Why you should be looking for a boss, not a job

Why you should be looking for a boss, not a job.

If you’re hunting for a job, might I very delicately suggest you may just be hunting for the wrong thing. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m the one who’s always going on about ‘Job Hunting’, but after taking some time out to consider what pearls of wisdom I could share with you all to kick off 2014, I couldn’t help but wonder if you should be hunting for a boss instead of a job.

Think about it. A job isn’t really a thing. You can’t talk to a job. You can’t contact a job. You can’t stay in touch with a job until it agrees to see you. You can’t impress a job. But a boss… now that’s something else entirely. A boss is a person (usually). So maybe a new boss is what you should actually be hunting for.

It may seem like little more than a literary paradigm shift, but a big part of solving any problem is making sure you’re asking the right question.

“How do I find a new job?” is actually quite a difficult question to answer. But “How do I find a new boss?” instantly conjures up a whole heap of ideas about the kinds of places you might find that boss and what you might do when you do find them. Which brings me to the actual subject of today’s blog: Networking.

You see, if I’d started off with that I would most likely have lost you all in the biggest yawn of all time. For some reason, ‘Networking’ gets quite a bad reaction. It feels… dirty. Let me tell you this though, ‘networking’ isn’t a dirty word. It is easily one of the most important parts of not just your job hunting process, but your entire career. I’ve even come up with a series of 10 tips for networking that you can view on YouTube:

1. Job Hunting Networking Tip #1: Turn up ready for action
2. Job Hunting Networking Tip #2: Where do you go?
3. Job Hunting Networking Tip #3: Making meeting people easier
4. Job Hunting Networking Tip #4: Anticipate and prepare
5. Job Hunting Networking Tip #5: It’s about give and take (but mostly give)
6. Job Hunting Networking Tip #6: Have a great ‘elevator pitch’
7. Job Hunting Networking Tip #7: Business cards are still important
8. Job Hunting Networking Tip #8: Be the best version of you
9. Job Hunting Networking Tip #9: Find ways to add value
10. Job Hunting Networking Tip #10: ‘No’ is not your enemy

You can view the introduction below:

Networking will help you meet your next boss – before they even have a job to give you. The chances of meeting someone during the three or four week window where they’re looking to hire is actually pretty small. The chances of meeting, and staying in touch with someone who will eventually need to hire someone just like you is quite high by comparison. OK, sure, I know you want a job right now. That doesn’t mean you can’t meet your next boss right now, even if it means they don’t have a job for you right now. Sometimes you may even meet someone you’ll end up working for down the track in a few jobs time. That’s just how it works sometimes.

So get out there and meet as many people as you can. Meet people who are bosses, who have bosses, who know bosses… everyone is a connection to someone else. Apologies if that sounds a little mercenary, it’s really not meant to. You don’t have to be insincere or pretend to like people you don’t, (although sometimes that helps), but you do need to meet as many people as you possibly can. And you don’t have to jump down their throat and ask if they have a job for you, just meet them. If you make a genuine connection with them, the fact you’re on the hunt for a job will come up soon enough and at that point you can very casually, very naturally start asking questions and build your network a little.

We’d all love to believe we’ll get our next job purely on our own merits. And that’s certainly how things work in a perfect world. But have you looked around lately? Does this look like a perfect world to you? Exactly. Landing that job is absolutely about who you know as much as what you know. Sometimes more. So make it your job to know as many people as possible. Again, it’s somewhat unglamorously a game of numbers. The more people you know, the higher your odds of meeting your next boss and getting a job. Simple as that.

Meet them. Impress the hell out of them. Stay in touch with them. The Law of Averages says one of them will have a job come up sooner rather than later, and the Law of Sputnik says there’s a high chance they’ll never even advertise it. They’ll give it to someone they know. Or someone who knows someone they know. Your job then, is to make sure you’re one of those someone’s.

If you’re serious about getting a new job, my advice to you is quit hunting for a job and start hunting bosses instead.

More reading: 

Job seekers: how do you stand out from the crowd?
6 questions to ensure you get a ‘yes’ at your next interview
Why does job hunting strike fear into the heart of even the bravest hunters?
If you want a great next role, get ill first!
5 tips for effective networking


Award-winning Australian recruitment agency, Firebrand Talent, ignites the careers of digital, marketing, creative, communications, advertising, & media talent. If you are looking for your next career move, check out the jobs we currently have on in Sydney & Melbourne.

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