If there’s one thing employers love, it’s loyal employees. Loyalty runs deep, and can save companies huge amounts of money in the long run. Every time an employee quits or defects to a competing firm, they need to be replaced. For employers, that means additional costs in recruiting, interviewing, and eventually hiring new team members. It’s not cheap. Given how much distrust there is in the modern workplace, many companies do little to foster loyal employees.
But we live in an age in which job-hopping has become more or less standard — particularly if you want a raise or promotion. It wasn’t uncommon for workers from past generations to work for the same company for decades; something that would leave your typical millennial stupefied. Younger workers today, having come of age in a post-Great Recession economic wasteland, know that employers aren’t their friends. Because of that, there isn’t much loyalty to be had.
And yet, loyalty is what employers want. How do you bridge the disconnect?
Now that the labor market is becoming more solidified with low unemployment and wages on the rise, it might be time to actually take root in an organization. That means not just feigning loyalty to get a job, but actually being loyal. Of course, this is a two-way street. But as a job seeker, it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do your due diligence to find a place where you can be happy and fulfilled.
About bridging that disconnect, though. Here are five steps you can take to not only show a potential employer that you’re loyal, but that you’re at the height of employability.
1. Identify and explore your passions
The absolute first step you want to take is inward. If you’ve never taken some time to give serious thought to your own passions and goals, that’s what you’ll want to do now. This means taking a break, or a time-out, and taking stock of what you care about or hold dear. Are you passionate about anything specific? Perhaps you have the entrepreneurial itch, or are a rabid fan of science fiction? These are the types of things you want to identify.
2. Research a company’s mission
Now that you know, or at least have an idea of what you’re passionate about, you can narrow your job search a bit. Start looking at companies or employers you may be interested in working for that you believe can overlap with your passions. This is the real trick — you’re not going to be feigning loyalty to an employer that is actively operating in an area that you care about. Look at company’s mission statements and the like. They’ll give you an idea of where you should focus your search.
3. Communicate your purpose
After an initial bout of research, you’ll want to prepare your own materials in order to apply for some jobs that you feel would be a good fit. This means getting your resume, cover letter, portfolio, and anything else you might need in order. The primary goal of these materials should be to communicate your purpose — that is, let a prospective employer know that you’re interested in working for them, and why. The why is the most important part, and the part that will ultimately translate whether you’re the loyal employee they’ve been looking for.
4. Establish goals
You’ve been told your whole life that you need to establish goals. If you’re looking to get a job that you care about, they’re as important as ever. In the same way that you had to sit down and do some internal work to identify your passions and strengths, you’ll need to think about what you want from an employer, and what you’d like to accomplish over the course of your career. This is what you’ll need to bring to an interview, and do your best to communicate. If there is some overlap, an employer will know that they’ve found someone they can count on.
5. Build a strategy around your goals
You’ve done all of the leg work, now you just need to put it all together. You’ve taken the time to identify the things you care about and find employers or jobs that allow you to indulge or chase your passions. You’ve also established some goals and done your best to communicate how your goals and the mission of an organization overlap. Congratulations, you’ve built yourself a strategy.
It should be fairly easy, at this point, for an employer to see that you’d make a great, loyal employee. Again, the easiest way to convince a hiring manager that you’d be loyal isn’t to fake it, but to do your homework and find a place where you would actually be loyal. You wouldn’t want to leave at the drop of a hat. Your goals mesh with the goals of an employer, and you want to see them through.
Loyalty’s hard to come by, and if you can show that you’re someone who can be counted on, it’ll go a long way in your job search.