How to look for jobs when you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Summer is a great time to have a think about your career. Maybe whilst you’re on holiday when your brain is all yours and is not occupied by the day to day hum drum. Things might a little slower at work with colleagues going on holiday and you’ve got some capacity to consider your future career choices.
But if you’ve no idea what to do next, or what kind of jobs and organisations are out there, where do you start?
I’ll explain what I mean - I was talking to a someone at a networking event last week and after I explained what Gamma Talent did, they asked me for any ideas about how to find a job but don’t know where to find or if it even exists! After a little bit of questioning from me, I worked out that this person wants to move on from what they are currently doing and has an idea of what they don’t want to do, but is vague on what could be out there for them. They just don’t really know where to look.
In other words, this person wanted to move away from the sector they had known for 10+ years and go in a new direction. All their skills are relevant and useful but the person wanted a fresh start and a new challenge. Away from the sector they know so well.
So I suggested the following ideas, and thought it could also be helpful for others to consider in a blog post:
1. Go on a national job board like Charityjob.co.uk or guardianjobs.co.uk. Type in a fairly loose job title like ‘programme lead’ or ‘project co’ordinator’ but don’t put in salary or location criteria. Leave it open and see which charities are advertising what sort of roles and how much they pay for them. Spend some time over the next few weeks keeping an eye on them (I wouldn’t suggest you set up a email notification as its too broad and you’ll be bombarded), and save the kind of JDs that you like the look of. Is there a pattern? Challenge yourself not to look at JDs similar to your own. Work out what you like about each JD and begin to focus your search.
· The risk is that you find your perfect job 200 miles away from where you live but then it could give you focus on what you like!
· Note the London salary weighting for all London jobs. Usually at least £2.5k more than West Midlands salaries
2. Ask friends, colleagues about charities they admire – it’s always fascinating to hear about them because, well isn’t it interesting to see what different causes people support and why?! Secondly (and back to focussing on job hunting!), you might not know about these organisations and you can begin to build up knowledge on who is doing what, and which causes resonate with you more than others. Start following these charities on social media and check out their websites, annual reports. By doing this sort of research, your views could be broadened and/or focussed about causes you’d want to work for.
· If you’re one of those people who think they know every charity in the city, then I challenge to seek out five you don’t know! Considering we’re such an entrepreneurial and creative bunch, I personally think there are loads you won’t know about. Plus re-visiting any you are aware of by doing some proper research will be helpful, especially with this sort of search in mind
3. Do you know anyone who works for an organisation that you don’t know much about? Say you’re a health engagement co-ordinator for a charity in Northfield, can you speak to friends or colleagues who know people who work for, say an educational CIC in Erdington? By actively seeking out information about organisations seemingly different to the one you work for, it could give ideas about what you like about an organisation you would potentially want to work for, and of course, what you want to avoid.
· I don’t mean that you’d want to work for the CIC in Erdington. I mean by learning about other organisations, the way they operate, their staffing arrangements, their funding structure etc, it could help you think about what you’re willing to get involved with.
If anyone has any other suggestions, then please do share them here. Always welcome more ideas and comments. This is all about broadening your knowledge about charities out there. The sector is thriving and growing and changing, go find out new things about it…. And where you think you could make a difference.