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Kick-start Your Job Search with this Failsafe Technique

Phil Cooksey
Sr Principal Talent Advisor

"Pinpoint your next career move with a Venn diagram exercise." Phil Cooksey, Sr. Principal Talent

No matter what stage you find yourself in your career, setting out on a new job search can be daunting. You know you’re ready for a change but how do you marry your current skills and experience with what you want for your future career? What you might not know, is that there is simple, proven approach that can help you get your job search from point A to point B.

Based on my years of recruitment for agencies and global corporations like Oracle, I’ve developed the following failsafe technique that can help any job seeker hit the ground running.

Keep your eye on the prize

Like most things, you should start your job search with your end goal in mind. I’ve worked with a lot of people who have been in the market for a new job— and what I have found is that, for most of them who had around ten years of professional experience, their careers had meandered quite a bit from what they originally had planned. And that’s absolutely fine—the world we live in now is not the same one where graduates once dreamed of retiring with a gold watch after 35 years’ service at the same company. In the new job market, where every day new job opportunities fall into our laps via LinkedIn and targeted emails, it’s only natural that we could find ourselves falling off course. The key is to get back on track.

Seeing is believing

So, here is the infallible exercise I have developed that will help you pinpoint your next career move: I want you to draw a Venn diagram. It might seem like a blast from the past but I promise you, it’s the way to your future career. So, with that in mind, take out a sheet of paper (or an e-notepad) and do a brain dump of anything that comes to mind within these two categories:

1) The things I HAVE DONE professionally

2) The things I WANT TO DO

For Circle #1, I want you to write down all of your accomplishments, deliverables, tasks and projects from the past 2-4 years of your career. This may take some time to recall—you’ll be surprised at just how much you’ve achieved. Be sure to return the list over the next few days and jot down anything you might have forgotten.

Circle #2 might not be quite as easy at first. It will in part be a personal ‘best of’ from Circle #1. Make sure you add your career dreams and desires and what types of work you would love to do. They don’t need to be fully formed career aspirations, they can just be tasks and functions you’ve always wanted to perform. Put down what you’re passionate about.

Where the magic happens

Now that you are armed with a well thought out list of what you have done and what you want to do, you can bring both circles together. Now you will identify the points of intersection—this is where the magic happens. The skills and functions that these circles share will become the basis of your future job search. What you have right now is an accurate and actionable career roadmap.

Venn diagram example

Staci Woods: A Success Story

Five years ago, an executive-level candidate Staci Woods came to me when she was at a juncture in her career. She was coming from a successful role as VP of Operations in the senior living sector with a prior career in sales and marketing and she told me she was ready for a new challenge. I showed Staci how to perform the Venn diagram exercise and it helped her to identify her past strengths and future desires. This allowed Staci and I to pinpoint what she needed to set her sights on next—and we settled on a role as a senior individual contributor, specifically as a CRM CX Sales Consultant in the CX Applications team.

Fast-forward five years and three promotions later, Staci is enjoying a rewarding and successful career where she is leading a game-changing strategy for Oracle.

To this day Staci swears by the Venn diagram technique:

“I would not be where I am today without the Venn diagram exercise. It’s all thanks to my Talent Advisor Phil. Most recruiters saw my background and rejected me on the surface as ‘not the right fit.’ But being fit for a career is subjective—and this exercise helped me to cut through the white noise.”

Ready to put your Venn diagram exercise to work? Explore Oracle’s exciting range of career opportunities.

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Comments ( 5 )
  • Anand Wednesday, January 2, 2019
    Tx, lets see after 90 days from now, I will get back to you with the results, hoping positive..
  • Winifred Agogo Wednesday, January 2, 2019
    This is a most insightful exercise and it helps that it is very visual. Thank you for sharing this Venn diagram tool. I will be completing mine and pinning it up on my mirror.
  • Deepak Thursday, January 3, 2019
    Really interesting!! I only knew about first circle..thanks for sharing!
  • Adnan Thursday, January 3, 2019
    After working with Oracle Platinum Partner and now getting international exposure with a leading system integrator, I am planning a career move to get suitable roles with Principal.
  • Craig Thursday, January 3, 2019
    Just wanted to comment first. Hahaha, love it and will put it to practice.
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