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Most people who decide to join a Master program are looking to improve their job prospects, or they plan a career change. Finding a job is a crucial task, thus BSM Career Service invited Katie Annice Carr to give a workshop to our MSc students to guide them in developing an efficient job search strategy based on their skills, experience, personal interests and goals.
Mrs. Carr is a coach, facilitator and consultant who focuses specifically on using the expressive arts to develop creativity, leadership, communication and teams in companies, business schools and individuals. She uses a mixture of approaches from her background in business and law, many years in international strategic communication, and her training as a coach and art therapist. She has developed and taught careers development courses for business master‘s students in seven different business schools in four countries.
In her workshop she focused on four key steps which a student looking for a job should take in order to develop an efficient and competitive job search strategy:
Make your own rules:
This is all about knowing where you want to go, where you want to work and what do you want to do. According to Mrs. Carr, “knowing where you want to get is extremely important because if you do not have a goal, it is pretty hard to reach it”. Therefore, this is the moment in which you should think about what kind of role you would like to achieve for your next career step, in which sector you would like to be working and where geographically speaking. This is the moment when you ask yourself: how do I imagine my life? How much responsibility do I want? How many hours per day do I want to work? You need to be aware of the deal you are going to make.
For example, if you want to work in Investment Banking, you will probably have significant financial rewards, but you trade that for your social life and family, because of the nature of the sector itself. If you work for a startup, you may get many more responsibility and applied experience faster than you would working for a big corporation, but may you sacrifice financial stability and possibly working hours for it. “The more you think about the skills you want to use, the experience you want to gain, and where you want to work, the better. This will allow you to find the best company match for you, rather than trying to adapt yourself to fit into what a company wants”.
List your target companies:
This is the moment in which you need to prioritize companies. “You should to do this because the other option of going with the flow and seeing what comes up is not strategic and will end up with you being just one of the many applicants”. Therefore, you need to structure your companies strategically. For instance, you can start making a list by thinking of your dream companies, companies that recruit from BSM and companies actively looking for people with your profile, also keep an eye on companies trending as “up and coming”. Add them all to your list and find out more about each. You can prioritize them by your motivation to apply, whether they have positions open and whether they already employ BSM alumni.
Extend your network:
Now you know what you want to do, where you want to be, and you already have a list of companies to apply to. The next thing to do is to start making contacts. Do not start from the top, avoid contacting CEOs or anyone in HR. Your targets should be people you have a connection with (other alumni, contacts, etc.) or that are currently covering the position you want to get in. Always do it on a structured way and never rush this process, your goal here would be obtaining a phone call or a meeting. At this stage you are not asking for a job, the idea is to find out more about the company, sector or role.
Gain insights and contacts from informational institutions:
If you did the first three steps properly, then you need to be ready for a meeting or a phone call, this is the so-called informational interview. Remember here you are the interviewer not the other way around. Nevertheless, you need to make a good first impression and be prepared to answer questions about the company, the sector and the position. Through the informational interview, you will gain important information which may help you get a job in that organization or help you to decide if you are proceeding in the right way for you.
Although at first this might look like a time-consuming process, it is worth it. To quote Mrs. Carr: “By using a strategic approach, you are controlling the job search situation rather than letting it control you (which can be very stressful). Basically, if you manage to use a structured approach in your job search strategy, you will get a very high return on investment in terms of time because by doing so you are setting yourself apart from the competition”.