One of the principles of being highly effective is “Begin with the end in mind”. This is important advice in a job search. Being clear about where you want to end up will help you chart a course from here to there. Another strong reason for being clear about your goals is that it will make it easier for your network to help you. Here are some of the positive effects your clarity will have on your networking efforts:
More productive networking meetings. Networking meetings are not career counseling sessions. Precious networking time shouldn’t be spent sorting through your skills and passions and figuring out what you might be good at. Networking meetings are effective when you focus on listening and learning from the other person, then present a clear picture of yourself and your objectives.
Shorter sharing. Clear goals are easy to express concisely. Whether at a networking event, mingling at a party or crossing paths in the gym, you will be far better able to share your objectives quickly when you are clear on your goals.
Memorable. Clarity is far more memorable than murkiness. A job seeker who has scattershot objectives is less likely to be remembered than one who can clearly articulate a well thought through goal.
More likely to be passed along. What’s clear and memorable is easier to pass along! Imagine a friend says she is looking for an office manager. Are you more likely to recommend a contact who listed 8 or 10 things they can do, one of which might have been office management, or a contact who presented himself as an experienced, successful office manager, looking to use his skills in this specific area?
Connections seem more obvious. Use your network as extra eyes and ears in the market. They will find it much easier to identify potential connections for you if you’ve given a clear objective.
Greater willingness to share connections. When someone in your network connects you with someone else, their reputation is on the line. They are, in a sense, vouching for you. People are far more willing to do that if you show you’ve done the work to come up with clear objectives. If you’re perceived as a job seeker who will take anything, your network contacts may be less likely to risk their own reputation by helping you.
When people think of you and your job search, it should be crystal clear what you are looking for. They should think “She’s a ___, looking for opportunities to use ___ skills in ____ capacity.” If you don’t have a clear vision of your specialty, it’s a sure thing nobody else does. Help them help you! Be clear in your objectives so it’s easy for your network to help you get there.