Job Search Requirements Elicitation (Part 1)

Posted on April 30, 2012. Filed under: Job Search Tips | Tags: , , |

job search requirementsby Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)

When most of us begin a job search, we rush into it without taking the time to really assess where it is we want to go. Typically, all we can think about is, “I just need a job.” “I would like it to be in field X.” We shy away from the idea of writing a short-term goals statement or in eliciting the proper requirements for our project: finding a new position. That is why at ITtechExec, we believe in using project management lifecycle terminology to help guide a client through the job search process.

Project Planning Phase

“What do I need to do that for?” “I know what kind of job I want or where I am going.” Although it is true that we may know in our heads what it is we want to do, there is something about the act of putting it in writing (or on screen) that makes it official. When we see it in print, then it becomes real, and it becomes something to which we are accountable. Also, it allows us to have a standard to stick by as we go through our job search. This doesn’t mean that things can’t change, but it should be a backbone to where we are headed.

At ITtechExec, we believe that, before you can build an effective job search strategy, you must first have a clear direction. If you aren’t certain about that, it will be reflected in the type of job search that you conduct and the type of results you achieve. So to help you get started, let’s look at some samples. Part 2 of this series will include some sample questions to follow.

Job Search Requirements Statement

So what should a job search requirements statement include? (1) It should state the direction you want your job search to head in; (2) it should identify the industry and/or position(s) that you are seeking; (3) it should include morals, ethics, and standards that are important to you; (4) it should be focused and not vague, but at the same time not too restricting; and (5) it should give you an ability to measure up potential opportunities against it. In other words, it will serve as a yardstick as you are considering different options or job postings. Does this position match up with my goals, or will it pull me in a different direction?

A lot of times we are worried about the length of a statement. In actuality, it can be as long or as short as you want it to be. However, usually two or three sentences are enough to get your point across.

Sample Requirements Statements

To help you out here, we have provided 2 sample short-term vision statements. Let’s examine the first one:

To further develop my career in academic/scientific publishing by expanding my role as a freelance copyeditor to include more Web-based publishing experience as well as to take on more project management responsibility. To offer my skills, dedication, and resources to a team-oriented environment that is focused on publishing high-quality materials that affect people’s lives for the better. To maintain the flexibility that being an off-site independent contractor affords and to avoid any part-time or full-time in-house positions as a way of ensuring that I am readily available for my daughter.

OK, so what does this sample do? It outlines the industry (academic/scientific publishing), the goal (more Web-based publishing experience and more project management responsibility), the environment (team-oriented), the focus (high-quality materials that affect people’s lives for the better), and the setting (an off-site independent contractor with flexible hours).

What does this sample NOT do? (1) It doesn’t discuss salary, (2) it doesn’t mention specific companies, and (3) it doesn’t discuss how the writer plans on making this happen. Points (1) and (2) are optional. This writer must have decided that she did not want to limit herself in these areas. However, that does not mean that you cannot include them in your statement. Many times we have bottom-line salaries that we want or need to make. If that’s the case, then salary is a good thing to put in your statement because you need to be clear on that. Point (3) we will address in Part 3 of this blog series Right now we want to focus on gathering our requirements. Then we will develop a strategy on how to get there.

Now let’s look at sample 2:

To achieve a director-level position in the Rochester, NY, area in the call center industry with a base salary no less than $125K.

MUST HAVES: Center must do outbound/inbound calls and be spread across multiple locations (2 or 3 in or out of state/region/country). Company must have solid reputation for offering quality products/services and be stable (no layoffs, lawsuits, or startups). Company must offer 3 weeks of vacation (or more) and bonus.

WOULD LIKE TO HAVE: At least 75 representatives, team leaders, and supervisors. A state-of-the-art phone switch. An international footprint. Stock options. A company car.
So what does this sample do? It takes the form of a list, which can be a really great way of getting your desires down on paper. (1) It lays out salary and location clearly. (2) It firmly states what the seeker can live with and without. (3) It gives a sense of the scope of companies that will be able to meet these requirements.

What does this sample NOT do? (1) Although it puts some strict limitations in place, it still allows room for some flexibility. (2) It doesn’t compromise on the things that are most important to the writer. (3) It doesn’t say whether these goals are realistic for this writer. Point (3) will be discussed in more detail in Part 3 of this blog series.

Requirements gathering and documenting shouldn’t take a long time to do, but it is so important because it provides the yardstick that you will need to help you fend off scope creep and stay on task: all problems inherent in any project lifecycle.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount on our solutions. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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