A BRAVE approach to finding your next job gives you a framework for adding deliberate thinking to an emotional process and your ultimate choice. The crux of the issue is getting at the right weighting of the dimensions driving your choice – especially between your shorter-term ideal job criteria and long-term goals to optimized the growth potential of your next role. That article suggests you:
- Target your job search on where you can be most successful next.
- Balance doing good for others, things you’re good at and doing good for yourself.
- Focus on what makes you differentially valuable to potential employers.
- Connect with others with your message and story.
- Communicate the impact you can have on potential employers.
As part of that, you should:
- List your likes and dislikes. This is your raw data pulled from past activities and jobs. It’s about specifics, not generalities.
- Lay out your ideal job criteria.
- Identify your long-term goals.
- Create a broad range of options.
- Make choices by evaluating your options against your criteria and goals.
Applying the steps
These steps are designed to help you think through and implement a successful job search.
You’ll want to prepare your positioning and messaging before contacting any prospective employers.
Between your first contact and their offer, all you’re doing is selling. Everything you say and do, including every question you ask should be designed to help potential employers understand and believe you have the right combination of strengths, motivation and fit to help them. You can’t turn down a job you haven’t been offered.
An offer or multiple offers switches you from selling mode to buying mode.
Do your due diligence to understand potential organizational, role and personal risks. That will help you rule out potential jobs with too much risk for you.
Then pull out your ideal job criteria and long-term goals and evaluate your job offers against them. The suggested approach is for you to make a choice, write it down, and then go to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll either feel good about your choice or not.
If not, you lied to yourself. Not about the criteria. But the weighting of the criteria.
Let’s give you a simplified example. Assume all Pat cares about is title and salary. He has two offers. One is a VP-level job paying $200K. The other is an SVP job paying $175K. He chooses the SVP job and goes to sleep. He wakes up feeling terrible. He wants the money.
Before he went to sleep, he implicitly weighted the title higher than the cash. His morning reaction told him the cash was actually more important to him.
In your case, you’re probably looking at multiple criteria and a much more complex situation. Think through the different criteria and their relative importance in your job choices.
Ideal job criteria versus long-term goals
Remember the Stanford marshmallow experiment? Children were given the choice of having one marshmallow now or two later. Those that were able to delay their gratification ended up with better life outcomes, particularly in terms of education and health.
One possible implication of this is that two marshmallows are healthier than one. But that’s not where I’m leading you.
The key point is that the most important and often most difficult trade-off is between all your ideal job criteria and your long-term goals. It’s really hard to turn down more immediate and certain things like a better title, more cash compensation, and better work-life balance in favor of a job with a less exciting title, less short-term cash and longer work hours. But that’s the first marshmallow.
Those willing to compromise on things like title, cash and work-life balance ask how any particular job or role moves them towards their long-term goal. They avoid cul-de-sacs on the way and take jobs that enable them to acquire new knowledge, skills, experience and craft by working for people that can help them grow in places filled with opportunities for personal and professional growth. They see delaying some of their ideal job criteria as a long-term investment in their own careers.