How to Choose a Company to Apply To
We’ve all been there at some time during our job search. Now, in these internet-enabled days, we pull up the latest job postings on Monster.com, LinkedIn, even EmployDiversity.com. Then comes the hard work: actually selecting companies to which to apply in such a way that we can provide the best cover letter and the most-targeted resume with the least amount of time and energy.
Applying for jobs is exhausting. Many advisors have likened it to a full-time job in and of itself. Others suggest that the process is so soul-destroying it’s best to provide maximum focus to the effort for a half-day, then do something nice for yourself in the latter part of the day -- lest ye whither on the vine and drop on the ground to be stepped on.
So, it’s important to know how to vet the hundreds of companies any number of these job boards present or that flood into your inbox.
What Do You Value?
Be clear on what’s important to you in your work. Make a short-list of the three-to-five attributes of an organization that guide you in life and work. The reason it’s key to first identify what you value in a workplace is that when you find an environment that is aligned with your values you thrive. You don’t just survive.
When you thrive it’s difficult for coworkers and bosses to refute the positive energy you bring to any team you’re a part of. You feel invigorated, challenged, creative, positive. Customers - internal and external - feel it, and respond in kind.
And when values become misaligned in the organization, you are sensitive and responsive to the changing circumstances. In other words, you know when it’s time to cut and run.
So What Matters?
For instance, it may be that a truly diverse work environment is important to you. You may even be specific about the mix of cultures, languages, races and even religions with which you thrive.
For me, the more diverse a corporate culture and team, the more I find myself excited, energized. I feel as though I can take on the world, because, in a manner of speaking, I am in this sort of work context.
One of my most exciting and rewarding team experiences involved working with teams in nearly a dozen countries throughout Asia. I was able to use my technology, writing, cross-cultural and language skills. I thrived in the environment, and any of the teams with which I engaged reflected the high-level of joy I brought to the engagement.
So, if the diversity of the environment really is important to you, do a bit of research on the companies for which you think you might be a fit. Just because the company posts on a diversity job site, doesn’t mean it is diverse.
Of course, industry is important. Perhaps you’ve plowed years of training and experience into a single industry. Perhaps, though, you feel you need a change. So identify the industries that truly interest you. There may be some you believe you’ll gain more from than with others.
Only Limited by Your Imagination
A list of criteria that matters to you in searching for companies may include:
Truly diverse employee environment
Professional development programs
What other core values would you consider in your job search?