“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” Katharine Whitehorn
If you want something – anything in life – go for it. This also applies to your career. It’s easy to sit and wait for job vacancies to come up before you apply, but bear in mind that many other applicants are doing the same. So how do you stand out from tons of other job seekers in your field or city? Here are a few pointers.
Know what you want
Before you research and apply for a job, know what you want out of your career. E.g. You may want to work with a start-up instead of a large organisation. Or in a role that is two or three roles combined (as is the way with start-ups) to gain more experience in what it takes to build a business. You may want to work with a multi-national where you would pretty much focus only on your role and go home with great pay.
This will help you decide exactly what kind of roles you’re going for and companies you would like to work with. As always, Google is your friend. You can check out vacancies that currently exist in your field and then decide based on your experience if for e.g. you’re able to seek managerial positions. You can also search for the highest-ranking companies in your field or the specific company you would like to work for and read as much as you can about them.
Don’t wait for companies to post a vacancy
Don’t wait for vacancies. Send your CV or call your preferred organisation. Most companies have an email address or phone number on their website, so reach out to them, sell yourself. I have a friend who was looking to switch his career to E-commerce, and he wanted to work in a company. He checked out their website online, saw some flaws in it and emailed them about it. He pointed out the issues politely and how he could help resolve them. They were interested, first because of his audacity and second, because they saw someone who would provide real value to them. They asked him to come in for a chat and let’s just say the rest is history. Of course, this is just one example, but the idea is to make a move, knock on doors and keep knocking. Eventually, one will open.
Let people know what you do. Attend events geared towards career women. HR/Recruitment specialists tend to attend these types of events looking to ‘poach’ talent for their clients. You just never know who you will meet. Also, follow up after the event. Stay in touch, even if it’s via social media. Follow them, comment on their posts, so they know you’re there and be genuine about it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
Say you finally get a foot in the door and you’re at the interview stage. Negotiate well, don’t be desperate. People can tell and will use it to their advantage. Know your worth and the value you provide. If you pass across this message properly, the company will see it as well and will not want to let you go. Don’t just negotiate about your income, ask about other benefits as well, e.g. How many leave days are you allocated? If you’re not one to play with your holidays, could you get more days? If after negotiations, they are still unable to give you what you would like then move on. Don’t be afraid to, because you’re scared you won’t get anything else. What is yours, is yours.
Finally, I leave you with one of my favourite quotes – “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” ― Henry David Thoreau