A feedback hack to finding your next job

During my search for a new job, I spent a lot of time reflecting about what I wanted to do next. This was time well spent, as it helped me get a better sense of my strengths, interests, and priorities. While the self-reflection was helpful, I had another great tool at my disposal that gave me additional feedback that was critical to helping me find my next job: A 360-degree assessment.

360 degree assessments are tools that are often used to help leaders get feedback from their peers, direct reports, and managers to help them see a holistic picture of themselves as a leader. Using these same principles, I used the 360 assessment to help me get a holistic perspective of what I thought were my strengths, skills, and potential next steps, but what others who knew me well thought of those exact same things. This feedback was informative in that it A) confirmed some of my initial thoughts B) gave me additional perspective that I hadn’t considered and C) gave me some potential paths and ideas to think about. The process for it (which I’ll outline below) is pretty simple.

Feedback

Come up with questions

Design a survey (I would suggest 5-6 questions max) that you can have people fill out and take. The questions should be geared towards getting another perspective on things you already have thought about, such as your strengths, weaknesses, and examples of past work. Here are the questions I used:

  1. What strength or skill do I have that you don’t see amongst most people you know or interact with, and how have you seen me use it?
  2. Where have you seen me at my best? What was the context, and what stood out about that?
  3. What is something that you think I can develop or improve upon?
  4. Since we first met, what’s something that has undergone the most growth or change?

 

Identify Your Survey Participants

You’ll want to make sure you get a good cross-section of people to take your feedback survey, ranging from peers at your level to hopefully people above and below you. I also made it diverse enough to include people from various aspects of my life. While some of these people hadn’t seen me in my current work situation, they knew enough about me that their feedback would be helpful so I included them anyway.

 

Review Feedback

After you get your feedback it’s time to review it and more importantly, put it into action. I categorized the feedback into feedback that confirmed my thinking and then another category for things that surprised me. For the things that surprised me, I either did additional thinking on this or directly followed up with people for feedback to get clarity or to ask follow up questions. Either way, the feedback is meant to be acted upon.

 

In the end, the feedback was helpful on many fronts. First, I confirmed a few types of roles and companies that I was interested in and had a good skillset for, which I was then able to pursue.

Second, the feedback gave me examples of how others saw my skills and strengths which was useful in crafting my elevator pitch as well as reminding me of practical experience to talk about later on in the interview process.

Finally, the feedback was a nice reminder that I had what it took to make a transition into a new job, even if there was a challenging job search ahead.

 

While some of us know exactly what we want to do next, others need a little soul searching to find the next opportunity. Next time your stuck reflecting, consider deploying a 360 review to get feedback from your colleagues and friends who can assist you in your process to finding your next opportunity.

My Goals for 2018

To follow a yearly tradition, in a previous post I evaluated my progress against my goals. In this one, I’ll outline my goals for 2018, and highlight the areas where I hope to focus my time and energy for the upcoming year.

Build Skills for my new job

Since I recently transitioned into a new job and career, I am learning a great deal about a new function and trade. While I’m happy with the move and the progress I’ve made so far, I want to continue to build my skills and competency as a marketer, since it looks like I’ll be in this field for awhile. Whether it’s attending marketing events, networking with other marketers, or aligning my side-hustles to get hands on skills, I want to accelerate my learning in 2018

Redevelop new routine

The new job means that I’ll have significantly less travel. In addition, I also moved to a new apartment. With all this change, I need to rethink my routines in order to make the most of my time and ensure that I’m focusing on the right activities. Whether it’s re-thinking my gym schedule, finding time during the week to see friends, or figuring out how to make the most of my weekend, I want to re-develop a new routine and stick to it in the new year.

Take initiative for building friendships

It’s taken time, but I am starting to finally build out a good group of friends here in San Francisco. Traveling every week for 2.5 years made it more challenging to build friendships, but even in spite of that making new friends and building relationships takes a lot of effort. It can be hard when building new friendships to want to invest the time and effort in a new friendship, especially when you only have limited time to begin with, but that shouldn’t be the reason why you choose to not invest in any relationships. For 2018, I want to take the initiative in investing in these relationships, and making the most of being in San Francisco and having more time to spend on things that I care about.

Transition from Thinking to Doing

2017 was a lot of reflecting, thinking and musing about the future. Obviously, there was a lot of doing in terms of making the transition and going through a job interview process, but I invested a lot of time in the thinking piece in order to get there. I want to flip it in 2018, and while I’ll always be thinking, focus more on the “Doing.” Yes, reflection is great, but doing and executing is where things happen, and that needs to be a focal point for 2018

Focus in on “Side Projects”

Since I can remember, I’ve always had a side-project or two that I’ve worked on which has helped me channel my creative energy and passions. While this has been great, I seem to be juggling a lot of balls in the air, and am not making as much progress since it’s hard to focus on so many things at once. In 2018, one of my goals will be to do an audit of all the ongoing “side projects” and make some big bets as to where I want to focus my time moving forward.

Travel somewhere new

In 2017, I got the chance to visit a lot of places I always visit (ex: DC, Boston, NYC, Chicago, LA) and also got to visit some new places (Palm Springs, Hawaii) I want to continue to visit old favorites but also continue to expand into new ones as well.

2017 brought change and new opportunities. I’m looking forward to exploring some of these paths further, and excited for what’s in store!

My 2017 Resolution Report Card

Two years ago, I started a “Year in Review” exercise to reflect on my progress during the year and to understand where I could do better. It’s also a great reflection exercise to prepare me for my resolutions for the upcoming year. In the full spirit of transparency I’ve decided to review those goals and to grade myself on how I did.

Goal: Keep Going Out Of Your Comfort Zone B+

For most of my life, I’ve use some sort of framework (costs/benefits, pro’s/cons etc) to make decisions, mitigate risk and increase my chances of success. And while that’s proven to be a great strategy it’s also prevented me from taking risks and stepping outside of my comfort zone. It’s something I’ve realized over the past few years, and last year I made it a priority to push myself to take my risks.

In 2017, I made progress towards this goal in a number of ways. I challenged myself to change my eating and dietary habits, pushed myself to build relationships, traveled to new places and wrote/blogged as much as I ever have before. Not to mention, I finally took the plunge and left consulting for a new opportunity. This is a goal that I hope to keep with me for the rest of my life, but I’m proud of what I did in 2017.

Goal:Continue to Invest in Relationships in San Francisco A-

In 2015 and 2016, I spent the majority of my time on the road, which made it difficult to invest in meeting friends and building relationships in San Francisco. So last year, I made it a goal of mine to invest the time to do just that, and overall, I felt like I did a good job. I made a much stronger and intentional effort to reach out to friends, organize group events, or just catch someone for coffee or a quick hello. I even started somewhat of a monthly brunch club!

I will admit, there was some uncertainty or hesitation at times. It may sound silly, but there’s always this fear of rejection or embarrassment that others don’t want to spend time with you. However, most of that was just in my head, and even when things didn’t pan out I’m glad I made the effort.

 

Goal: Focus on Improving the Community I live in C+

Since I can now call San Francisco home, I felt it was important to invest in shaping and improving the community. This is an area where I felt I came up short, as I didn’t get nearly as involved as I would have hoped to.

Goal: Inspiring others around me A-

This is a bit of a soft and amorphous goal, but one that I think is really important. I chose this one based off of some feedback that I got in a performance review, but also because given the state of affairs in the world right now I felt that it was something that I could do to contribute “my part,” and I thought I delivered on this promise.

2017 was a year unlike any other that I’ve seen in my life, and I’m fortunate to have had many positive things come out of it, and I look forward to achieving even more for 2018.