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Add Vision to Job Seeking Checklist

September 9th, 2009 · 2 Comments

  James S. Walker

So you are looking for your next job. You have a great resume. You submitted it. HR chose you out of the hundreds of applicants and scheduled an interview. Great! Now it’s game time.

Step 1: Have a Vision

Everything that you have done up until now has been about getting the interview. Now you need to shift gears and focus on getting the job.

What’s the difference?

When the interview is your goal, a lot of time and energy is spent on packaging your past to show how you are a qualified candidate with the experience necessary to get the job done. When the job is your goal, your time and energy should be spent on finding a place for that package which meshes with the mission and future goals of the company. The best way to do this is to have a vision.

In preparation for that interview, you should be learning more about the company and what they do. Their website is a good place to start, but there’s so much more out there. Have you read their blog(s)? Hit Google News? Searched in industry trade publications? Looked for people you might interact with on LinkedIn? Checked out their activity on Twitter?

Gather all of this information and think for a bit about what it means. How do your findings mesh with the specific position your applying for? How does what you are bringing to the position (past) make you one of the best candidates?

What are your goals for this position? Yes, your goals. How will this position at this company help you get to where you are going in your career?

Take the information that you have learned about the company, connect it to your thoughts on the position (how you’re a good fit and how you plan to use this position to further your career) and use it to create a vision that you could deliver in three to four minutes.

Step 2: Share that Vision

I am far from being an expert when it comes to interviews. I’ve certainly made mistakes in the past, but the insights I’m sharing here come not from being the interviewee but the interviewer.

In my experience, the candidates with a vision seem to make it farther.

Here’s an example of what I mean.                               

Question: You’ve interviewed with a few people here at GreatComm. Are there any particular areas of work that you are interested in?

Candidate A

Well, I am really interested in working with Crisis Communications and Social Media.

Candidate B

I have a background with health patient groups like the American Diabetes Association, both with traditional and new media campaigns, so I think that would make me a good fit for the health care practice. (Past) However, I would like to gain experience in Crisis Communications and Social Media as well. (Future)

Case studies like the Domino’s Pizza employee scandal show how powerful social media can be in crisis situations. Ultimately, I would like to be the person who creates and executes the strategy for responding to those types of situations. (Goals)

Now, we may not all agree that Candidate B has made the best response, but we should be able to agree that he or she has a better chance than Candidate A. The second candidate has contextualized their experience, expressed an interest in a service that the company provides and shared one of their goals for the future.

Candidate B has a vision.

While they are not the only two steps involved with getting a job, if you have a vision and share that vision, you certainly will be on better ground than the competition.

James S. Walker is an online project manager at APCO Worldwide. He spends his daytime hours supplying strategic communications solutions to clients looking to engage online and shares his thoughts on social media and the PR industry at his blog. He can be reached at james.walker@prprescriptions.com.


 

Tags: Advice from a Pro · Job Search

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jessica lee // Sep 9, 2009 at 8:46 am

    i like this advice and i think it’s smart. the only thing i’d add is that job seekers need to find a way to demonstrate or articulate how their personal vision aligns with the company’s vision.

    a mistake i see with job seekers is that they may come at things with, “this is what i want to do and this is what i want from you.” and it comes off as a “gimme, gimme, gimme” mentality where you only care about “what’s in it for me?” that’s not very attractive from an employer’s standpoint. job seekers should try to show how it’s a give and take situation – articulate what you’re going to give to the organization, how it meets the company’s needs, AND how it meets your personal needs too. that’s the sweet spot!

  • 2 Jonas Raymond // Sep 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    As someone who is a recent graduate and going through this process right now I can agree with this post. Most of what I do before I go onto an interview is not only find out everything I can about the company, but everything I can about the PERSON who is interviewing me.

    Knowing the person who is interviewing you is extremely important if you want to come off like you are an actual person. Remember, a lot of the reason for an interview is to make sure that you are not only qualified, but will fit in in the office environment. I’m not claiming to “suck up” to the person that is interviewing you, but knowing if they enjoy gardening vs. sky diving can be helpful when you’re trying to make that connection that you’re someone they can see themselves working with.

    First lesson of communication…know your audience.

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