Many people who are actively looking for work naively hope they won’t be asked the question: “What type of job are you looking for?”
While “I don’t really know”, may be an accurate reply, it won’t move the conversation in the right direction and help someone understand how they can assist you in your job search.
People who are not clear about their job target or are fearful about being “too picky” in this competitive job market, need to figure out an effective response to this inevitable question, or they will miss opportunities for networking that could result in useful contacts or job leads.
Having a good response to the question “what job do you want?” does not mean that you have to name a specific title or position. For example, a client of mine was on the mark when he said, “I don’t believe I need to tell people what job I’m looking for, but rather the skills I have developed that I’d like to use in my next job.”
Identifying key competencies is essential when it comes to focusing a conversation about your job target. Having examples of when you have demonstrated these skills and abilities will make you sound more credible if you’re asked to elaborate.
Eventually you’ll need to connect what you do well with employers and positions that utilize these skills. If you are considering a significant career change, explore how your abilities are “transferable” to other careers.
The following steps will help you clarify and communicate what you want in a job based on the required skills:
- Review your work history and determine the skills, talents and attributes that youconsistently brought to your positions.
- Create a résumé that effectively and clearly presents those skills. If you are changing careers or industries, consider a functional, skills-based format.
- Arrange meetings with people who work in organizations where your skills are important. Be clear that your reason for meeting is to receive help connecting your skills and interests with appropriate positions.
- Once you have identified one or several appealing possibilities, begin to shift your approach from asking for information about the jobs to requesting advice on how to secure a position.