Lessons Learned From My Recent Job Search



Steinberg_Julia_279x172srgbThe newest member of the JustinBradley team, Julia Steinberg, shares some of the knowledge and experience she gained in her recent job search prior to joining JustinBradley.

Searching for a new job or career can be incredibly overwhelming and through my recent search, which led me to JustinBradley, I have learned a number of valuable lessons that may be helpful to individuals who are thinking about or are actively exploring new opportunities. These lessons learned are by no means comprehensive and may seem like no brainers to some, but I hope you can take something away, and develop your own list of lessons learned moving forward.

  • Be realistic in identifying what you want in your new position: As a semi-recent college graduate, I have been fortunate enough to have worked at two organizations in the Washington, DC area. These experiences allowed me to identify both qualities I desire and would like to avoid in a new role. Try and come up with the top three qualities you want out of a new position, but remember to be realistic. Not all opportunities will seem glamorous on paper. Consider your skills and experience, the areas you excel and maybe some areas you want to improve in. Of course we all want that dream job which allows us to work from home and get a giant pay check for doing “what you love,” but it is important to think about what is truly achievable for you in this stage of your career. For some, it may be flexible work hours so they can spend time with family, or great vacation time and benefits package. For me they were: a strong focus on growth and development, a team environment, and a solid work life balance.
  • Leverage your (and your friends’) network and be open to all possibilities: Once you are equipped with some thoughts on what you want and do not want in your new opportunity, try and sit down with individuals in your network that can tell you about their jobs. These conversations can help you identify positions or companies that may encompass some of the qualities you want. It’s important to keep an open mind when meeting people and hearing about roles and opportunities that might not exactly align with what you are looking for, because you never know what you are going to find. As a young professional I’ve learned there are an endless number of careers and industries out there that I may not be familiar with, so it’s important to keep an open mind so you do not pass up a great opportunity.
  • Don’t take on too much at once: The job search can be a tiring game. On top of performing at your current position and networking, once interviews start it can be an overwhelming process. Do your best to stay organized, and try not to overbook or over extend yourself. Keep in mind you have control over the pace of your search and although you may be anxious to find your next opportunity or make your next move, you want to allow yourself the time to truly process all that you are learning so that you can make an informed decision you won’t later regret. In my recent job search I found myself scheduled for multiple interviews with different organizations on the same day, and although it was good I had meetings set up, it did not allow me to fully process each meeting, and separate the qualities I liked and disliked about each organization because they seemed to blur together. It’s important to allow yourself time to reflect on the interview to fully assess your feelings on the organization.
  • Be yourself when interviewing: Naturally when preparing for, and actually interviewing, everyone wants to put their best foot forward. However, people often sacrifice being themselves in interviews because they try too hard to portray the individual they think the interviewer wants. In most cases, I have found organizations appreciate individuality and someone who is comfortable showing some of their true colors in an interview. Now, do take this with a giant grain of salt. Although it is important to be yourself, it’s still a professional interview, so maintain your professionalism while letting the real you shine through.
  • Don’t just be the interviewee, also be the interviewer: Most people think interviews are solely designed for the organization to assess you and determine if you would be a good fit. However, people often forget to approach these interactions as an opportunity for them to assess the organization as well, and determine if they think they would be happy there and if it’s the right move for them. Personally, I think this is one of the most challenging aspects of a job search. When you have decided you are ready for your next opportunity, it is easy to get excited about the first opportunity that comes your way, but it is important to take a step back from that great interview you had and awesome people you met in XYZ office and think about the aspects of the organization you maybe did not get to see. For example, I often left interviews looking at all the great things we talked about and all the positive aspects of the conversation, but I have learned it is important to do your due diligence on the company and the interviewer to get a better sense of who that person is professionally. Although they seem incredibly laid back and friendly, are they actually a micromanager who won’t allow you any autonomy? Could they be disorganized and all over the place as a manager? It’s important to try and think past the surface interaction and gain a deeper understanding of the actual working environment. You can gain this insight through observation, asking company culture related questions of the interviewer, researching the company online, or even setting up a “participatory interview” to meet the team and learn more about the work they do, like I did with JustinBradley.

Julia Steinberg joined JustinBradley in 2016. As a Financial Recruiter, she works with clients in the financial services and media and entertainment sectors. 

 

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