Irrespective of the individual components, we have to remember that this is a two-phase problem. In programming we call this an XOR vs. AND concept. (To refresh your memory, these are simple programming-logic problems—an Exclusive OR (XOR) means that of two conditions only one is or can be true; the AND logic requires that both conditions must be true.)
In the real world there are shades of gray. If a couple agrees to endure a temporary hardship (for an ultimate gain) that is a perfectly legitimate solution. Consider the classic example of one spouse supporting another for 5 to 7 years while s/he obtains a medical degree. A lifetime of income and job security is probably worth that level of difficulty.
Locating that "Best Job"
Flexibility is also required in simply finding the job-of-your-dreams. Going down to Kinko's and printing 200 copies of your résumé is a complete waste of money. If you can afford that, you can afford to buy a cheap multifunction printer and a package of nice, heavy bond paper.
You can have a template of your résumé with all your skills on it, but you should never send it to anyone. Every single job gets a brand new unique résumé tailored for the position you're seeking. Use identical language to what was used to describe the position. If they use "programmer" you use "programmer", too. Not "coder"; not "software engineer"; not "cyber technologist". There have been résumés for programming positions that never used the word even one time. That is not creative, or innovative—it's self-defeating and pointless.
On the other hand, traditional descriptions are frequently falling by the wayside. Nowadays we see descriptions such as "guru", "evangelist", and even "digital prophet". If they're using them, you use them as well. The first step is to get by their applicant tracking software so that a human being looks at your application. Use their own key words.
Directing your effort
- Networking should represent 60% of your effort—that is an axiom
- Alumni associations and college employment offices can provide leads or actual job listings
- Events, either professional or charity, can give you direct access to important people. Attend and chat with them; ask what it is like to work at their company; discover what sort of expectations they have for new hires. Make sure you have a supply of clean, fresh, good-looking business cards
- LinkedIn—all the usual rules apply—network, be an upstanding member of the community most closely-associated with your desired line of work; help others and seek advice from those more experienced than yourself
- Judicious use of Job Boards—less than 20% of your effort—most jobs come from the hidden job market (Networking)
- Use SKILLED Head-hunters, not box-checkers—good recruiters get to know you and your skills. Don't waste your time with the ones that just tick off boxes. They will have a very low placement rate anyway and they're not worth your time.
- Learned phone skills—during a phone interview you'll be asked a number of questions but don't be passive. Early in the interview it's important to ask three questions to set you apart from everybody else.
- What is the primary focus of this position?
- What are the biggest challenges of this position?
- How will my success be assessed?
Be better than the competition. Invest some time in informational interviews. Find someone who already has the position you seek or something similar. Approach them in a friendly manner and see if they would be willing to meet you for coffee or drinks so you can pick their brains. You'll develop insights that many or all of your competitors will lack. Here are some questions you could ask:
- What's your typical day like?
- Where are the advantages or drawbacks of your job?
- Would you have tackled problem-x in a different way?
Hone your pitch
Always use the active voice—"I created a 35% year-over-year savings..." or perhaps "I took over a 'failed project'—at my own request—and turned it into our third biggest money-maker in under a year." Never, ever say "responsibilities included.”
Speak slowly and don't attempt to "fill silences.” Take a three second pause before answering a question—it may seem like “forever," but it is actually very short. It has the added bonuses of giving you both the time to reflect on what you're going to say and making you look deeply thoughtful.
Smile. Employers hire people they like.
You don't "want them to give you a job". You're here "to demonstrate how you can solve problems for them" and be an asset to the company. Instead of being a hobo looking for a handout, your a forward-thinking active-contributor that's going to make a difference.
If you're flexible that means you can adapt to the changing priorities of a business. If you may not have all the skills they need, but if you make it clear that you're ready to learn and become even better and more useful to them, you're a premier candidate. A Dallas technical recruiter will do their best to match your skills with a company that needs them.
If the company is flexible as well, and the requirements of your job allow for it, you might find yourself on a flex-time schedule where you come into the office to work when necessary, and leave when you're done. Nowadays there's even a likelihood that you could telecommute up to 100% of the time. Presently we're connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The days of 8–4, 9–5, or 10–6 are rapidly fading into history.
The future is already here… You just didn't notice!