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Modern Job Search Tips for Squiggly Careers

In today’s dynamic professional landscape, the notion of a traditional, linear career path is rapidly becoming obsolete. Careers are becoming more squiggly, with more twists and turns and experimentation. As people search for jobs, I like to encourage them to think about this as a framing for their search. It allows them to shift into curiosity and agency to explore, rather than lock in to a fixed mindset about what they should be doing next.

Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis’s book, “The Squiggly Career,” presents a compelling case for embracing a more flexible, self-directed approach to career development. Here are key principles from the book that are helpful ways to navigate the job search from the inside out.

1. Understand and Align with Your Values

Aligning your job search with your personal values is essential for finding fulfillment and motivation in the long-run. Leaders should:

  • Engage in Self-Reflection: Regularly assess your core values and ensure they align with potential job opportunities and company cultures.
  • Seek Value-Driven Roles: Focus on opportunities that resonate with your values to enhance long-term job satisfaction and fulfillment.

2. Lead With Your Strengths

Leading with your strengths is important to combat imposter syndrome and feelings of inadequacy. Remember to:

  • Identify Your Strengths: Use tools and self-assessments like StrengthFinder to articulate your strengths and the value they bring to an organization or team.
  • Showcase Your Strengths: Highlight these strengths in your resume, cover letter, and interviews to stand out to potential employers.

3. Build Confidence

Building confidence is essential for navigating the uncertainties of a job search. Consider this a moment of learning how to be your biggest cheerleader. Leaders should:

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Invest time in preparing for interviews and networking opportunities so that you know your story and your questions ahead of the conversation. Preparation can include time to write out a script and research the company in advance to line up questions, but it can also include interview prep with friends. Don’t be shy about asking for help.
  • Reprogram Limiting Beliefs: Being open to exploring unconventional roles or career pivots to leverage your skills and experience can feel risky. This may require you to address any limiting beliefs or scarcity mindset that hinders your ability to explore the broader possibilities available to you. You will be doing yourself a service in the long-run by reprogramming these, as they’re probably sabotaging you in other areas of your life too.

4. Cultivate Meaningful Networks

Building and maintaining meaningful relationships is a cornerstone of a successful job search and squiggly career. If this is something you’ve learned later in your career, it’s never too late to start now. Here’s how:

  • Expand Your Network: Actively seek out networking opportunities within and outside your industry. The more diverse your network is, the more interesting perspectives you’ll be able to receive. This can help tremendously with career pivots, non-traditional career moves, and more empowering decision-making.
  • Leverage Existing Connections: Reach out to your existing network for advice, referrals, and support. It may feel scary at first, but you’d be surprised how many people are happy to help.

5. Explore Future Possibilities

Even if you’re not actively looking for a job right now, it’s a good idea to continuously explore what future possibilities peak your interest. You can:

  • Stay Informed: Keep up with industry trends and emerging opportunities to identify potential career paths.
  • Stay Open to Change: Embrace the idea of pivoting to different roles or sectors that align with your skills and interests.

Additional Practical Applications for Job-Searching Leaders:

  • Adopt a Flexible Mindset: Be open to various types of roles and industries that can utilize your skills and experience.
  • Regular Self-Check-Ins: Regularly review your job search strategy, goals, and progress to stay aligned with your values and strengths. Make sure that your self-beliefs are healthy and you are connected with yourself in an empowering way.
  • Balance Your Efforts: Maintain a healthy balance between job searching and personal well-being to sustain motivation and energy.

Don’t be afraid to chart your own path in a way you’ve never seen done before. Embracing that your squiggly career is uniquely yours to define is an important mindset shift in an increasingly dynamic world.

Do you need a career coach to help you navigate your career path?  Schedule a call to get started.

Hi, I’m Nancy and I partner with mid-senior leaders and changemakers who are invested in solutions for positive change.  I offer custom leadership development programs, tools and practices, and deeper transformations to help them navigate their career with more purpose, effectiveness, and confidence.

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