A young engineering friend made a bold and adventurous move after graduation two years ago. He moved from Kansas City to South America (Santiago, Chile, to be exact).
Although it required him to teach English for awhile after his arrival, he ultimately secured an engineering job that leveraged his mechanical engineering degree. Now he’s ready to return to the United States to continue building his engineering career.
I’m very excited for my friend and want to help him in whatever ways I can. As a result, my mind has been racing with ideas about his situation and questions to ask when he arrives here late in January. His plan is to move back and live with his parents in KC while he conducts his search for a position in Colorado.
Ideas To Help Build a Long Distance Search Strategy
As so often happens with my brain, when I’m noodling on a question or challenge, the ideas usually begin bubbling up very early in the morning while I’m still in bed. This happened again yesterday as I pondered the challenges my friend will face with his long distance search.
Finally, when the idea list got so long that I knew I wouldn’t remember everything later, I rolled out of bed, went to my office, and started typing away at my computer.
Although the initial list ended up with well over two dozen bullets on it, I selected the following five questions for my friend (or you) to use as starting points for building his search strategy.
Dear Engineering Friend, Start By Answering These 5 Questions:
- What Are You Seeking? This question speaks directly to what Steven Covey shared with Habit #2 in his classic book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit #2 was: Begin With The End in Mind.
This means taking time to reflect and get clarity on work/life questions related to the type of locale you’re looking to live in, the type of company and culture that fits you best, and most importantly, the type of work you believe you’ll be most satisfied doing.
Clarity around these questions is critical to being able to talk concisely and confidently in your upcoming interviews.
- Who’s On Your Side? Take stock of who’s in your network currently and who might be best positioned to offer you their support.
At the same time, consider how you’ll expand your network in a way that helps you, but also supports others. For this challenge, I recommend this book highly.
Two of the very best starting points are your college career center, and the alumni center. Both are staffed with caring professionals who are committed to helping you. They should be your Job Search BFFs.
Plus, the alumni database is full of graduates who you already have a unique connection with. I’ll bet there are some who live in Colorado who would love to help you.
- What’s Your Personal Brand? Managing who you are and how you’re seen by the rest of the world is not easy, especially in today’s online environment. But you have no choice.
Like it or not, company recruiters and hiring managers are going to be searching to learn whatever they can before they extend you an offer. It’s your job to make sure your “house” is in order before you begin your search.
A wonderful resource I wrote about here is business consultant Tom Peters’ classic article, A Brand Called You. Although it was written in 1997, it’s still relevant today and provides a handy roadmap for building your brand.
- Have You Established “Job Central”? A job search is something that requires keeping many balls in the air at the same time. Managing and keeping commitments is especially critical.
To manage all of the moving pieces, I believe you need to establish what David Allen refers to as a “logical and trusted system” for managing your contacts, your data, your actions, your follow-up, everything!
David Allen is a well-known productivity guru who wrote the hugely popular book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity.
- Are You Committed? Probably the most common advice given by career advisors to job hunters is this, “Finding a job is a full-time job”. I agree completely.
Get ready for one of the toughest jobs of your life. Treating your job search like an 8-10 hour/ day job is the approach that will yield the best ROI for your search efforts.
Friend, I wish you all the best with your search. Please know that you can lean on me at anytime for support. Regards, Don
Question: From your experience, what job search advice would you offer my adventurous engineering friend? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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