A job is the manifestation of a temporary need; even if it lasts for years, the need is fleeting. It is the product of a person deciding to pay for help.
Because this need is fleeting, what matters far more than the job are the people with whom you will be working. Your relationship with them—and the caliber of their character—will determine whether your decision to work there was wise or not.
Let's be honest... looking for a job is the toughest, lowest-odds challenge you will ever pursue. It subjects you to a highly competitive, often-demeaning process. In many cases, you end up competing for a position you would be foolish to take. You may even lie to yourself for weeks at a time, in an effort to "win"... and only at the end do you realize this would be a miserable career move.
Search for relationships, not jobs
Find people you want to know better.
Meet people who want to know you better.
Identify others you would gladly spend time with even if they weren't paying you.
This is how you find true opportunities.
When top executives and entrepreneurs talk about hiring, they often describe the importance of hiring someone they genuinely like and respect. Why should looking for your next career move be any different?
You might be tempted to think that my advice is impractical and idealistic, that I don't understand how tough the job market is or how badly you need a job.
In truth, sending off one resume after another is a slow route to nowhere. Read the statistics for how many people apply for the jobs you want. 500? 750? Is your resume really that good to get you to the front of the pack?
But for every resume sent, at most just a few people send personal notes to people who hire others every year. If you write a short, focused, and intelligent note to an executive, eight times out of ten you will get a personal reply.
I'm not suggesting you write personal notes asking for a job. I'm suggesting you write personal notes about anything else, to foster a new connection.
So change your mindset. Use social media to spark new relationships. Read what others write—and share—and follow up with personal comments; don't just post a comment online, actually send that person a note. Explain what you liked about their share.
Even better, help them in a small way. Make a suggestion, or share a tip of your own. Demonstrate your expertise in a generous and professional manner.
Do the same things in person. Attend events with the intention to help others and to make new connections. Instead of hanging with the two or three people you already know, use initiative to build new connections.
Never, ever stop looking for high-caliber people with whom you would love to partner. Yes, I said partner. If you merely take a job, you are a temporary holder of a financial wage. But if you choose your partners wisely, you will enhance your career and discover one great opportunity after another.