Writing your intentions: the best way to kick off a job search
This is from a collection of some of the tips that have proven most useful to my clients and that helped me in every one of my job searches, including the one that landed me at Google!
Why is it important to write (and stick to) your intentions?
It helps you get clear on what you really want from your job.
When it comes to the job hunt, especially a long and grueling one, it can be super tempting to say "hey, I'll take whatever I can get" -- but don't!
You might be thinking "Easy for you to say, you have experience so you can reject offers and still have options". But just because you might be new to the ball game doesn't mean you don't have the right to be picky. I wish I knew this when I was starting out.
Let's say you're in conversation with Company A, but you have this sinking feeling you'll be unhappy there. One of your goals is to work with a mentor so you can improve your design skills, but at this company you'd be the only designer. Do yourself a massive favor and stop entertaining Company A and say no upfront, so you can focus on the opportunities that DO excite you.
For instance, say no to doing the design exercise at Company A so you can focus all your time and energy on totally crushing the interview at Company B, which has the exact mentorship environment you were looking for. Hey, you might not have even gone for the interview at Company B had you accepted your less-than-perfect job at Company A!
That's why it's important to write a list of the things that are absolutely important to you in a job, so you can come back to the list and say, these are my deal breakers.
Some examples of “intentions” to get you started:
an environment that fosters growth
a strong design culture
working on a product that will make a positive difference in people's lives
X amount of salary
flexibility so I can spend time with my family
These are just examples, the list will vary wildly person to person, and the sky's the limit! The list will also likely change throughout your career, depending on what your specific goals are at each point in time. Some won't change at all, like how it is always a must for me to work on something impactful.
I know the job search process can be hectic and time consuming, but it's absolutely worth putting aside time to think deeply about what's important to you. It will save you headaches in the long run.
Next time a recruiter or an interviewer asks, "what are you looking for in your next role" you can answer honestly from your playbook instead of just spouting what you think they want to hear.
So, what are the things that matter to you in a job? Share your lists here!