How your #Job Search is like Building a home, or remodeling one

I spend a lot of my time working with people in transition.  Some of these are clients I deal with in my Executive Search practice while many more are people I get to know through my volunteer work at the Career Transition Support Group at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, TN.  is very good to our ministry and to the thousands who come through the doors every year for this ministry.

Consider this, BUMC has sponsored this ministry for almost 25 years and it is run completely by volunteers.  The volunteer base comes from churches throughout the Nashville area and our job seekers come from the immediate area and places as far away as San Diego and other points I cannot even remember.

Finding a job, whether you have one now or you do not, is a process.  Any process has a starting point and an ending point and the process has multiple steps.  No two job searches are identical and job seekers need to understand this.  Another facet of the job search is the fact that there are many tools needed to make this process successful.  I’ll talk about those tools in a minute after I give my comparison to homebuilding or remodeling.

Here are some of the key steps you go through when building a new home:

  • finding a location
  • researching the area; schools, shopping, etc.
  • choosing a builder and/or realtor
  • start from scratch or buy a spec house?
  • size
  • age
  • new or pre-owned
  • price range
  • how long will I stay in this home?  (really important step)

Most of the steps above come intuitively to those who consider a home for the first or the twenty-first time.  The one step that is often overlooked is the last step.  Too often we all look for the “dream home” from the outset and this is just not plausible for most.  Many of those who buy their first home will realize that their life will change and the issues that drove them to purchase their first home will change, thus dictating the search for another home, and so on.

Job search is much the same.  Your search will be dictated by the following factors:

  • first job, mid-career or “end of runway” role
  • location
  • type of company
  • compensation
  • entrepreneurial or bureaucratic
  • company culture
  • what am I looking for in this next role?  (starting point, stepping stone or retirement role?)

I fully realize that some job seekers blow past most of the list above because they become overly focused on getting their next job as quickly as possible.  For some, this is essential, but for many they need to realize that the factors listed above, in conjunction with many others, will determine the success or failure of their next role.

Let’s make a simple comparison before we wrap this up for today:

  • Young family needs a house; two income with children about to enter school.  This scenario would dictate that they look for a home with access to good schools and also with room for the children to play. 

Let’s take this to the job seeker side:

  • Job seeker looking for role; they have 5-10 years of experience and are open to relocation.  This type of job seeker needs to avoid the pitfalls of looking only at compensation, a common approach, and also look at growth opportunity and mentorship within the organization.  Too often job seekers look for the best paying role and do not do enough homework to find the best overall role, regardless of compensation.

One other consideration while we work on this post for today.  The tools need to build a new house, or find a first job, can vary significantly from the tools needed to find a mid-career or senior level job.  Here are a few of the tools used in just about any job search process:

  • former co-workers
  • contacts in target firms
  • social media (LinkedIn)
  • resume
  • references

I am contacted often by job seekers who put too much dependence on one or two of the tools above.  If you only have one tools, you will tend to use it too often.

LinkedIn is a great tool, but it is not the panacea for any job search.  LinkedIn will only help identify those you could or should be talking with.  You will still need to meet with people in person or find some way to get connected with them. 

I also see job seekers who don’t have satisfactory resumes.  This is another essential tool, but only having a solid resume is not enough.  Having a good resume is like being a great pitcher with a blazing fastball, hard curve and great changeup.  If no one has seen you pitch or you have not been adequately marketed to those who need such a pitcher then what difference does it make?

Tools and process hold the answers to the success or failure of your job search.

The more tools you have, better your outcome will be, as long as you when and where to use each tool

More to come.