How to Land A Career, Not Just a Job

May 20, 2021 | Kelli Howard

You have dreamt about your career and you have put in the blood, sweat, and tears to get to this point, but do you have a plan for how you are truly going to secure a career?

Notice I said career and not job. This was not by mistake. You should be looking for a company who will help you build a strong foundation in your career path. It is important to evaluate a company’s culture, benefits, training, community service, etc. because your career is going to be more than just the work you are expected to perform day in and day out. In time, you will redefine what your work looks like as you bring new ideas to your role, and work as part of a team that helps take your company to the next level, whether that is in service, technology, or innovation.

Sound too good to be true? It doesn’t have to be. Such an opportunity can be your career path if you find a company that supports you with the training and mentoring needed to grow your skillset.

Let’s discuss the process and factors that will ensure you are embarking on a career path and not just a job.

First, think of your resume as your handy Swiss Army pocket knife fully equipped with a can opener, toothpick, corkscrew, and scissors. Now, you wouldn’t use all of these tools at once or even for the same problem. In the same sense, you would not send the same resume to different employers, even if it were for a similar job. In today’s machine-learning world, applicant-tracking systems (ATS) have built-in artificial intelligence (AI) to help reduce a recruiter’s workload of sifting through hundreds of resumes, thus allowing them to spend time reviewing only “qualified” applicants. You can spend hundreds of dollars to have the best-written resume, but if you are not including keywords from the job posting, the ATS will throw out your resume without a recruiter ever seeing your beautiful work. So be sure to review the job posting closely and utilize relevant keywords on your resume. Another quick tip – be sure to have others proofread your resume, preferably someone who is in a hiring role at their organization. You can never over proofread!

Next, reach out to your network! This is the single most important action you can take in your job search. Good people know good people. This has been the case for many years and still holds true today. Networking does not necessarily get you the job, but it might just get you the interview. As I described above, getting your resume seen by a human can be very difficult and networking is the first step in the door. By using your resources, you can bypass the applicant tracking black hole and get a step closer to your career.

Contact your references to inform them of who may be calling them to conduct a reference check. The number one rule is DO NOT PICK YOUR FRIENDS. Even if you do not have any work experience under your belt, choose a teacher, coach, or someone who you have taken direction from in the past to give a credible assessment of your character and your skillset.

Lastly, do your homework! Look closely at each company you think you may want to work for in the future. Research the company’s benefits, culture, diversity, and inclusion practices on various platforms. Consider the companies’ size and services. It may be more beneficial to choose a company with a diverse portfolio of services, locations, and positions, as the more options available to you, the faster you will move up in your career. For example, SAM has over 32 office locations across the nation and offers relocation to employees looking to grow their careers. We also work to cross-train employees looking to diversify their skillset and encourage professional development.  With all the resources and opportunities available to you, you can truly create your own career destiny!

At SAM, whether you join us as a field technician or as a senior project manager we provide each team member with a clear career path for their future. In fact, we’ve created an online Career Path Explorer that shows the advancement opportunities for each role at SAM. Check it out here and get started on your career path today.

Kelli Howard

Kelli joined SAM in 2012. She has over 16 years of experience in recruiting, with more than eight in the A/E/C industry. She leads the talent acquisition team, with a primary focus in attracting and retaining top talent.

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