This is the continuation of a series of posts focused on When your new job is to find your next job.
What’s the best way to find the right career opportunity for yourself? Here are some practical suggestions for opening new doors of opportunity, especially in difficult times.
Step 3: Market Positioning
Regardless of whether a market is “hot” or not, you and a potential employer have choices. Career development is an art, and for those working in the design professional, it’s critical to make the right decisions at each step of your experience journey.
In Step 2 (Mapping), you created a master list of potential employers in which you are interested, and hopefully, you also have been lucky enough to have built a master list of people (“connectors”) who can help you with introductions.
Now — who needs you?
What have you learned about each targeted firm and their leadership — discoveries from their website, articles in the media, participation in webinars and industry programs, posts on LinkedIn and social media platforms?
- Who are their clients and what expertise do they emphasize?
- What matters most to them? What stories do they tell about the firm, their work, and their culture?
- How do they measure success?
- How diverse is their leadership?
- What have you learned about people like you within the firm?
All of this should give you the insight that you need to build a case for your value as a high-potential contributor.
If you don’t yet have enough information to be able to envision yourself within the firm and make your case, then you may need to do more homework. If you have assembled a dossier, then you’re ready for Step 3 (Market Positioning).
In marketing, a company has a limited number of opportunities to shape perception in its targeted audiences. This applies to the job market, too. In other words, think about your target (the firm) and ask yourself, “Why do they need me?”
You want to craft the message you (and your connectors) give to the potential employer. You not only need to develop an excellent résumé that clearly describes your background and experience, but also to create a cover letter that articulates your “value proposition” to the targeted employer.
As Mary Sullivan, co-founder and former principal of KickStart Alliance, has said, “A value proposition is a simple statement indicating the target audience, the basket of benefits you offer, and the price for those benefits.” In this case, your “price” is employment, which is understood. But you do need to make your case to the potential employer, making it clear that you understand what they do and how you can enhance their ability to achieve success.
Now, imagine that you’re in an elevator (or a brief virtual encounter) with someone who can make a difference in your job search. What do you want them to know about you?
Tip #3: In 75 words or less, create a message that articulates why a targeted employer would benefit from hiring you. Share this with everyone you have involved in your job search, and most particularly, with those who are willing to make introductions on your behalf.
Step 4: Professional Credentials
In the past, licenses and accreditations were not obligatory, and lots of employees in the A/E/C industry were just too busy getting the work done. Today, you can’t afford to be the one who is lagging behind. If you are not yet licensed but are eligible, now is the time to follow through and secure your license.* Similarly, if you are not yet LEED- or WELL-accredited, take the exam. Not only will you enhance your own profile, but you will also be able to point to your ability to get things done.
* If you need help with the ARE, check out resources available from your local professional association or companies like Black Spectacles.
Tip #4: Take advantage of every arrow in your quiver. Make a list of the credentials that could be important to a potential employer and find time to accomplish as many as possible.
Would you like more ideas?
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to provide step-by-step suggestions for opening new doors of opportunity. Stay tuned!
Step 1: Market Research – posted
Step 2: Mapping – posted
Step 3: Market Positioning – posted
Step 4: Professional Credentials – posted
Step 5: New Market Opportunities – posted
Step 6: Presentation – posted
Step 7: Rainmaking – posted
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For more help with your career and professional development, check out our HELP DESK.
- Archinect offers a feature section on Employment. It includes a link to “How to Use Archinect to Get a Job: Optimizing Your Profile with Your Current Portfolio and CV.”
- Bloomberg has feature stories on architecture and the built environment, as well as the economy. Check out CityLab Daily.
- DesignIntelligence publishes excellent insights and information on the AEC industry. They have recently made their publications available for download.
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The original article was published by ArchNewsNow in 2009 and has been updated for 2021.