The Zen Art of Job Searching

Mar 30, 2021

Posted by: Jason Alexander, Managing Partner, BANKW Staffing

You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you. If you’re not an old-school Saturday Night Live fan, that line probably sounded a little corny. But even still, I think most of us can agree that the local employment market is on a substantial upswing. Companies have broken out of instinctive survival mode and are now growing, innovating, expanding, and hiring. Whether you’re currently out of work, underemployed or gainfully employed with your eyes open that translates into a broader array of inspiring employment opportunities than we’ve seen in eight years or more.

Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s fun thinking about that new job, a better commute, a bigger office, more exciting work, more money, more autonomy, a better title… I could go on and on. But even though the market is becoming more and more competitive, it’s still fierce when it comes to the really great gigs and you need to be prepared to position yourself as well as you can to land those roles. The real question is how.

Let’s start with why do you want the job?

This is where you get your mind in the right place. The first question you need to ask yourself is why you want the job. Try to think with as little emotion and as much objectivity as possible: What is it that you project will make this job better than the one you already have? What is it really? What aspects of your current role are you unsatisfied with and why will this dissatisfaction magically evaporate in this new role? When you boil it down, it’s likely that what you want in a new position or a new company is rarely the stuff that the emotional, big-picture part of your brain is telling you. While working for a grassroots startup or a non-profit serving a great cause may sound great (and it can be), it’s more likely that you’re looking for a more tactical, operational change to your job — whether that means more/less travel, more/less phone work, less bored/underutilized, and having more/less flexibility (yes, some people want a little more structure). I’ve been part of, and worked with, numerous startups, non-profits, and large companies and I can tell you that all organizations offer opportunity (for better or worse) for all of the above.

What would you say…you do here? (Fellow Office Space fans, I know you’re with me here.)

This is the hard part. You’ve now gone through round after round of devoted meditation and answered all of the “why” questions from deep within your soul. So now you have to qualify yourself for the role. Taking stock in oneself isn’t typically at the top of the “something I’m good at” list for most people. Sure, we can all articulate our strengths — “I’m good at dealing with people,” or “I’m organized,” or “I’m a strong problem-solver,” but what is it you really do again? Think about your current position, or a past job, and realize this: Someone opened their wallet and paid you every week and it wasn’t because you had great people skills or you were organized or you were a great problem-solver. It’s because you did stuff, and probably did some stuff better than anybody else could.

So the real question is what is, what was that “stuff?” What kind of a specific problem did you solve? How did you do it? How much money did you save your company? What did you do specifically to drive that savings? Why did smart people keep paying you? What did they depend on you for? When you can answer these questions, you’ll begin to get a better idea of the value you bring to the table.

Finally, does that translate to the job you think you want? If not, then where?

If you can find clarity about what you want and what you do, determining where you would be the best fit is the easy part. Developing the ability to self-actualize about what you do well and what you truly want, especially before your head starts spinning as you surf the job boards, will make your career search so much more targeted, productive and enjoyable. You may even realize the best job for you is the one you already have with a few tweaks and changes.

Regardless, happy meditating.

About BANKW Staffing

Through its portfolio companies, KBW Financial Staffing & Recruiting, Alexander Technology Group, The Nagler Group, Sales Search Partners, and KNF&T Staffing Resources, BANKW Staffing, LLC is the leading regional provider of temporary and direct-hire staffing services in the areas of finance, accounting, information technology, office and administration, legal, human resources, and sales.

BANKW Staffing companies have received over 100 awards for rapid growth, business excellence, and workplace quality. Recognition includes Inc. 500, Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” and Business NH Magazine’s “Business of the Year”.

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