The LLoyd blog: hidden talent.

Searching for a Job on Your Own Terms

Note: LLoyd is pleased to represent the author of this post, J.J. Gembinski, and other exceptional talent like J.J. From time to time, we ask our candidates to offer their opinions on the process of finding new employment and the workforce in general. J.J. graciously agreed to provide his insight from the candidate’s perspective.

By Guest Blogger, J.J. Gembinski

Though there are a number of key components to a successful job search—networking, research, and hard work immediately come to mind—unfortunately none of them reduces the stress of finding a new position. There is no doubt about it: searching for a job can be stressful. As a candidate, I understand firsthand what it’s like—being persistently engaged in a cycle of rapid progress, then a lull, then some more progress, etc.

As I head toward finding a new opportunity, it’s been helpful to be proactive by channeling my energy into not only the job search, but in bringing this search into my comfort zone to reduce stress—and pick up a few new skills during the process.

Many people will tell you to take advantage of the extra time while you look, but few will offer concrete ideas on how to effectively structure your day. Sure, you may be able to consult on a project or two to bring in some income, but does that really help you find the next big opportunity? What if you could spend your time looking while simultaneously enhancing your skillset? Here are a few industry-specific examples to help you apply this technique to your situation.

Information Technology
As an IT professional, I’m constantly learning new techniques and technologies. To keep my search organized, I need to keep track of contacts, potential leads, networking opportunities, and my overriding goals. I turned these requirements into a small project that I implemented using a database. I added a content entry form and a few reports to summarize my activity. One of the reports I designed centers on meeting a contact, and I’ve found it helpful to print out the summary and bring it with me when on the road. I could take the system one step further and design a website around the database that would allow access from anywhere my phone receives service. Ushering this job search into my world on my terms allows me to be far more comfortable and proactive in fulfilling my goals.

Graphic Design
Design trends are constantly in flux. Given the huge shift toward digital production, a graphic artist must have an online portfolio to remain a competitive candidate. After maintaining several versions of my portfolio, which showcases mostly web design, I’ve taken this job search as an opportunity to modernize my portfolio and take control of my web presence. When was the last time you updated that portfolio? Many job seekers only do so once they’re set to network or about to change jobs—in other words, it’s years between major revisions. Take your body of work and design a beautiful, functional portfolio around it. Flat design is especially popular right now, so give potential employers what they’re looking for. Own your image, make it an expression of modern design and your personality, and you will own your job search.

Although the following suggestion is highly applicable in a business environment, it is generally useful in any industry. If you haven’t started already, engage in leadership development. According to prolific leadership author John Maxwell, your influence over others is directly related to what kind of leader you are. Though developing your skillset as a leader is more of a long-term goal, an immediate benefit may be realized in how well you perform during an interview. Leaders attract other leaders, and you want to position yourself as someone who understands what it takes to lead a team to success. You can highlight your experience as a leader regardless of any management role you may or may not have had. Though it’s not something that will occur overnight, if you put in the effort to become a more effective leader, you will not only own your job search, but you will also own your career.

Ultimately, as with anything in life, when you’re more comfortable, you’re more confident. As you embark on your job search, anything you can do to re-center this search into your comfort zone will greatly benefit you. Think creatively for other ways to bring aspects of your search into terms you’re familiar with. Don’t rely on luck, but rather set yourself up for success. The more confident you are, then the more successful you will be.

J.J. Gembinski, MBA, is a detail-oriented Web Manager with over thirteen years of success in providing end-to-end online solutions and full Web lifecycle management. He is a passionate IT professional who always pushes projects past the goal line by focusing on process management, workflow efficiency, and delivering a solution that is a perfect match for the client.

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