I think we all agree that searching for a new job role is a pretty stressful process both physically and mentally. That’s because we’re usually fed up or unhappy one way or another. You might have either quit our job, been made redundant, or just completely fed up with the place in which we’re working at the moment. We don’t do ourselves any favors, and we usually add to that stress and to that feeling of unhappiness, because we usually start from a standing start, and usually have very much a knee jerk approach towards the way in which we look for a new role. We also have a linear approach in the way in which we perform our job search.
By that, I mean we start the process of looking for a job, we get in contact with prospective employers and recruiters, we get the interview, we get the job, we get into the job and do our probation, and that’s it. We just shut off after we’ve got the job. We don’t really think about what we’re doing beyond the probation. That linear approach is unsustainable both mentally and physically. It means that we become blinkered and we completely shut ourselves off from what’s going on around us and any opportunities that might come our way. We also end up having to start from scratch, each and every time we start to look for a new role. That, as I said, has pressures that are brought to bear. If you have this closed and blinkered attitude, don’t expect to find your dream job any time soon.
You either need to be very lucky, or otherwise you’d be the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily need or want to work towards having their dream job. Any alternatives to this linear approach? Well, it’s which I call the flywheel effect, because it requires probably the same amount of energy as a normal job search would require up front, but over time and over a period of continuous effort, it builds up its own momentum almost. To the point that the effort and energy to maintain it is minimal, because it’s distributed over a longer period of time, as opposed to the knee jerk response that we normally get, and having to focus all of our energy into a smaller period of time.
I have experienced this myself, because I have built up this flywheel effect myself, whereby I can build insight, contacts and knowledge that’s valuable to my own career development, except by the time I come to actively search, I can then go back and review and reassess that insight. Go back to those contacts and review that knowledge that I’ve had in order to make my next move. That, for me, has meant much less stress, both the physical and mental stress, in terms of managing my career. What does this flywheel process and concept look like? For very high level, if you can imagine a cycle and the points on the cycle that I’ve put on the flywheel, there are four key points in the flywheel effects that I want to refer to.
Each one of these four points are pretty high level points and they have their associated tactics for each point. I’m not going to go into detail about each tactic at the moment, but just the actual overall approach. For the first point, is think and evaluate. That means evaluate where you’re at at the moment, and what it needs and what it’s going to take for you to get to your next role, whether that be training, whether that be help from other people, professionals, colleagues et cetera. That’s the first point. Think and evaluate. Then, you find your job, you find the job that you wanted, you’ve gone through your interview, you’ve gone through that process, you’ve had the offer, and you’re going through your probationary period. You’ve got the job, it’s secure.
Then there’s the third point, the third step in this particular flywheel process. That leads from finding the job to actually developing in the role. Not wanting to stand still, not standing still, making sure that you develop in the role, whether that be training, skills, opportunities et cetera, within the role. That’s point three, so that you’re not standing still. Then the third point in the flywheel process, the flywheel proposition, is for you to build your network. Whether that be people in work, people outside of work, so professionals inside and outside of work, and you have to be open to networking with those people.
That could mean helping other professionals, or, it could mean being open to communications from recruiters, employers, et cetera, just to have conversations and find out about what they’re doing at that particular moment. That’s where you can be in a position to listen to opportunities that might have otherwise passed you by had you taken a more of a blinkered approach to your job search. More blinkered linear approach. Being an open network allows you to build up your insight and obviously your contacts, and, as I said, it opens up opportunities, opens doors up that perhaps wouldn’t be open to you with that linear approach. Having done your networking around, doing your networking on a periodic basis throughout the year or throughout whatever it may be, you come back to what was step one, which was evaluate and think.
Now it becomes reevaluate. It’s looking at the conversations that you’ve had, the contacts that you’ve made, the insight you’ve gained, the development that you’ve gone through whilst in your job, looking at all of that. From that, understanding what it takes for you then to move forward. Having that ammunition and that insight and knowledge to help you to move forward, you’re not standing still. Having built up those contacts, you’ll know what opportunities might be available to you in the future. If you manage those contacts in the best possible way, then they can more than likely help you when you are next looking for a new role.
With all this insight at your disposal that you would have gathered over the period of time, whether it be three months, six months, a year, two years et cetera, you’ll be in a great position to be able to benchmark where you’re at, where your skills and development has reached, compared to your counterparts. Therefore be in a great position again when it comes time to move, to understand what sorts of role you should be going for, what sorts of salaries you should be going for, where the jobs are et cetera. I just want to talk briefly about some of the tools and tactics I’ve used in order to make this flywheel effect happen. One of the biggest things in my armory, so to speak, has been the internet. Using things like, for example, LinkedIn and other social media, to connect with fellow professionals and people to add to my network.
From that, what I’ve found is that I’ve gathered, and continue to gather, inbound inquiries which I’ve built up my network over the years. The more people I seem to speak to and network with, the probability seems higher that somebody’s going to contact me to tell me about an opportunity or to find out if I know anybody who might be suitable for an opportunity. That’s one of the best tools I’ve used, LinkedIn, for example. Obviously, networking online is important, but networking fact to face is also important. Meeting people, talking to them, understanding what they’re doing, where their skills lie, how their skills want to develop. Especially if they’re professionals whose skills and experiences match yours, or whose skills and experiences are where you want to be.
By networking with people offline, you can understand what you need to do in order to fill any gaps to reach where they might be at this particular point. Another great tool or method to maintain this flywheel effect is to have intermittent contact with recruiters who you trust and who have relied upon over the years. That doesn’t necessarily mean you calling them periodically, it can be that you set up calls one year down the line, six months down the line, just for them to check in to see how you’re getting on. That can be a great way to keep in touch with the market and understand what’s going on, and to keep your head essentially above the parapet.
Leaving your CV in targeted and specific and quality places online, where they can be found by employers and recruiters is another great way to maintain this effect, maintain this flow of energy towards you. This inbound energy towards you. These are just a few of the methods and tactics that you can use to build your own flywheel effect. Remember, it takes some time to build that momentum, so it’s worth sticking with it for the first few months, to get your momentum going. The more you do it, is the less you will have to do, the less time you have to spend on it. Remember that whilst you’re building the contacts that you have, you also have to remember to be able to, or to actually manage expectations with the contacts that you have, so that they understand where you’re at and where you want to be.
Having a plan is also something that is going to be particularly important with this whole process. Stick with it. Put in the effort up front, and I can assure you that if you put the right effort in the right areas and over the right period of time, and sustain that, and keep your focus and stick to your plan, then all of this will pay off when that time comes, when you’re next looking for your next opportunity in your career.