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How to Get the Job You Want

How to Get the Job You Want

While many of us dream about landing the perfect job, very few people have a serious strategy or plan to discover what it might be and what it takes to win that role. Surprisingly perhaps, success is a simpler affair than you may realize and there are just three key steps that should be adopted.

STEP 1: Know yourself and why you are looking for this particular type of job, work or career.

You should…

  1. Clearly know your specific job or career goals and expectations (both short and long-term)
  2. Know why you are looking for new work or new work challenges in real and tangible terms
  3. Know what sort of work or career you are looking for and why
  4. Be able to describe your skills and experiences as they relate to any given job or career you are seeking:
    1. Your specific skills
    2. Your general abilities
    3. Your related experiences
    4. Your education and related training
    5. Any volunteer work that may be relevant etc
  5. Know and be able to describe your personal achievements (in or outside work)
  6. Be genuinely motivated, prepared and persistent about the job you want
  7. Be aware of any anticipated problem area in your work in the past and how you would compensate for it
  8. Be positive and confident about your future success at all times (having a positive attitude)

STEP 2: You must know about the possible unit/department or employer, the wider setting or industry of which they are part of, and what they are looking for when they recruit.

You should…

  1. Know your target organization’s goals (for example: to expand significantly within the next two years)
  2. Know their expectations of you – e.g. get a job description/selection criteria if you can
  3. Know their selection/recruitment methods:
    1. How they recruit and what they are looking for (is it an interview and/or test and/or trial etc?)
    2. Where and when they recruit – do they advertise internally, use agencies, the newspaper, internet, job boards, or other ways?
  4. Have some knowledge of the unit/department/employer and their services/products- e.g.
  5. Get a hold of their product/service description or marketing materials
  6. Check out any brochures, internet websites or advertising material you can find

STEP 3: You must be able to relate the information on your skills, experiences and achievements in such a way as to mirror what the unit/department or employer is specifically looking for.

Many individuals go to interviews only prepared to present their skills and how they relate to work that they have done in the past. To be successful in your job search you must mirror, as closely as you can, the characteristics, qualities, skills and experiences that the unit/department or employer is looking for. They are only interested in what you can do for them – not what you did for someone else! And don’t forget, apart from specific competencies for the job, the general skills that employers are looking for include:

  1. Collecting, analyzing and organizing information
  2. Communicating ideas and information
  3. Planning and organizing activities
  4. Working with others and in teams
  5. Using mathematical ideas and techniques
  6. Solving problems
  7. Using technology

Of course, these three steps do not guarantee success. However, if they are rigorously pursued, they should make a very positive difference and you will be more likely to win better matched and more interesting work in the future.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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