You’re reading an excerpt of Ask Me This Instead: Flip the Interview to Land Your Dream Job, a book by Kendra Haberkorn. This powerful work is written by a veteran recruiter for job-seekers who want to find their dream job—not just the next job. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, worksheets and a question database, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
Thinking about your priorities is only the first step. To pursue them requires an extra layer of attention and intention. Putting your priorities at the foundation of your job search enables and empowers you to focus your efforts and target the roles and companies where you’re most likely to find your match.
If you do not put yourself at the center of the search, the company’s priorities will take precedence throughout your conversations and in the final outcome.
Use this section to proactively articulate what you’re prioritizing at this stage in your career. Once you write it out, you’ll find yourself evaluating everything—a job post, a benefits package, a prospective team dynamic—more confidently.
important Titles matter so much and also not at all. During the job search, titles help you align your understanding of how your experience, career stage, and existing leveling might transition into an open role. Similarly, the titles on your resume will help others understand how they might work with you. Some companies will use industry or functional standards for their titles and others will have bespoke titles because the job doesn’t exist somewhere else. Companies may also label the same or similar work in distinct, unique, or seemingly contrary ways, even within their organization! A director at a Fortune 100 is quite senior within the organization and often deep into their career, whereas a director at a startup might run a function and have seniority within the company early on. Their experience and expertise is unlikely to be the same, though the value that each brings to their organization can be significant.
Occasionally during the recruiting process a title evolves or changes because the team learns more about what they are actually looking for and makes a more precise commitment to a level or framing. Perhaps the original title wasn’t attracting the right talent or the right talent changed the context for the role, and subsequently the best way to label it. In other scenarios, the team is testing titles—putting out the same or similar job descriptions under separate titles to see what attracts the people they’re looking to hire.
The variability, the evolution, the testing are all possible scenarios. What’s most important is for you to understand what the label represents and determine if it matches your expectations and aspirations. If the title doesn’t, but everything else lines up, it might be worth doing some research on how comparable organizations title similar roles in order to start a dialogue with the hiring team about whether a change is possible (note, I’d only do this at the late to final stages—it could be too disruptive to the process early on).
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