Starting The Job Search? Think Again

Original Post: Starting The Job Search? Think Again

Though it sounds brash, I think it’s the wrong mindset to “officially” start the job search. Sure, you can sit down and think, apply for things and make a plan. But let me ask you a question: Shouldn’t you always be on the job search?

In some fields, “starting” a job search is the traditional way to approach it. In this traditional mindset, you can attend career fairs and join a relevant organization your senior year of college to have something on your resume. Well, this isn’t the case if you’re seeking a career in communications.

job search

You should always be on the job search. Always. From freshmen year of college (and even before) through the rest of your career, always be on the job search. It doesn’t mean you have to be interviewing for positions and actively submitting your resume to online sites. (How many times have you earned a job or internship that way?) However, I think it’s good to always be thinking ahead. It’s all part of being strategic about your career.

Here are some principles of a constant job search:

  • Networking. I probably say it too much, but it’s important to realize that networking should be something you’re always doing. You can always attend networking events, but it only will help you if you meet new people and keep the relationship going. Networking is also a two-way street: Find ways to help the other person and they will help you back. Also, make friends online. Communicate on Twitter, get active in chats such as #PRStudChat and give back to the community.

  • Professional Development. Are you waiting on joining an organization? Are you making excuses to not attend industry conferences? Are you finding new ways to build your portfolio and learn new skills? Those are important questions you should be asking throughout your career. You can always get involved with professional organizations and attend their conferences, but it’s a good idea to couple that with doing things on your own. Starting a blog, volunteering and reading are great places to start.

  • Curiosity. Never be afraid to ask big picture questions and about why things happen the way they do. It’s especially important for those early in their careers to get used to doing. This helps build a strategic mindset, and that’s how you will get ahead in your career.

  • Be uncomfortable. Though it might seem difficult and challenging, you should never be comfortable. If you’re doing the same thing over and over again with no chance of advancing, you’re going to be stuck in the status quo. Look for ways to try new things and meet new people. These new perspectives can help build your value to any organization.

If there’s one thing this recession has proven, it’s that companies are shifting more quickly than some employees can keep up with. That’s why this mindset is not only important for young professionals, but more seasoned professionals, too. I’m graduating in about a year and a half, but you bet I’ve started my “job search” a while ago and will continue to do so after entering the workforce.

What else would you add as characteristics of a constant job search?