Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Using the Must Have List

When most people answer the questions on the Must Have List, they end up with a lot of information or data on themselves. The next step is to make that data usable and useful. This means creating a "short form" Must Have List.

The "short form" consists of 5 or 6 words or phrases that capture the essence of what you are searching for in a job. For example, you might distill everything down to:

1) Type of work: Multi-focus
2) Role you will play: Team leader
3) Impact of your efforts: Helps children
4) Physical environment: Well-lit, professional
5) Colleagues, culture, emotional environment: Supportive/respectful
6) Compensation: Minimum $90K plus full benefits

This is the guide against which you assess potential jobs. It also is the basis for forming your intention for the job you want.

When networking, you'll need an "elevator speech" - the 2-3 sentence summary of what you're looking for in your job search. That's your intention. It's the introduction that will precede your saying "I'd like your advice. Would it be possible for me to have 20 minutes of your time?"

Your job is to help people help you by giving them clues to how they can help you and where they can start looking in their mental file cabinet (and then their rolodex/contact list). You'll do this via your intention. Something too amorphous is frustrating because then the person you're meeting with doesn't really know how to help you.

It will be useful for you to say things like "I really thrive on managing multiple projects and leading a team of people to achieve our goals. And I'm very interested in helping children. What kind of jobs do you think I might be qualified for?" Or "I'm looking for work that will allow me to use my talent for leading people, managing diverse projects, and reaching goals. I'm passionate about helping children, especially to get a good start in life through education, good nutrition, or great parenting. Who do you know that I might talk to about potential opportunities in that area?"

This gives people the idea that you actually have done some research and gives them a specific handle to grasp onto. Their minds then automatically go to the people they know in those fields to whom they can connect you. That's how you continue gathering information (I call it "Information Networking") and continually narrowing your focus until you zero in on the jobs that really excite and interest you.

Obviously, your intention will continue forming as you gather more information about the types of jobs and industries in which you're interested and for which you're qualified (in terms of your skills and experience). However, for the information-gathering stage, it's really great to form an intention based mainly on the skills and talents you have instead of simply the specific job you seek, because it keeps you open to many different kinds of jobs and allows you to network around skills/talents more than job/industry.

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