When you’re in the middle of a job search, it’s natural to be drawn to companies with big names or those that you enjoy as a consumer. In fact, many people determine upfront a shortlist of companies they would be “willing” to work for. We refer to this as the “Disney Prince” pitfall: a job (or person) you see from a distance seems to have all the qualities that would make you happy and fulfilled. Before you know it, you start imagining a job offer (or a proposal), with the two of you living happily ever after.
It is natural to do this, but it’s not the right approach if you are looking for the right professional and personal fit. (It’s also not the right approach to falling in love, but we’ll leave that advice to the dating experts.)
Here are three ways to begin to get to know your future job.
Identify What Factors Make you Happiest at Work
Because until you get at the underlying factors of what’s going to make you happy at work, your reasons for being attracted to certain companies might be off-track. Most of us experience companies from the perspective of a consumer, so we might think that Snapchat would be a great place to work because we use it. Or Amazon. Or Netflix. But our experience as consumers is 1) limited and 2) may bear little to no relation to what it’s actually like to work at a place or how much we would enjoy the day-to-day.
OK, but what if you’ve read an article about a company’s culture and decided it’s perfect for you? That’s still not a good reason for applying before you’ve done some foundational work first. Culture is extremely important – don’t get us wrong – but it’s not the first step in evaluating what you should do.
Understand The Industry and Fields
So then where do you start? With the big picture—industry, and fields.
Industry is the major source of revenue for a company, such as entertainment, healthcare, or transportation.
Field is the umbrella that holds several specific functions together: for example, accounting contains public accountants, auditors, forensic accountants; marketing includes market research, brand management, advertising, promotions, and public relations. In other words, field describes very broadly the kind of work you’ll do and the industry whom you’ll do it for.
Exactly how you do this kind of research is a longer discussion – and something on which we spend a lot of time working with our clients. But in a nutshell, the majority of your research should involve talking to people in these industries and fields.
Do Market Research
When you’ve narrowed down your options, you should then focus on function. If working in the field of marketing in the transportation industry is one of the possibilities, what might you want to do: brand management? Advertising? Public relations?
Once you’ve decided on the function you’re interested in and a few industries you’re open to working in, that’s when you should begin researching companies and find out what it’s actually like to work for them.
At this point you may very well find that some of those Disney Prince companies still make the list—that’s fine. You may also find that some of those companies that first attracted your interest are no longer on your list. And you may also find that some surprise companies you weren’t aware of have also joined the list.
Get the Job
At ArcVida, we guide clients to successful career transitions. Through our innovative programs, ArcVida job seekers understand what makes them happiest at work, when they've made their best decisions, and who to connect with within their already existing network. Learn more about our programs and how we can set you up for a successful job transition.
Published on 12/7/2018