How to approach job searching

“Get paid to learn”

I heard that in an interview* with Mark Cuban when I was a senior in college. I’ll paraphrase what he said: “All your life so far, you’ve been paying to learn; now it’s time to get paid to learn.”

That resonated with me, and this is how I approached my job search ever since. When I’d look for a job, I would try to find a job that would put me in a position to learn and gain new skills. Usually, this means working in a challenging role or on a difficult project. But let’s face it – that’s where most of the learning takes place.

To clarify, the “learning” piece can be formal and structured. Think paid training programs, company-sponsored professional development (licenses, certificates) and conferences.

But it can also be the byproduct of your role. Maybe you’ll get better at public speaking thanks to all the presentations you’ll conduct in your role? Or maybe your negotiation skills will improve after dealing with hundreds of prospects a day in your entry-level business development position?

If you keep in mind the big picture of your career when you’re job searching, things become a little easier. You’ll realize that even if the position you just landed is not your “dream job,” it’s something that gets your foot in the door. And sometimes that’s all you need to begin something successful. 

So keep this in mind as you’re job searching:

  • Know the bigger picture of where you want to be career-wise and keep going.
  • Even doing a job you hate teaches you stuff.
  • Work on the dream job/ business on the side and don’t quit the job you hate if you can help it. This current job will help you raise starting capital (for your business) and build your emergency fund (if you don’t have one already built up). And if you end up pulling the plug and quitting without securing a new job, that emergency fund will come in very handy.

*Click here to watch the interview with Mark Cuban. Make sure to watch it until the end.

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