Planning for the “what ifs” in your job search.

Have you seen the new Liberty Mutual car insurance commercial? It made me think of the spreadsheets I have my career coaching clients use when searching for the “perfect job.” After we analyze the results of their personality and career assessments, they can easily outline what the new job should have in terms of position, duties, company culture, benefits, perks, and more. Their goal is clear: secure the perfect job. Unfortunately, they are so focused on achieving a certain outcome that they forget to plan for the process, and the potential wrecks that can occur along the way.

The job search can be overwhelming. Identifying positions, revising your resume, interviewing, negotiating offers, and nailing it all takes a lot of time and consideration. It may feel like you don’t have the capacity to factor in the “what if” scenarios, but that’s just as important as ticking off the other boxes. What if you get two great offers? What if you get an offer that doesn’t tick all of the boxes, but you feel compelled to take it due to external pressures such as time, money, family, graduation, or coursework? How to navigate these difficult situations will vary from person to person based on the criteria that can and can’t be compromised. Are you expecting a child? You probably don’t want to compromise the healthcare benefit. Really bad at saving for the future? Matching 401k benefits help. Worried about cultural fit? Contact your underutilized college or university Alumni Office. It’s very possible there is an alum working for the company who can answer some questions without the hard sell.

My clients are lucky: I force them to think about and plan for these scenarios. You can, too. Weigh your pros and cons, then take your analysis one step further; discuss your options with a family member, friend, or advisor before these situations come up. Doing so will help you achieve your goals with a lot less stress.

Posted on August 16, 2015 .