What an interesting time to be in the job market! I have had the opportunity to speak with many people over the years about how to “create your dream job.” Now, more than ever, it seems that new practices and ideas for job search and creation are needed.
I spoke recently at Ithaca College (my alma mater) on a career panel and the following points resonated with many:
1. Discipline, focus, and visualization are undervalued and underutilized. So much can come from follow up, follow through, and attention to detail. Taking the time to reflect on your conditions of satisfaction and actually writing out the values you want in a work space helps to manifest what you want. The more people you share these conditions and values with, the more opportunities for visualizing and expressing the setting and context of where and how you want to do your life’s work.
2. Follow the Four Agreements. In short, (1) be impeccable with your word, (2) always do your best, (3) don’t make assumptions, and (4) don’t take anything personally (adapted from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements). I love applying these ‘practices’ to personnel and work transition conversations. They always seem to be so fitting! This is especially true when speaking with groups of women where there may be an overabundance of estrogen creating the tendency of ‘taking things personally’.
3. Demonstrate your balance of feminine and masculine power traits. These qualities are not assigned to either gender but merely reflect the ability to be inclusive, fluid, and exterior focused (feminine) as well as being goal oriented and linear (masculine). Think about how in an interview you can express your capabilities or work efforts from a linear, driven space as well as defining yourself as a team player who is in tune with others and incorporates a variety of opinions and goals.
4. Build relationships outside the traditional circles of connection. What if you made it a point to meet someone each month that was not from your college, your generation, your race, or your professional field? And what if you asked them three questions about their life’s goals and shared yours? I have heard so many magical stories of people who mentored across generations with a connection that was formed by someone taking a risk and inviting someone new into their dreams.
5. Volunteer for a nonprofit. If you have time on your hands, reach out to the 1.8 million nonprofits that are in need of staff support and expertise. Offer up your skills for a period of time to help with a specific effort. Within this space you may have the opportunity to meet some folks (see point 4) that you would not normally interact with as well as build your skills and resume.
Some helpful sites for job searching;
USAJOBS.GOV (remember, the government is the largest employer in the country)
ChronicleofPhilanthropy.com (a breadth of opportunities across nonprofits and foundations)
WorkforCongress.com (jobs all around the DC area and not just in congress)
Idealist.org (great site for volunteering and job postings)