Create your own code 🧘‍♂️: words to job hunt by.

Hi there! Let's 'Pirates of the Caribbean' this blog and talk about living by a code!

In the haze of job hunting, it can be daunting to find the starting point; the thing that drives you, your guiding light.

We know at the outset that the goal is to get another job, but without clearly defined parameters, that goal can get lost in the clutter.

Instead of following the impulse to hit ‘apply’ to jobs with the same title you have now, take a step back to think about how you want to approach your job hunt by creating a guideline to follow - a CODE.

What is a code?

Sounds mysterious, right? I love it. A code is a set of rules that you set up for yourself and that you remain accountable to. If, for example, you’re flip-flopping on whether a particular job is the right fit for you, re-frame your choice through the code - are you following the rule you set for yourself?

I’ll explain more.

The code is an affirmation; an anchor to return to when we’re feeling lost. A set of guiding principles to filter all decisions through.

I’ll share with you the code I made for myself that helped me on my job hunt - and you are totally welcome to use it yourself or revise it and make it your own.

Housekeeping note: I kept my code short - only four bullet points - to ensure it was memorable, ambiguous enough to catch many scenarios but had a firm call to action. No room for error.


Ask for what you want. Take it.

One of the beautiful things about job hunting (yes, there are a few) is that this is a fresh start. You don’t have to settle into a carbon copy of the life you had yesterday. Even if it was a good one, here’s a perfect opportunity to aim higher.

Employers can’t (shouldn’t) ask you for what your last salary was (and anyone who does, deflect, deflect, deflect) so if money is a motivator for you, add 10% to your asking salary.

Hell, make it 15% or 20%. So long as it’s reasonably within the range for that role and in that industry, it’s fair game to ask.

Don’t know what salary range you should be asking for?

  • Glassdoor - Great to look up average industry salaries and those of the target companies you want to look for (if those employees shared this info)

  • LinkedIn Salaries - You may have to give your own salary info (anonymously) to access the full features, but your transparency will help others like you right now

  • PayScale - It’s thorough and a good exercise if you want to get very detailed information

The worst thing an employer will say is no and that’s really not that bad. This is a perfect opportunity to channel ‘Master You’ and demonstrate why you’re worth EVERY 👏 DAMN 👏 DOLLAR 👏

No apologies. This is just business.

I care about the people and companies I interview with, so that means honouring commitments (ghosting, really?) and being honest.

If there’s something that doesn’t sit right about an opportunity, I politely say so without apology and decline the opportunity.

At the end of the day this is just business. Your future employer should want you just as much as you want them.

When you find yourself in the position of having to turn down an offer, especially when you’re job hunting, the impulse is to feel bad - like we should just be grateful someone offered us the job at all.

No apologies. Acknowledge how fortunate you were to get the offer, but that it’s not a fit and move on. Your career is too valuable to settle.

Be bold. Pursue every lead.

“We’re looking for a B2B marketer to help a startup in CPG and retail.”

Have I done this thing before? No. But I’ve done comparable things and I have an interest in it. Whatever I don’t know, I’ll learn.

I try not to let my bias kick in and tell me ‘I can’t do that job’ or ‘I don’t have the necessary skills.’

For example, in 2018 when I shared my job hunt on LinkedIn, I was approached by a university to teach a part-time class (even though I don’t have a background in it.) I ultimately didn’t take the opportunity (because of timing, not fit), but it was an interesting exercise to evaluate something outside of my usual field of expertise.

You don’t have to be an accountant who only works at an accounting firm that only manages other accounting clients.

Get creative with your skills, like Ben Affleck who plays an accountant making his living uncooking the books of criminal and terrorist organizations around the world in “The Accountant”. (Just maybe… keep your job within the law, of course.)

If someone suggests you do something, explore it. Genuinely.

Or suggest it to yourself. Maybe there’s something you’ve been curious about trying?

No outs. Don’t let them say no.

This one relates to networking meetings. I found that if I didn’t email specific times to meet or send a calendar invite to someone, it was far too easy for the meeting to be cancelled.

I understand everyone is busy and I will happily accommodate scheduling conflicts, but I discovered that ‘if it’s not in your calendar, it doesn’t exist.’

With every networking request I send now, I am keen on making sure it is in both our calendars. It’s a small step that helps make sure you and your networking contacts are committed.

What would your code look like?

Take a step back to really identify what is important to you in your next role. What does success for you look like? What have you always wanted to do or learn?

These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to help create your own code to job hunt by. If you frame every decision with this lens, it’ll make the process easier to follow and ultimately drive you closer to achieving those goals - plus it’ll keep you accountable.

Wishing you an awesome day ahead. Happy Landing!

Richard GawlasComment