Monday, January 28, 2019

The Critical Element You May Be Missing in Your Job Search

This seems to be the time of year when a lot of people are jumping ship for a new gig. People are seeking new challenges -- or feel unsettled by the current instability of their industry.

As you search for new employment opportunities, it's important that you look not only at the qualifications you need for a certain position, but also the culture of the company that interests you.

This is important because  you're not likely to be happy in a culture that is dramatically different than what you like, but also because you're more likely to be hired when you seem to "get" the culture of an organization. In other words, the employer sees you as someone who fits in and won't be a major pain in the ass because you're constantly butting heads with everyone.

For example, if a company's website talks about how it's a free-wheeling culture, where everyone "works until they drop with elated exhaustion" and then "goes for more," this might clue you into the fact that you would be working some long hours and even weekends. This might not fit in with your life if you have a young family to tend to or simply don't want to work so much.

But, if you're the kind of person that lives to work, wants to have the freedom to do what you want when you want and collaborate with other hard-core go-getters, then this might be a better fit for you.

Here are some ways to check out a cultural fit when before submitting your resume:

1. Use social media. Check out the company's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, and look for things that might be a good fit or a warning sign. Do you prefer to work in a more traditional office and the Instagram feed shows employees in their pajamas playing beer pong during a conference call?
2. Check out current employees. Look on LinkedIn for those who currently work at the company, and then search for them online through social media or professional industry sites. Do these employees appear to post blogs or tweets that you consider offensive? Or, do they post smart comments about industry trends? Do they appear to be creative or stuck in a rut?
3. Follow the leaders. A company website may tout a culture that really appeals to you, but keep in mind this might not be a true representation of how the company actually functions. Do some research on the leadership, looking for interviews with the leaders or articles or blog posts they may have written. Look for Reddit feeds to see if the leadership is discussed -- you may get some red flags warning that the leadership doesn't really walk the talk.

Finally, remember that stepping outside your boundaries can be good for your career. You don't want to only work with those who are in lockstep with how you think and work, so don't let cultural differences hold you back. Just make sure that you're going into a different culture with your eyes wide open -- so no whining about it later.

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