In today’s highly competitive job market, finding the right employer that satisfies all of your needs can be a difficult task. Moreover, starting your job search from scratch can be frustrating without having a clear plan mapped out. Since there are a number of pitfalls job seekers should avoid, taking a moment before starting your job search to gauge what exactly you’re looking for in your next employer is critical.
To ensure you start your job search on the right foot, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I looking for a new job?
Answering this question honestly can help to eliminate a lot of confusion throughout your job search. While a difficult boss or a stressful work environment are common reasons why you think you want to leave your job, taking a closer look at these experiences can help reveal underlying reasons for wanting to make a change. For example, changing careers, living in a different part of the country, or starting your own business are some of the honest reasons why job seekers decide to look for a new job. Answering this question will help to uncover why you’re actually looking for a new job, which in the long-run, will prevent you from repeating the same mistake.
- What are my professional strengths and weaknesses?
While the beginning months of a new job can be exciting, finding the right long-term fit can be challenging if you don’t possess the right skills or personality to thrive in that organization. Taking a step back to reevaluate your professional strengths and weaknesses in the workplace (i.e., communication, technical skills, etc.) can help to highlight areas for improvement. In turn, you will be able to tailor your job search to the types of roles and employers that lend well to your strengths or provide the tools you need to improve certain areas of your skillset.
- Is the size of the company I work for important to me?
Depending on your personality or career goals, the size of the company you work for can have a direct impact on the steps you need to take in order to succeed. For example, a larger organization might be more compartmentalized, where employees only interact with certain departments, whereas a start-up might encourage employees to work collaboratively amongst other departments. As a result, it’s important to take these factors into account before embarking on your job search. You want to ensure you are pursuing opportunities with employers that promote the type of workplace that you can thrive in!
- What type of company culture do I need?
Along the same lines of a company’s size, cultural fit also plays a huge role into how effectively you work with your team or organization. For instance, if your last employer practiced a very conservative culture, and you want to make the transition to a more entrepreneurial environment, it is important to make this a criterion in your job search. Is it important for you to work for a company where colleagues are friendly with each other and interact outside of work? For some, this may be important, but for others, less so. Taking into account cultural fit ahead of time can help you identify the specific type of employer that promotes an environment that best fits your personality.
- What are my long-term career goals?
Not taking your long-term career goals into account can negatively affect your job search. Whether your goal is to manage a team of people, or to be a subject-matter expert in your field, incorporating your long-term career goals into your job search will help to ensure your next job provides you with the tools you need to succeed.