I never thought I would say this… But it’s true.
“I’ve never had so much fun finding a job.”
Seriously. I have had a blast looking for my next job. Right now, I’m deciding between two very enticing job offers, and I don’t want it to end. I’d love to keep exploring where things could go.
This is a new feeling for me. In the past, job searches have felt like cruel and unusual torture. Back then, the process was a self-esteem crushing, throw-the-laptop frustrating chore.
But not anymore…
Now, I’m in control. I’ve been chasing interesting opportunities and setting up potential career options later down the road. It actually feels really good.
Both Monica and I have had the mixed blessing of changing jobs several times over the last 3 years, and since we’re slightly-too-obsessive when things catch our attention, we’ve gotten really good at it.
By the way, it turns out that there is some really good news for today’s job seekers.
For example – job perks are getting cooler. Here are some of my favorites.
- Unlimited vacation is starting to be widely accepted. I just love that idea.
- Remote work options are expanding.
- You can work for exciting companies from anywhere that floats your boat.
- Flexible hours are picking up momentum and starting to be real options for people.
- 6 Hour workdays are now a real thing. (not common yet, but it’s a great trend.)
Remember, a job is only a tool that you use to accomplish certain objectives in your life. It’s not a race to max out your income or get a fancy title.
Don’t let a job define you – as a person. This simple mindset shift took a lot of pressure off my job search and made the whole process a lot more fun. It let me get excited about the life I was building – using my job as a tool.
The concept of “using a job as a tool” is a useful framework. It allows for a healthy perspective as you evaluate the opportunities ahead. Especially because I don’t consider myself to be a very “career-oriented” type of person.
Before I get into the 4 steps, let me say this:
Even if you already have a good job, why not quietly explore your options? You don’t have to make a change just because you look at new opportunities. The best time to get your next job is when you already have a good job (it gives you a completely fearless negotiation position).
But, if you think you’ll want a better job in 2016, you should start planning now. Some of the best job search strategies need a good head start to pull off successfully.
Don’t rush a job search. If you want to max out your options for your next job, you’ll need a good plan. There are strategies that you can apply today – that can have a big pay off in just a few weeks.
Okay, let’s look at the 4 steps to finding a sweet job.
By the way, this is the exact process we’ve used this year to find multiple “dream jobs” and get top job offers. It is totally current. That is super important because the job landscape change so quickly.
Step 1: Developing Your Work Criteria. Now… Think ahead (like, way ahead).
As usual, let’s begin with the end in mind. Look at the big picture for your life. Not just your work-life, but your whole life. [Check out www.sweetlifelabs.com for help]
Ask yourself some of these questions to check perspective.
- Do you have a larger purpose in your life?
- Maybe a family balance that you should account for?
- Do you have an itch you want to scratch?
- Perhaps traveling the world or tackling a problem that affects lots of people?
- What job factors suck joy from you?
- Maybe a commute or a certain type of boss?
Next, decide what your want your next job to accomplish within the bigger picture of your career. For instance:
- Do you want your next job to help prepare you to start a business?
- Do you want this job to max out your earning right now?
- Do you want a stepping stone into a specific, valuable network?
What are your top criteria for the job?
For Example: Remote work, Pay, Product, Industry, Working environment, Learning potential / Skill building, Social Impact, Commute, Hours of work, Promotion Potential, network development, etc.
Pick your top criteria, and write them down (review them after every interview to make sure you are not getting seduced by a great opportunity that doesn’t match what your really want).
[click the button below to grab the FREE Step 1: Developing your Work Criteria guide]
Step 2: Build Your “Job Engine” (and let it work for you)
Now, this step is the least sexy, it’s worth it. Trust me on this.
Your “job engine” is the all the stuff an employer wants to see before they hire you.
It includes: Your resume, your LinkedIn Profile, your personal website, cover-letter template, and your work theme. (Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to optimize each item without getting lost in the details.)
It’s worthwhile it to spend the time on this step – before you start applying to jobs.
You’ll be able to move faster through the application process, so you can apply to a lot of jobs within a short time span. That way, you’ll be able to be interview with several companies at once, so you can use each offer as leverage in negotiations.
Ideally – you’ll give yourself at least 30 days to build your job engine. You can get recommendations, advice, and useful certifications in this time.
More on that later.
Use this 3 step strategy to build your job engine.
- Be clear on what job you want and why you want it. (your top criteria for your life)
- Arrange the story of your work, life, and interests in a way that makes you uniquely qualified for that type of job. Find a clear consistent theme. (the emphasis is on why you would deliver unique value to that job, not on how the job would help you.)
- For example – “My unique sales experience and training at world-class B2B sales teams, allows me to instantly and predictably drive sales at a small, growth-focused tech start up.”
