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Apply the Genius Habit to Your Job Search

Being able to navigate a job search seamlessly is imperative in the changing landscape of work. While a job search can be intimidating, you need to get used to the idea because you will have to go through the job interview process many times over the course of your career. Gone are the days when most people stayed with the same company — or even the same industry — for their entire careers.

To find the right new job, you need to become a job search ninja. A job search ninja is fearless about the prospect of navigating a change and confident in their value. If it’s clear that things aren’t ideal in your current role, start the job search with excitement and a plan. The less fear you have about changing jobs, the more powerful you will be in terms of guiding your career toward your vision and in the direction you want to go.

I’ve met many people who avoid the job search entirely. They stay in jobs they don’t like because they are overwhelmed at the prospect of searching for new ones. They simply don’t know where to begin and don’t understand the process, especially regarding the ever-evolving ways that technology and social media have changed recruiting. These people are unprepared to face the rejections that invariably come or the arduousness of identifying the right targets. They also lack clarity on how to speak about themselves, what value they bring, and what they are looking for.

Once you know your “Zone of Genius,” there will be infinite possibilities for you to explore, but sometimes the infinite possibilities are what make finding a job so daunting. The job search is an area in which you can use your genius and your purpose to narrow down your search. Start with organizations or types of work that are meaningful to you. Is there an opportunity for you to impact directly another person who is aligned with your purpose? Is the company delivering or creating a product or helping people in a way that’s connected to your purpose? If not, keep looking.

Once you have identified areas of work or companies that may be a good fit for your purpose, look at the specific jobs and potential roles that could use your genius. Use the kind of thinking and problem-solving that you’re best at and compare your genius to the job opportunities. When you land the interview, you can find out more information about how often you would be able to use your genius on a day-to-day basis. If the job has no opportunity for you to use your genius, it’s not the right job for you.

Lastly, try to get a sense of the culture at every company you interview with. A sense of connection with the person you would be reporting to is a great place to start in terms of figuring out whether you would be a good fit for the team. Many people take jobs they think will look good on their resumes, or they have waited so long to start looking for new opportunities that they are burned out on their current jobs and take the first offers that come along. However, if you are so desperate to leave your old job that you don’t take the time to vet properly the new company and manager, you will likely end up right back where you started: unhappy and looking for a way out.

Have faith that the right opportunity will come your way, and until then, dig into the process and do a lot of work. I have clients who come to me in despair saying they left their previous positions and can’t find jobs. Then, I find out they’re only reaching out to two or three companies a week when they should be targeting 10, 15, or 20. If you’re not working, a job search should be your full-time job. If you’re still employed, expect to do less job hunting each day and recognize the process will take more time.

If your job search is taking longer than you expected, get curious. There are probably areas of the interview process in which you can improve, such as how you’re presenting yourself or how thoroughly you’re interviewing a potential employer. Use your search to build grit, and never give up. There are endless opportunities. If you embrace the process as an adventure rather than a chore and become skilled at speaking about yourself, you will end up finding opportunities that you never thought existed.

Excerpted from The Genius Habit: How One Habit Can Radically Change Your Work and Your Life (Sourcebooks 2019) by Laura Garnett.

Laura Garnett is a performance strategist, TEDx speaker, founder of Garnett Consulting, and the creator of the Genius Habit.