Job Search

Maximizing a Job Search Without Feeling Terrified


Linda El Awar

I always found transitioning to a new job exciting.  Unfortunately, most people find it to be a daunting task.  As a career coach, I have been amazed to see how many people are actually frightened when it comes to making their next career move.  But with a few simple, strategic steps, you will find the process to be more of an exciting adventure as opposed to a horrifying struggle.

First, think about where you want to be in five years.

“Wait a second,” your mind races, “I need a job now, not in five years.”  But if you don’t know where you want to go, you won’t know the skills you need to get there.  This is absolutely critical because the job you seek should be about the skills you must develop to take you to the next level of your career.

Next, understand your skillset and where you need to grow.

The reason it is so important to understand the skills you have, and the skills you need to move forward, is that it will help you realize what’s really the best next move for you.  Otherwise, you may jump to the wrong role and make your career path more challenging in the long run.

I have worked with many clients who look at titles and corporate ladders without comprehending what that entails for their long-term futures.  Knowing the skills you need to develop will open your eyes to new career opportunities you have not considered before.  It is amazing to see how fulfilling your work will feel when you know you are gaining the right experience, regardless of how unglamorous your job title may be.

Third, seek positions that offer the skills you need to grow.

A great way to do this is to chat with alumni from your school.  They are often willing to share intimate details of their experiences that you cannot learn about otherwise.

Finally, don’t be afraid to volunteer!

Many times people find the right direction, but just have trouble getting their foot in the door.  In this case, volunteer!  Offer to serve in a part-time unpaid internship or other role.  The networking and experiences will immediately help your resume stand out from the rest.

As you can see, a strategic approach can simplify your job search and help you get into the right role for your future.  Take the time to understand your goals and skills, and you can set yourself on track to find fulfilling work as opposed to “just the next job.”

Linda El Awar is the author of Graduating from Google: Leadership Lessons.  She is a Senior Consultant for, a global admissions consultancy, and an expert on  Linda holds a BBA with Distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and an MBA with Second Year Honors from Harvard Business School.


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