Finding a job is very doable. Landing the right job is very difficult – especially when you’re trying to align your work with meaningful impact.
There’s a lot of advice out there to “follow your passions.” And It’s tempting! But don’t expect that to develop into your full means of income right away. Instead, intentionally reflect on where you’ve come, where you want to go, and how to tactfully get there.
The process of finding the right job can be tough to navigate. I’ve been there. Now, as a Senior Search Director at ReWork, I help others through the process. There’s truly a secret sauce to a successful job hunt, and it’s all about connections.
Here’s how to restructure your job hunt to focus on people, community, and issues, instead of resumes, job boards, and long-shots — and get the best job for you.
1. IDENTIFY YOUR MUST-HAVES
Identify your “Must-Haves” and separate those from the “Nice-to-Haves”. During my last job search, I came up with three “Must-Have” elements for my next chapter – (1) a team of smart, ambitious, creative people, (2) an organization working on positive social change using a for-profit business model, and (3) a location where I felt alive (for me this was somewhere near mountains). All other details could be negotiable.
Be intentional about this list. Are these things you envision wanting over (at least) the next few years? It’s important to align yourself with a role where you will want to invest your time and energy for a significant chunk of time.
2. DEVELOP A ROADMAP
Rather than scouring job boards and submitting one-off applications to roles that you’re not really sure about (we’ve all been there), take a “roadmap” approach to discovering where and what you want to do next. There’s (unfortunately) no Google search for “all cool companies out there,” so you’ll have to be industrious and inquisitive.
- First, create lists and connector maps. Feel free to copy and print this one below — which is really just a starting point for identifying who you know, in what context, and how they may be able to help connect you.
- Next, identify Meetup groups, workshops, happy hour events, and other social hours in the sector where you’re focusing your search – and go to them. Your goal? To create meaningful connections with folks who are also connected in the space. If the word “networking” doesn’t jive with you, think of this more as “connecting.” Less business card swaps, more relationship-building. These are the connections that can make a significant impact as your restructure your job search. (Right click to save & print.)
3. IDENTIFY STRATEGIC CONNECTORS
Update your LinkedIn using these tips to get noticed. (Following these simple steps could increase your LinkedIn profile exposure by 10x!)
But don’t wait for the attention to come to you. Begin sifting through contacts whom are well connected in the sector, industry, and geographic locations you are interested in.
During my search, I spent hours upon hours filtering LinkedIn searches, mapping out relationships, building webs, and identifying which contacts were most strategic for introductions. I became obsessed with figuring out how to learn more about the positive efforts of our creative “social innovators.”
4. CREATE YOUR WEB OF CONNECTIONS
I researched every organization or company at Impact Hubs, I sent blind LinkedIn messages to people who looked well connected in certain cities (note: this is not advocating for hounding strangers, but sometimes you will be well received!), I set up meetings to hear about people’s work and what they saw was happening in their communities.
I didn’t try to “sell” myself. I wasn’t looking for job offers just yet. I earnestly wanted to learn about the awesome things people were doing in the impact space across multiple sectors and cities, and to celebrate that with them.
In doing so, I unknowingly became a master networker and created a large web of connections.
Expanding your network is the way to learn and understand a new sector.
It is the way to navigate the workforce.
It is the way to be recruited, rather than spending hours sending cover letters and resumes (that will probably never actually get reviewed despite your earnest efforts).
It is the way to unlock boundless opportunities, and to ensure you have options to land your dream job.
Ready for the next step in your job search? Create a 5-minute ReWork profile to get personalized job alerts from companies working on social, environmental, and cultural innovation.