Kelly Poulson
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Coach. Career Navigator. Ass Kicker. Dog mom.

When you realize it’s time to move on from your current role and start a job search, it brings on all the feels. Excitement about the possibility of new challenges, sadness over leaving your work wife and of course, the dread associated with updating your resume. People spend hours, days, or even weeks tweaking the design and the points being made on that one snapshot of their history. I’m not bashing resumes completely, one that’s a solid representation of your work is needed, but I will say that those hours would be better spent doing some other things beyond being hunched over a laptop trying to perfectly capture the results of that last project you lead. A piece of paper alone is very rarely what lands you a job these days. It’s time to get creative and put yourself out there. I can hear the groans and whining already. It doesn’t have to be as painful as process as we make it out to be. 

1. Remember how awesome you are. 

The job search process is one that involves many ups and downs and sometimes shakes your confidence. So, at the start, remind yourself of all of the amazing teams you’ve lead, projects you’ve worked on, impact you’ve had. Don’t lose sight of that simply because you feel that this organization is evaluating you and you need to be anything more than who you are. Part of the job search is evaluation the companies just as much as they are you. Don’t forget that! According to Kim Hughes, Talent Acquisition Manager at CMI Media, “Confidence is key in a job search as well as the interview.  Showing the interview team that you are confident and believe in yourself can often make a big difference.  Trust yourself and you will gain trust.”

2. Find your dream organization. 

Is there a brand that you’d do just about anything to work for? Get to know them. Dig online, reach out to connections that you or a friend of a friend has within the organization. Find out what challenges they are facing daily. Be as curious as possible and find out everything you can. Once you’ve identified their challenges, brainstorm how you could help them tackle those issues.  Word on the street is that they struggle hiring entry level talent? It just so happens you can tell the story of how you created and built an internship program that brought in amazing top talent that have been impacting your current organization for years. You might be just the person to use those skills to solve their existing business challenges. (And we all have challenges - even the dream orgs!) 

3. Listen to your green-eyed monster. 

Whose job do you totally envy? It’s ok to admit. We all have people in our lives whose jobs seem amazing and make us feel jealous. Start to notice not only the who but think a little more about the why. What is it about your sister’s job that you don’t have in yours? And then connect with those people! Ask them to share their stories and the paths that lead them to that work to begin with. Best case scenario, their job is as dreamy as you’d always thought and hey, it just so happens they are hiring on their team. Worst case, you put yourself out there and don’t get a response. You could not get a response by doing nothing as well. At least you tried and will feel more ready to do it again next time something intriguing comes along. 

4. Put yourself out there. 

Here it is. I’m going to say it. Maybe you should (gasp!) go to events. Or..wait for it….actually engage on social media. By that I don’t mean put in all CAPS bold on your summary that you’re looking for a new job. I mean, share articles about stuff you find fascinating. Maybe comment on something that someone else shared that you thought was interesting. Show that you’ve got passion for your work in some way. Whether it’s sharing articles you find, books you dig, or even writing something of your own, you don’t know who will look at it and think, hmmm, we really need to fill that project manager gig and this person seems so passionate about that space and has done some interesting work. But if you post nothing, they only see a profile. According to Hughes, “Don’t forget to keep those connections alive after you land the dream job.  Don’t just use your connections to get there- cultivate and maintain your network for the future. It will make landing the next next great gig that much easier.

5. Get to the heart of the matter. Think about what impact you are looking to have and what results you will bring to an organization. And don’t simply talk about it in biz speak. Insert emotions, tell stories, connect on a human level. Share your passion for making an impact and it will attract the right organizations and contacts for you. 

Getting hired isn’t easy. And it’s also not simply a moment in time. Think of your career as one long interview process. Be you. Perform your best. And build relationships and maintain connections who seek you out once they’ve got an opening on the team because they’ve admired your work for years. Not because of one conversation or one resume. 

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Kelly is a human resources pro and coach who helps people find and achieve what they want career-wise and beyond. Coaching, training, recruiting – if you name it in the world of HR, she's done it in a variety of industries. Her advice has been featured on The Muse, Career Contessa, Levo, Workology, among others. Learn more by scoping her out at www.kellypoulson.com.