Archive – October 2011

A job or a career?

As a search process moves from days to weeks to months it is common for anyone to begin whittling away at their criteria for the ideal job.  While circumstances, and economic reality, will vary from person to person, my advice during the down times that drive the elimination of these criteria is “don’t”.

The key criterion in my search is the ability of the role and the company to make full use of my international skills and experience.  Your search may differ but, outside of the technical skills one holds, you have to think “Will I be happy and successful if a key cultural element is missing?”

For me, an international role is all about culture.  More specifically, the culture of the company.  Is “international” a mindset or simply a need to expand outside of the company’s home country?  If the latter, the chance to be truly successful in a global role will be limited.

Job postings tend to be a generic listing of the skills and abilities a company is looking for from a candidate.  Internet search engines will produce a litany of roles that, on the surface, appear to fit one’s goals.  These lists are just the first step in any search process.  Many stop their investigation at this point and apply.  The key word in this last sentence is “many”.  Think about it, do you want to be one of hundreds, or thousands, that have applied for a job?  More importantly, what do you think your chances of success will be?

So what does one do about this dilemma?  You’ve heard this answer before but it cannot be downplayed.  The answer is networking.  Seek out those who are at your target company and begin a dialogue about the true culture of the organization.  LinkedIn is my primary tool for finding friends and colleagues, however far removed, at companies which I am interested in.  You will be amazed at the information a targeted mail or, even better, a phone call can produce.  Most people with some connection to you will be more than happy to help in your efforts.  Again, think about it, but this time from their side.  If your contact is able to bring one more like minded person to the organization, they, and the organization, will benefit.  Most importantly, you will be in a place that not only values your skills but also has the capacity to leverage the passion you have for your work.

Thank you for reading this.  I hope it proves helpful to your search.