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Reasons You’re Not Getting Hired #1: You Didn’t Do Your Homework

In the job market, it is absolutely critical that in order to be a true contender for any given role, that you will first have to find the right environment, the right company and the right job to satisfy your needs. When you engage with an organization for employment services (meaning, you are getting paid by a company to do a job) you are agreeing that for a certain agreed-upon sum you will provide services (including “other duties as assigned”) for a period of time until you decide you no longer wish to do it, or until the organization decides they no longer want you to do it. Either way, you will be required to do work once you accept the job, so doing your homework will be a critical factor for both you and for your future employer.

1. Think About the Environment Where You WANT to Work.

If you are currently sitting in a cubicle, wearing a suit, and feeling depressed then seriously think about this. If you are surrounded by 4 gray padded walls each day and the only thing that gets you through is conspiring with your cubicle neighbor on creating an escape plan, then you are not thriving, my friend. You should do one thing right now: Take in a deep breath right now, fill your lungs, expand your chest, and hold it for a second. Now breath out a huge sigh of relief, because what I am going to tell you may change all of that. Not just your job, but your quality of life, how you sleep, and how you feel about yourself in general.

By doing your homework, what I mean is that I want you to become an investigator of the company and the job you want. I want you to find the ultimate career at a great company, and chances are that you are not there now; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog at work. Now, you may be thinking that this all sounds fine and dandy, but you don’t know how to find your dream job, and your dream company. That’s ok, I will give you some tips for how to do it.

The first thing you want to focus on is your environment. Ask yourself the following questions when you imagine yourself doing your job, and write down your answers:

  • What are you doing?
  • Where are you doing it?
  • What is the environment like?
  • What are you wearing?
  • How do you feel?

You may have just realized that the job you’d like to do is outdoors, at a gym, 30,000 feet in the air, or in a trapeze. Regardless of the environment, you can start taking steps to get there, just start one at a time, and little-by-little you will make your way. Chances are if you arrived at the job you got to today and you are unhappy that you spent more time thinking about your paycheck instead of where you’d be sitting, but you’re sitting now, so write a list.

2. Find Your Dream Company

We all have things that are important to us, right? Right! In addition to my day job, I like to be involved in fitness, nutrition, wine-tasting, speaking French, reading, hiking, and so on. You also have interests: sports, running, gaming, pets, going to the movies, waterslides, whatever. So, what I want you to start thinking about is companies you like and have a personal interest in. Maybe you’re a runner and you wear a Garmin watch, or you wear Asics shoes. Well, the logical place to start would be to find those companies. By finding a company with whom you share a passion, you will be starting your day off on the right foot by making your workplace somewhere you will want to go.

Let’s say that you follow my advice and look up Garmin. In fact, for research purposes, I did just that. I see they have an open position in HR (interesting) and I click on the link to find that the position is located in Olathe, Kansas. Since I presently reside in beautiful Northern California this is going to be a stretch, but just go with it for a minute. While Garmin has done a great job citing reasons I would want to move to Kansas (including awesome BBQ), come up with a list of your own. If you found your dream company what are the conditions you would accept to move for work. Or, what are the benefits of moving to Kansas, in this instance:

  • I could practice my organic farming on my own ranch because it’s relatively inexpensive to live there in comparison to where I presently live.
  • I could finally buy a home, awesome.
  • I could eat BBQ all the time.

Then look at the other side. What would be the drawbacks to moving to Kansas for such a job:

  • I’m overqualified for the job, so I would take a pay cut (not happening)
  • I love wine-tasting and I’m presently a 20 minute drive to Sonoma (negotiable)
  • My family is in Sonoma County (preferred… sort of)

So, personally, I’m overqualified and despite the fact that I have no children, or significant ties to Sonoma County, it is a great place to live and my family is here, so I decide that I don’t actually think it would be a good fit for me for all of those reasons. Let’s say that you are geographically tied to your location because you have children, who are in school, and you don’t want to move them, or you have a sick parent you are caring for. Sometimes life happens, and you have to stay put, and that’s ok, you can still find your dream job, even if it’s not at Garmin.

Just because things didn’t work out in the situation with Garmin, what do I do? Give up? Nope, keep searching. Look up Asics, look up Clean Bottle, thinks of products and services you use, and find what’s interesting to you. If you are geographically tied to an area look for companies within a commutable distance that are close to you. You can find this information by visiting your local Chamber of Commerce or local business journal websites, or you can also use Linked In.

Most local Business Journals have an annual awards list for best places to work, which identify specific company benefits. If you have a company in your area that offers incentives for volunteering and you love to volunteer, that could be a great company for you.

3. Find Your Dream Job

In order to find your dream job, you will need to think about the role you have today, and the steps you need to take to get to the role where you want to be. If you work in Accounting, and you want to become the CFO, look over the job description of the CFO and start gaining knowledge and experience in all of those areas. If you are already in a company you want to grow in talk to your supervisor, apply for higher level positions, and kick your career into high gear by going after what you want. People don’t get promotions from just doing their job, people get promoted because they’ve demonstrated when they are given responsibility that they perform beyond was expected.

What if you don’t know what you want? You may be sitting in front of your computer right now and have no idea of what kind of career could be appealing to you. If that’s the case then start thinking about and writing down the following:

  • When you are happiest what are you doing?
  • What do you do well?
  • What brings you joy?
  • What job do you look at and think, that looks like a fun job?

Get out, join a meetup group, network, meet the people who do that job, and find out how they got started. Take them to coffee, buy their time if you have to, and take action to move things forward.

Doing your homework is actually quite simple when you get down to it, because when it comes to the job-hunt, there exists an opportunity to totally reinvent your life, live in a new place, consider new opportunities, and create new experiences. The job market is tight for good talent. Recruiters I know everywhere are dying to meet awesome candidates because so few people we do meet aren’t awesome at all, they are pretty hum-drum overworked, disengaged professionals who want nothing more than more money because they think it will make them happy—the kind of people who haven’t done their homework. But, let me be honest with you, more money, even significantly more from what you make now, will NOT, let me repeat WILL NOT make you more happy if you don’t enjoy your work. So do your homework, write your lists, and be awesome!


This article was taken from LinkedIn and provided to LinkedIn by Wendy J.B., Human Resources Generalist at American AgCredit