When embarking on a job search, it’s tempting to start by identifying your ideal position title and simply applying to those roles. However, this is quite a restrictive approach and can actually hinder your job search. By taking an employer-focused approach, you can explore roles that you may have never considered before, or even create your own job proposal. One of the key factors to examine in an employer-focused approach is finding a company whose values align with yours. Ultimately, this type of cultural fit will help you stay happier and more motivated far more than any special perks. There are a few steps to take to identify the right companies for you, let’s take a look.
Set Your Personal Priorities
In order to find a company that aligns with your values, you first need to establish what those values are and which ones are essential, nice to have, or low priority in importance. At the same time, you need to know what values or practices are unacceptable to you. Take a piece of paper and divide it into four grids, label each one accordingly to the principles above and try to fill in at least 3-5 things in each section.
Some things you might consider are:
- Political or religious affiliations
- Social mission
- Charity support
- Volunteering program
- Environmental impact commitment
- Diversity and Inclusion
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Maybe you want to work for a company that has a give-back model, such as those that donate an item for each one purchased. Or, perhaps it’s important to you that a company prioritize its workers’ health at every level, from the factory floor to the C-suite? If so, include this in your list.
Once you have a clear set of priorities and you’ve sorted them into different levels, it will be easier to assess and target the right companies for you.
Research Potential Companies of Interest
Using your established values, you can actually work backwards to create a list of companies that you’re interested in targeting in your job search. Searching for companies who have made their mission and values public is an excellent way to begin your job hunt. Most companies will have information on their websites that share any charities they support or ethics that they are committed to. Build out your research by diving into their social media posts for at least the previous 6-12 months to see if there are any causes they have supported. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, you may also dig to see if you can discover what their response was, as that can shed light on their values as well. Don’t stop at the company’s word though, read reviews from current and past employees and see if they match up. See if you have any connections or even 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn who have experience at a company you’re interested in and ask to speak with them about their time there. Share with the connection why you’re interested in this company in particular, they may have additional ideas of other organizations with a similar ethos. Finally, don’t stop your search at large well-known companies. Many start-ups are especially ethics-driven, and offer a unique opportunity for advancement.
Create a spreadsheet with each potential company listed and note which of your personal values they match in order to make it easier for you to tailor your application materials.
Show That You’re A Good Match
Once you’ve got your list of employers you want to target, it’s time to create an eye-catching application that will stand out. Since you’ve already laid out exactly why you’re enthusiastic about each particular company, it should be straightforward to apply that research to creating a highly tailored resume and cover letter. Make sure to outline any experience you have with organizations or projects that connect to your target company’s mission and values.
Every aspect of your application process should be considered an opportunity to highlight why your values make you a great fit for this employer. From your initial submission to your interview, be sure to emphasize that you’re seeking a position at this company because you feel connected to their core ethics. This will position you as a strong candidate who is prepared to be a fully invested and enthusiastic part of the team.
Search With Intention
By creating an employer-centric job search strategy, you’re more likely to find yourself employed in a company that you’re excited to contribute to. When we feel fulfilled and mission-driven, it motivates us to do a better job, push harder, and grow more. Searching for the right job at the right place isn’t just a smart move for the next step in your career, it can set you up for further success down the line. Set your intention to work in a place that you can feel good about and your job search will feel more purposeful, productive and even exciting.
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