ways while supervising your kids during distance learning and can’t visit your elderly mom in the hospital due to Covid-19, yet somehow you’re keeping it all together. Now that’s a strength! But back to the interview question, inevitably you’ll realize you know more than you think you do.
7. You’ll appreciate your weaknesses and see them as an opportunity. This is another interview question that you should be prepared for. Make a list and find the ones that you can spin as a strength. For example, one of my weaknesses is impatience. I’m quick to jump in and get it done. That’s actually good for jobs like sales or administration. Managers like multitaskers. But it isn’t good for collaborating with or managing people. My opportunity is to learn to slow down, get in the moment and focus on one task, and see the long game.
8. You’ll learn a new skill. Just when you were comfortable with things the way they are, something else pops up. In the last year video conferencing has become the norm. Embrace it because it’s here to stay. (Here's this: 10 Video Call Basics )Are you doing your own resume? Maybe you’re learning how to format in a new program. And it seems like every job board has a different set up. Did I mention how impatient I can be? Job boards and applications are a true test of emotional maturity and skill.
9. You’ll uncover your professional brand and nail down your elevator pitch. When you put yourself “out there” for a job search, imagine you’re a celebrity with a press agent (and a personal assistant. Why not?) What message should they convey that best describes you? Be consistent across all platforms - your resume profile, LinkedIn intro, job boards, and how you answer the simple, yet complex, question of “What do you do?” Write down your answer for a variety of situations: What you tell the interviewer, your kids, your parents, professionals at a networking event, and friends at a party. The answers should have slightly different wording, but the same result.
10. You’ll develop deeper empathy with the most important person, yourself. We put so much pressure on ourselves when things aren’t going the way we want them to. Think of a job search as being like the weather - there’s so much that’s out of your control, but you can prepare for different situations. Some days will bring hope and other total defeat. You’re not alone. Millions of other people are trying to find a job too. Don’t take rejection personally. You have no way of knowing what is going on with someone else, let alone a group of people. You’re doing the best you can in what is a vulnerable time. Remember to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. With each step building on the last, along with the right timing and a little luck, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Pro Resume Works founder Lisa Dubino is a career coach, marketing consultant, writer, and mom of two teenage boys.