- Develop your resume, cover letter, linkedin, and personal site so your theme is clearly visible.
[Grab your free PDF below that includes guidelines, strategy tips, and examples for creating a story-optimized job engine using your background.]
Step 3: Find your dream job (or have it find you…)
Now, it’s time to find that job. Since you’ve already got your materials ready to rock, it will only take a fraction of the time to apply to the jobs that you track down.
Be careful – this step can be a black-hole for your time. There are so many job boards where you can waste a lot of time setting up profiles for different websites. You can also be applying to jobs through a portal that is likely to get ignored.
Here are 3 tips to help you find jobs where you are most likely to engage with employers.
- LinkedIn Jobs Section – I was a total sceptic on this, but when I tried it, I was blown away. Here are a few really impressive surprises
- The advanced filter lets you find very specific job positions.
- You can apply to about 50% of jobs with just the click of a button. (using your profile)
- LinkedIn will suggest jobs to you based on your profile and the types of jobs you are looking for (it is scary how well they know which jobs to show you).
- Crowd-source your next job.
- Ask your personal network for introductions to relevant influencers in the industry you are interested in.
- Ask around in online groups, like quora, linkedIn, or industry specific forums.
- Get recruited – Headhunters are working overtime to fill jobs with people like you.
- However the process isn’t as straightforward as I would have guessed. There is a surprising amount of nuance to dancing with headhunters.It’s like a weird game of hide and seek.
- Headhunters want to find you; they don’t want you to find them. You have to “hide” where it is easy for them to find you.
[Below: Get the free PDF for strategically using LinkedIn jobs.]
TIP– Apply to as many quality jobs as possible as quickly as you can. You want to interview at lots of companies during the same time frame.
PRO TIP– It gets hard to remember the who, what, when, where, and why of all the positions you are interested in. Use a free CRM to help you manage the process and help you have impressive follow up. (you can even track who is opening your emails and when… checkout the Ultimate Guide for more on this)
Step 4: Make them compete over you – Land the gig (and set up your next move).
Now it starts getting really fun.
Get ready for the interviews. Remember, interviews are a skill. You can get good at this. Prep ahead of time. Use a checklist to avoid embarrassing mistakes…
Grab our FREE checklist HERE
Rock your interviews, but don’t commit right away. Wait until you have (at least) 2 or more offers that would work. Usually, each job will match of your criteria differently.
Here is an example:
Let’s say you have these 5 top priorities:
- You needs to pay the bills and want have exciting financial opportunities ahead
- Remote position (so you can travel the world and escape a commute)
- Growing, early stage startup (so you can run a department in less than a year)
- Interesting product or industry
- Chill Boss
So far, you’ve gotten two interesting job offers:
Job #1 is a remote position at a growing, early-stage startup, with an interesting product, chill boss. But, the pay barely covers the bills (*yet*)
Job #2 is a well paying position at an early stage startup with a really interesting product and industry, and a pretty chill boss. But, it isn’t remote (*yet*).
You can create your perfect position by negotiating with both employers. You can ask Job 1 for a higher pay rate, or you can ask job 2 for a remote work option. If the negotiations aren’t successful before you get hired, try again in 6 months using a fresh job offer as leverage with your new employer.
The more options you have, the more leverage you have. Get comfortable negotiating and renegotiating as needed throughout the course of your career.
Part of the reason why I’ve enjoyed this job search so much is because I’ve been in control of the process.
I also developed a handy new skill. The skill of finding and landing a sweet job. One you develop that skill you can use that it anytime you decide that to improve your life using a different job.
Think about how good that feels. You’re in control of your career. If a job starts to suck, (which by the way, can happen quickly to anyone) you can just replace it.
If you feel like your boss isn’t treating you fairly, you are in the position to make requests (or demands) . If you can get a better job whenever you feel like it, your boss had better be careful.
And, If your great boss decides to leave the company, and the replacement boss is a monster, you don’t have to deal with his crap. The power is in your hands.
It also allows you to modify a position if necessary. If you are prepared to leave and go to a different company, you might as well try to change things at your current job.
You might say to your boss “This commute is killing me. Could I work from home 3 days a week”? You have no fear of how he would respond because you have all the leverage!
If you aren’t 100% happy with your job, why not explore to see what else is out there? Your job represents a huge percent of your time. We hope you find a sweet job that fits your sweet life.
If you want to experience this for yourself, there is a system that you can use.
To get started, just download the “ultimate guide”, for all the resources mentioned in this article, including
Job priorities cheat sheet .
How to build your “job engine” strategy info-graphic.
How to find and apply to amazing jobs on Linkedin
Which free relationship management tool we recommend and how to use it.
The complete interview prep checklist.
Download the ultimate guide below.
GET THE FREE GUIDE