4 Things I’ve Learned During My Job Search

After 5ish years, I’m no longer at Topstep. Breakups are always hard, but once the mourning period is over, it’s refreshing to emerge from the trenches and see what the rest of the world is up to. I can’t say I’m an expert in job searching (after all this is my very first job search… ever!), but I can say I’ve learned a lot over the past few weeks that I’m happy to share below.

1. Your Network is Everything

We all have a network of people – friends, family, colleagues and community – that you should connect with as soon as possible, even before you’re ready to start your search. This is my first learning: your network is everything, it’s more expansive than you think, and they’re willing to help. I have found it surprisingly simple, especially via LinkedIn, to reach out to past, present and potential contacts, and everyone has been extremely generous with their time and suggestions.

2. Hone Your Story

Once you’ve connected with your network, be prepared to share concisely what’s led you to today’s conversation and where you’d like to head next. That’s my second learning: hone your story. People want to be helpful, but they need to know the basics, such as what your superpowers are and where you’d like to apply them (e.g. job title, industry, geographic location, stage of business, etc.). Don’t worry if your initial story falls flat. Ask for feedback, refine it with each meeting, and practice, practice, practice.

3. Be Diligent

Even as your story tightens and improves, don’t forget that your search process is a two-way conversation, so my third learning is be an active listener, take great notes and follow up as promised – in short, be diligent. I know I can’t rely on my memory. I’ve had hundreds of conversations, far too many to recall every detail and next step. So I lean heavily into Google Keep (for notetaking), Google Sheets (as my rudimentary CRM) and the snooze function on Gmail (to remind me when I need to follow up).

4. Patience is a Virtue

Lastly, I need to remind myself that I’m very particular about the type of role I’m looking for. In short, I want to be in the c-suite for a tech-first business with a strong bias toward growth that leverages my strengths in sales & marketing, strategy, M&A and team development. Given that specificity, I’ve learned another important lesson: I need to be patient, because the perfect role is unlikely to be available today… but perhaps it will be tomorrow.

In conclusion, if you too have looked for a job recently, you have probably learned similar lessons: tap your network, sharpen your story, follow up and be patient. For those of you that haven’t explored the job market in a bit and are preparing yourself for that journey, I hope these 4 lessons prove beneficial. I have found the process to be fun, wild, crazy, exhilarating, maddening, and all-in-all enjoyable. I hope you will find it the same.