“Leaning In” to the Job Search
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is the woman of the hour after releasing her new book, Lean In. The book has been touted as a manifesto for women, as well as anybody in a leadership position that is looking for a leg up to the next rung of the corporate ladder. And as you can imagine, it has been quite controversial.
Do women, especially, make decisions that will erode their ability to lead in the workplace? Do these decisions – whether conscious or unconscious – extend into the job search?
Lean In presents a compelling argument for making deliberate decisions at work to ensure future success. Below are some tips on how to apply this philosophy to your job search:
Play to win. It’s been said that you cannot win the lottery if you don’t play your numbers. Similarly, you won’t be offered your dream job if the company’s hiring managers do not know that you exist. When you see an opportunity that interests you, even if you do not have every single one of the listed qualifications, apply!
Explore your options. Rather than seeking to climb the corporate ladder, explore it. The workplace is becoming increasingly focused on diversification. Writers have become designers and programmers; singers are actors and designers; marketing professionals are public speakers and tech geeks. Those who make it to the top diversify, and looking “outside the box” for your next job may allow you to use your skills in a new and engaging way.
Don’t plan too far ahead. It’s easy to plan your entire career before you’ve even graduated from school: five years as an assistant, three years in middle management, and from then on . . . world domination. Instead, embrace the opportunities in front of you and don’t worry about how it may affect your life ten years down the road. If you find a job you like, go for it.
Share your success. Hiring managers don’t know your job history, so you’ll need to enlighten them when the time for an interview comes. Don’t be afraid to share your contributions and achievements, especially how these have impacted the bottom line at previous companies.
Be honest with yourself. It is important to be honest on your resume, but it may be even more important for job seekers to be honest with themselves – especially about their skills and abilities. If you have poor written communication skills, for example, practice writing every day and invest in tools to help you check your work and increase your accuracy. Think about starting a blog.
Your career is a reflection of your professional accomplishments. In a similar way, the choices that you make in your job search are a reflection of your ambition, your sense of personal motivation, and your future career aspirations. Hiring managers are looking for someone who aims high, is open to new opportunities, and is grounded.
So, take initiative. Lean in to the job search and success will follow.