Thoughtfulness: A Strategic Approach to the Job Search

In this new blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

Given that many of you are heavily engaged in networking activities, we thought now would be a good time to remind you about a simple way to stand out in the crowd of job applicants: be thoughtful. Here are three ways you can demonstrate your thoughtfulness:

  • Be thoughtful about how you approach your job search process and individual interactions with recruiters and employees.  
    • Determine your list of target companies, identify potential networking contacts, and find opportunities to engage in conversation with these contacts.
    • Think strategically about why you have selected these target companies and contacts. What about them makes you excited, and what connection do you have to these organizations and people? Show genuine curiosity.
  • Be thoughtful in your conversations with networking contacts.  
    • Recognize that many of your contacts will be talking with many other highly qualified and interested MBA students (or alumni). Show the contacts that you are truly interested in them, their careers, and their companies.  
    • Talk about more than just work; get to know each contact more personally. Consider asking the contact about his/her weekend or experiences in business school, for example. Write down key details from your conversation so you can remember them and ask about them in subsequent conversations (e.g., inquire about the status of a specific project or the contact’s progress in training for a marathon).
    • Focus on the person. When you are networking in a large group setting, do not look around the room; instead, look at the person with whom you are speaking. Do not focus so much on the questions you want to ask that you are ignoring the speaker’s insights.
    • Offer your areas of expertise to help your contacts. Perhaps they have friends who want to apply to business school or are interested in the firm where you worked previously.
  • Be thoughtful in your interviews. Remember to target your answers to help your interviewers visualize the contribution you will make to the organization—and not just how you will benefit from the role.
    • Think about your relevance to your target employer. Identify what from your background is most important to them, and focus on that in your interview answers.
    • Ask questions at the end of the interview to demonstrate that you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in both the firm and the interviewer.
    • Send personalized thank you notes within 24 hours of the interview; email is acceptable.

These thoughtful actions will help customize your job search approach and will (hopefully) yield stronger advocates within your target firms as well as more job offers!

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

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