Getting your First Job (or your Next Job)


I have the honor to work with individuals to aid them in finding their true work calling.  These areas range from my "day job" in the Executive Search world to my volunteer work with the with career transition groups. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal also prompted me to give this some thought. Each population has unique needs, but there are also some commonalities.  My intent is to give 4 common themes that affect each of these groups.

Supply Side

  1. Know who you are and what you do well.  This may sound easy, but in reality, it is one of the biggest challenges I see for job seekers.  Some tools that will help in this process include Strengthsfinder from GallupMBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator)FIRO-BTKI, and a battery of assessments from TTI and the Hartman Judgement Index.
  2. Know what you want to do and where you want/can do this work.  I see this issue also across all groups, but especially among those more experienced candidates.  It is frustrating for all parties to see that the flow of work continues to migrate from one geographic region to another.  Job seekers need to consider that they will have to relocate at some point in their lives to achieve career progression.  Change is imminent.

Demand Side

  1. Understand what you really NEED versus what you WANT.  While working with clients and hiring managers there is often a mismatch in what is communicated and what is sought.  Talent acquisition professionals often start out looking for candidates with a given set of credentials, many of which are preferences, but are considered essentials.  I realize that we all want to maximize, but the best job candidates are those who have proven skills who can adapt and grow.  Look for skills and for behaviors that give this evidence.
  2. Don't let "high tech" overwhelm "high touch".  One of the biggest complaints I hear from job seekers at all levels is that there is very little personal touch in the recruiting process.  Candidates often complain that they never are given final notice.  While I realize that manpower issues prevent time with every candidate, I know that systems do what they are programmed to do, even if what is asked for might not be the right thing.   The process can be very sterile and impersonal for most job seekers.

I hope that those described above help give clarity to the supply and demand side of the search process for candidates and the firms they seek to work with.

Some of you will take issues with and disagree with my thoughts.  I accept that and would enjoy your feedback.  My thoughts and opinions are based on my own personal observations and dialog with hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates in all level of the job search process.


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: