From the first corporate workday at the age of 18 until the last one at 36, I was hoping to find fulfillment that way. At first, it seemed to be there. Later I observed that each job offered constant tensions. Fear was overcoming hope. The need for success was intertwined with stress. The game’s adjustment, called “business” and “position/job title,” replaced curiosity and creativity. I had a gut feeling that there is something more to it.
There was a moment when I realized that my career got stuck. I struggled with a person in our team who made our work challenging. She helped me decide to leave the company. I am grateful that her incentive was so strong that I opened myself to new possibilities. The positive stimulus consisted of my subjectively perceived successes in projects done my way. Looking back, I did not realize I am moving on from small, limited responsibility, stable, predictable, “safe” job to the waterfall of surprises, changes, multilevel challenges, self-dependence, risks, responsibility about everything. After eight years of running my own business, with the generous support of many incredible people, with my Mom in the first row, I can say it was worth it.
Today with our team, I am inviting new members. Let me share with you what employers are paying attention to.
Here are some tips on consciously designing a career path based on recruitment processes, business culture, and years of observation.
1. Check for mistakes. Your CV is your only representation at the first step of recruitment. You must put time and effort into perfecting this document. There are people like me that see the double space from a mile. If you cannot prepare your CV well, it gives me a reason to think that your project will have similar shortcomings while working for me.
2. Write about why you want to work for a particular company. Modern companies, especially those with smaller teams, do not want just any employee that could do the job wherever. We want a teammate, who loves our values, is full of curiosity and dedication to this particular position and is motivated to work mainly with us. We want to be the first and possibly the only choice. We would be delighted to see you research us. It means that you should consider applying only to the openings that make you eager to work. It is yours, not the market’s decision. Seems obvious? Not for everyone. I ask questions like: “Why did you apply to our company, why us?” or “What do you know about our company?”
3. Be prepared to answer any question. The employer has very little time to assess if you are the right fit in skills, team chemistry, approach, attitude, manners, personality, etc. Yes, we are carefully scanning candidates during the interview. The more you are yourself, the better. Don’t be afraid to question why the question is as. You may even refuse to answer. It’s good to practice – preparing answers for problems that could have been presented allows you to share your knowledge and exceed the interviewer’s expectations.
4. Ask questions. A desire for more knowledge is perceived as interest in a job and a need for understanding the exact job offer terms. If you are assertively taking care of yourself, there is a big chance you will have the same assertiveness representing the company. Do not confuse standing your ground with arrogance. We do not like the last one. Employers are looking for an assertive, self-dependent, responsible, open person with an attitude towards collaboration. If your potential boss is not rewarding such traits, rethink if this job is right for you. The more you clarify at the beginning, the less misunderstanding and wrong assumptions that could complicate the relationship.
5. Make your candidacy meaningful. Share your value, purpose, and career goals. A good employer will take them into account. What do you have to offer beyond the hard skills? What can you say about your work approach? I do not want to hear about your declaration – what kind of achievement, commitment, engagement is proving your words? To put it harshly, they may be several other candidates with the same skills. The things that distinguish you are the things that will get you the job.
6. LinkedIn profile, do you have it? It is a must-have. Completed, taken care of, sometimes works better than a CV. On LinkedIn, I have your education and experience overview and information about your network quality if it is crucial. The picture tells me a lot about you – the way it is taken, how informal it is, etc. I will be particularly interested in your pro bono activities.
7. Prepare the job searching process. Out there is your dream job. To identify it, you need to know about it in detail. Focus on companies you are attracted to. Answer the phones, leave CV in the databases, mark your LinkedIn profile as “open to work,” and set up new openings and notifications. Other social media may also useful to share the information. Many people are being hired, thanks to referrals. Why not you. There are plenty of possibilities. It is just a matter of how deep you dig.
8. Have a career plan. To achieve a goal, you often need a combination of soft and hard skills. Check what expectations are on your dream job description. Languages? App knowledge? Some processes experience? Internship? Maybe there are some pro bono opportunities to practice/learn while making a difference.
9. Learn to speak about yourself and money. It is a matter of practice and the ability to find balance in truth. Neither diminishing nor increasing merit does not make a good impression. Be prepared to talk about your financial expectations. Are they verified with “the market”? Are they OK with you? Are there any additional financial
elements or another benefit that is important to you? It could be a perspective of raise. Money can be one of the most challenging subjects to discuss. So prepare well to secure your comfort.
10. Relationships. They are crucial in business and job finding. Tell your network of friends what kind of activities you would like to do. Your family might also have some tips for you. Being sincere and warm in relationships is like investing in future success. Consider yourself as a potential help for others. Is there anyone you would like to recommend? Be the first to do it.
The most important thing is the values aligning. If you are ready to change the world and/or are future-oriented – look for companies with purpose. Those businesses change the world for the better and are not producing, selling, exploiting just for profit, at the cost of society, environment. If it’s appealing to you, become the one who will fit the next stage organization. Learn about teal and self-organizing teams. To be free in such a company, you are expected to take responsibility. Are you ready for it?
I dedicate this article to my daughter Ewa, who is taking her first steps in the professional world.
Joanna Staniszewska, CEO, You’ll – communication consultancy and agency, youll.be
Joanna Staniszewska, CEO of a communication agency and consultancy youll.be, co-founder of the international advisory group EFFENEX.com, mentor, lecturer, mother of three.
Competence areas: communication, new media, relation-building personal development, cultural diversity, leadership, and social change.
Joanna is a marketing and HR expert and adviser with over twenty years of experience. Specializes in the field of communication, HR, business education, leadership, cultural diversity, and mentoring. She is a founder and CEO of You’ll marketing and consulting agency, operating on international markets and promoting new media communication.