Does this sound familiar?
Even if your career path isn’t a simple straight line from your first job to a fulfilling career, and even if you are still trying to figure out what that fulfilling career will be, there is a concept around “meaningful work” that can be obtained now.
It’s about finding the right job – for right now.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The truth is that most of us are at least a little uncertain about where we want our career to take us!
So what is “Meaningful Work”?
I like to think of Meaningful Work as being the confluence of several things:
a job that has alignment with your interests and desires
a job that plays on your strengths and talents
a job that offers you sustainable (or better) income
a job that challenges you in positive ways
a job that offers growth potential
Regardless of whether you know you want to become a brewer or if you’re still uncertain what sort of wine industry career you’d like to strive for, The Right Jobs are the ones that fit all of the 5 criteria of meaningful work as outlined above.
Apply the Right Way
Now that you have clarity on what type of jobs to be on the lookout for, even if you are still uncertain where you want your career path to take you, you can begin applying.
So what’s the right way to apply for the right jobs?
Quite simply, it boils down to being proactive and positioning yourself properly.
Not every job is listed on a job board, and sometimes competition is so fierce that it really does help to know someone.
3 Ways to Be Proactive
1 – Network
Even a little networking can go a long way.
If you’re an introvert, getting the job you want may require you to go outside of your comfort zone, but here’s some comfort: most people are pretty nice!
If you have your sights set on a certain industry or at a certain company, find ways to interact with people who can help you gain insight into the kind of job you’re interested in, who can help you understand the hiring process, and who can help introduce you to the right people.
2 – Keep a work journal
Most common advice out there says to “update your resumé regularly”. The goal with this exercise is to keep your resumé fresh and so you remember to include relevant work achievements and such.
This is pretty good advice, but there’s a better way. I recommend keeping a work journal – a living document that you update daily, weekly, or monthly as needed in order to document both the major achievements and even your more subtle work accomplishments.
Resumés have their purpose and are expected, but their function is limited. Your most precious job seeking asset are anecdotal stories that you can tell in your cover letter or during an interview to communicate to the employer that your experience relates to their needs. The best way to remember these subtleties? By keeping a work journal.
Maybe this week you fixed the company forklift or identified a safety hazard that needed to be addressed in the winery. These are things that you may not necessarily put in your resumé, but in one month, 6 months, or 1 year down the road when applying and interviewing for a position, you don’t want to forget that these little things happened.
3 – Introduce yourself to your future boss
Where networking is about meeting people who can help point you in the right direction, give advice, and potentially introduce you or refer you to a position, why not go right to the source?
When you’re in your job hunt, and once you’ve narrowed down a target industry and a few target positions that really interest you, identify a few companies who you’d like to work for and then go introduce yourself to the key decision makers.
Being proactive in this way can have a major impact on how quickly you get a job and what sort of job you’re offered.
This is not about being pushy, but sometimes a simple phone call is all that it takes.
“Hi, my name is ________________ and I am really interested in a position with your company. I understand that you are not hiring at the moment, but to help me better prepare for when you are, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions about your company?”
The key is then to have a few good questions at the ready, establish a good rapport, and perhaps even get your resumé in their hands.
Position Yourself Properly
The last part of this lesson is about positioning yourself and your qualifications properly. Even if you lack direct experience, you can do this if you have a good understanding of your transferable skills and can adequately relate those to the employer and to the position they have available.
Your transferable skills are the more universal skills that will help you succeed in a job. Perhaps you negotiated contracts in one job and are looking to move into a sales position in another. Your negotiation skills taught you how to relate with people and taught you how to be persuasive. Key assets in any sales position.
When communicating your transferable skills in a cover letter or during an interview, you will always want to do so in a way that tells the employer how you’ll use those skills to benefit them. How will you help them achieve their business objectives if hired?
All too often, job seeker focus more on telling an employer why they want the job rather than telling the employer how well they’d do the job.
Keep your focus on the employer, and you’ll position yourself well as the best candidate.