Dr. Jacqueline Lambiase is a Professor of Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University. Her areas of focus include public sector communication and planning, representations of gender, race, and sexualities in media and advertising, computer-mediated and social media communication, and public relations ethics.
Here is what Jacqueline had to say when we asked her about creating your job search plan:
What is the first step you should take when searching for a job?
Take stock of the range of jobs you might be interested in doing and the range of careers you might want. You should do this by casting a big net, not a small one. Then think, what is the first seat I want to sit in and how will that help me get to where I want to be? In doing so, remember to think of roles that are “adjacent possible.” By “adjacent possible” I mean think of your ideal job and what else could be similar to that—roles or companies that you might not have considered before. For instance, if you want to work as a music producer, but no one is hiring for that specific role, try applying for a sales or operations position at Spotify or a radio station to learn about the music industry. Remember, you do not have to stay at one job for your entire life, so just getting your foot in the door and gaining experience at a company is valuable.
Once you have made your target list of companies/positions, what are the next steps you should take?
First, become a student of those companies and organizations. Keep up to date with their news and what’s going on with them. Second, take inventory of the jobs they have available at the moment. Then ask yourself these questions: Are you okay with doing one of those jobs? Do you have those capabilities? If you don’t have the competencies needed to succeed in the role, recognize if there is anything you can do to get them if this is your must-have role.
What is an informational interview?
A way to talk to somebody working in a role that you might like to be in yourself someday. It is a way for someone to help you (in a way that is an easy ask for him or her). You can conduct an informational interview over coffee, as a phone call, or with a Zoom call. Professionals want to help students and young people, so most individuals are more than happy to discuss their experiences with you for 30 minutes. Before you connect for an informational interview, be sure to prepare questions ahead of time. Some good questions to ask include: What led you to work at this company? What does a typical day look like for you? What does your company look for in potential hires? Are there any new departments at your company? How would you characterize your company’s culture? Informational interviews open doors and allow you to understand a company better.
As you progress through your career, how do your job search tactics change?
When you’re first starting out in your career, you usually apply for a job because you meet its requirements and expectations. Once you have spent some time in the workforce, you should reflect upon your skillset. What is your expertise? Are you an expert in resilience or C-suite mentoring? Go to companies that are lacking in your area of expertise and explain how you can add value to their organization. In articulating your value be sure to discuss the contributions you made at your previous companies, how they made a difference, and how you will be a problem solver filling in gaps at this company. The best way to know what companies need is to constantly keep up with how the word is changing.
What is your most important takeaway when it comes to creating your job search plan?
Be flexible and open. Think about opportunities that you never envisioned for yourself. You can get into roles by accident! One experience can inspire you to do something you never even imagined.
Dr. Jacqueline Lambiase is a Professor of Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University. Her areas of focus include public sector communication and planning, representations of gender, race, and sexualities in media and advertising, computer-mediated and social media communication, and public relations ethics. Since 2010, Jacqueline has consulted with or spoken to groups about earning their share of discussion in social media and public relations opportunities, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, Lockheed Martin, and Children’s Medical Center-Dallas. Before teaching at TCU, she was a tenured faculty member at the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. Jacqueline also served as a spokeswoman for Potomac Edison, an East Coast electric utility serving Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, and worked as a wire editor, business reporter, and news editor at several suburban newspapers owned by the Belo Corp.