So I’m a car guy. I love cars. Classic cars. I love driving cars. And I love driving new cars. Well, new to me, anyway; every one of them has been used – but a classic – and I love them so much that I want to drive as many as I can while I’ve still got the chance. I can’t imagine driving the same car for 5 or 10 years.  Case in point: I’ve lived in North Carolina for 9 years, and I think I’m on my 7th?  – no, make that my 8th – different car since moving here. Drives my wife crazy (but I think she’s just thankful that I don’t change wives as often as I do cars).

So what does this have to do with a job search? Nothing, really. And everything.

Each and every time I decided to get a new car, it was because I’d fallen in love with the next classic that I just had to drive, and I was on a mission to find one. I was convinced that I knew what I wanted; it had to be this model and that year, and nothing else would do. In reality, though, as I hunted for that exact car, I’d find myself test-driving something else…and maybe then another car after that…and before I knew it I’d indeed bought a new car, but it was very different from the one I originally thought I wanted. So over the years I learned a lesson about myself: keep an open mind.

So what does this have to do with a job search?

As a legal recruiter I’m in the unique position to talk to a number of lawyers about their job searches. I’ve been at this for a long time so it’s got to be in the thousands by now (dating myself, I know). Very often, when I ask people what they want in their next job, many of them are convinced that they know exactly what they want and precisely what the next job is going to look like. They know they want this position with that law firm, and they put on blinders to anything else. I’ve even been told that as their recruiter they only want me to focus on this one particular thing and to not bother them with anything else. Funny thing is, once these lawyers embark on their job search they might field a random interview out of the blue…and maybe another one after that…and before they know it they’ve indeed got a new job, but it’s very different than the one they originally thought they wanted. I’ve lost placements by “listening” too closely to my candidates, many of whom ended up taking something they swore they never had any interest in. Over the years I’ve learned my lesson, though.

My advice to these people (and my advice in this month’s post) is this: treat your job search like a car search. Test drive a number of different models, keep an open mind, and be guarded against knowing for certain that you only want one particular thing. As way leads on to way you might find that what you thought you wanted and what was ultimately right for you were two very different things. If you limit your options in your job search you’ll never know if that perfect opportunity was right around the corner.

One caveat: I would not advise anyone to take 7 – no, make that 8 – different jobs in 9 years. That’s a topic for another post, and good reason for your spouse to go crazy!