Welcome to Day 2 of 30 Days of Q&A. Today we are going to talk about job searching and what you should do when you are first approaching the job search.

Before we get started and for those who don’t know me, my name is Janine Esbrand and I am the founder of LightBOX Coaching where I help women to return to work with confidence and to build careers that they love. I am a life and career coach. I am also a lawyer. I am also a mummy to two gorgeous babies and a wife to a wonderful husband. So, that’s a bit about me. Let’s jump in to what we are talking about today.

Today’s question that I’m going answer is, “What is the best way to start my job search?”

I was talking to somebody who is in a role and the question was ‘how do you approach job searching when you are in a role, not happy, not feeling fulfilled in what you are doing but you are not quite sure whether or not it is the role itself that you are doing or whether it is the organisation that you are working for that is making you feel dissatisfied and not contented?‘. 


I was asked that question and I could totally relate.

Because when I was working as a corporate lawyer, I felt as though I wasn’t this happy in the role that I was doing, but I was not quite sure whether it was corporate law and the way that it was practised or whether it was where I worked at that time.

It is important for you to think about what is best in terms of moving from that place of not being sure and why you are not liking what you are doing to a place of trying to find something that is going to work well for you. This is what I would say.

If you are in that place of, “Okay, I want to find a new job”, I will urge you NOT to jump into looking at roles, job boards and approaching recruiters and to dive straight into looking for something.

The reason why I urge you not to do that first is because the likelihood is you are going to end up going into a role that is very similar to the one that you are already in. Because you are going to feel like basically this is my experience, what I have done, and you are just going to start looking for roles that are quite similar to what you are doing already. If you are not feeling fulfilled in your role, you might then go through a hole, repeat the process and find yourself in the same position six months or a year down the line.

This is what I want you to do instead. Instead of just jumping in and looking for a new role, I want you to take some time to do two things.

The first thing is to really think about what it is about your job and the role that you really enjoyed and list that out.

Write it down. It is really good to write things down. To write down what it is you really enjoyed at what you do. Also write down what other things I don’t really enjoy doing.

Then, think about why. Why is that I enjoy this and why is it that I don’t enjoy this other thing? That is going to start getting you care on the things that you like within your day.

You can then start thinking about what my ideal workday would look like. If it is that you like going into meetings or corresponding to people by the phone or spend time and getting your head down and draft in something or be out and about, there are different things you may be doing in your day.

Then you are going to identify what would be the things that I would like to do more. Note those down and know what those are. Really think about what it is you want to be doing more of, what it is that you really enjoy. So that you know when you are searching for a new role in your job search that you are going to look for those opportunities to do more of that. When I told you about what the role looks like and you read the job spec, you know the type of things that you should be looking out for. So, you are doing more of what you like to do in your role.

That’s the first thing to do. List out what you don’t like to do on a day to day and what you really like to do.

The second one is to really think about your values.

What are some of the things that are really important to you? Because if you are able to allow yourself with a role or an organisation that really speak to your values, then the likelihood is you are going to feel far more fulfilled in what you are doing.

For example, if you are somebody who is really passionate about the environment and you like to make sure that you are recycling and looking after the planet, if that is big value or high for you, you are going to want to look for a company that has similar value and not work for someone who is not necessarily environmentally-conscious and maybe doing things that are harming the environment. That is just one example but there lots of other examples where you can think about what your core values are.

Then, you can see whether you can find an organisation that matches that. Organisations often have a mission statement. They often talk about what their values are. They have their core message or branding which is all centred around their values. So, you want to see if you can find something where you are aligning your personal values with theirs. But you can’t do that unless you figure out what yours are.

If you haven’t spent time just thinking that through, then I would suggest that you do that before you start looking for a job. Doing this foundational work– thinking about your values, what you like and what you are good at is going to set you up for going into a job search where you are much more clear about what you are looking for.

There is a famous author, Stephen Covey and he has a quote, which I love: “Start with an end in mind.”

Wherever it is you are creating, whatever it is that you are doing, you should always start with an end in mind. Instead of just going into something, you should think about what my end point is – where am I trying to get into? What goal am I trying to achieve? You think about that and then you work backwards.

So, if this is my end point, then this is what I need to do first. When it comes to your job search, you need to do that.

You need to think:

  • what is my end point?
  • What type of organisation do I want to work for?
  • What type of day do I want to have while I am working?
  • What type of work do I want to be producing?

Figure that out first and you work out backwards. Then start saying, what kind of role should I be applying for then? Where should I be looking for those roles? How can I be talking to people that might be able to introduce me to those type of roles? Do that piece first. That is going to make you far more successful in your job search. When I say success, I mean finding a role that is a really good fit for you.

So you don’t find yourself in a position where you go through the job process, which is long and arduous and takes a lot of time and energy and then find yourself feeling unfulfilled like six months more or a year down the line. That will be my advice and answer to this question. That’s the first thing you should do in your job search.

This is Day 2 and I will be back tomorrow on Day 3.

If you have any friends whom are job searching, please share this video with them. Because this or some of the other questions that I am going to answer over the rest of the month may as well be useful for them in their job search.

Do come and hang outwith me in my private Facebook group, Careers Beyond Motherhood community, where we can continue this conversation. If you have any questions about this topic, you can connect with some other like-minded awesome Mums who are committed to growing and building their careers beyond motherhood.


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