The 7 questions you need to ask yourself before you start your job search

It’s the start of a new year so, before you leap into your job search, why not take a fresh look at yourself and what you want from your next job.

Transitioning to a new position or going for your first professional role can be an exciting (or pressing) time and you could be forgiven for wanting to throw caution to the wind and jump right in. However, it’s important you take some time to really reflect on the type of person you are and what you want from your next role.

Here are the key questions you should be asking yourself:

1. Why am I looking?
First on the list is why you’re looking for a job in the first place. If you’re switching employers you should determine whether it’s the opportunity to progress that excites you or rather the desire to escape your current setup.

2. What kind of work do I enjoy?
This is an obvious question, but it can often be overshadowed by the lure of a particular profession or employer. For example, are you a problem-solver who enjoys putting their mind to work or do you thrive in a client-focused environment? Consider what really turns you off as well.

3. What motivates me?
You also need to think clearly about what you want to get out of your next role. It could be money, career advancement or perhaps the opportunity to work with major clients. Regardless, you need to stay faithful to your core objectives and not let yourself be distracted by other perks on offer.

4. What kind of culture would I thrive in?
Work is where you’re going to be spending the majority of your waking hours, so you need to feel comfortable and that you’re surrounded by like-minded people. Do you thrive in a large corporate environment, or perhaps prefer the more flexible setting of a start-up?

5. Where can I be flexible?
Would you move location? Can you compromise on pay for the right opportunity? What hours are you prepared to do? Think about the things that you need versus the things that you’d like to have. Get your list together and prioritise it.

6. What do I ultimately want to be?
Although this job might not be ‘the dream job’, does it provide a stepping stone towards it? Look for roles within your desired industry, choose a reputable employer and think about the big picture. Some stepping-stones may be better than others, for example, offering graduate or return-to-work schemes that could boost your skill levels while you earn.

7. What can I offer?
Having established what you want it’s up to you to figure out how to get it. Understanding exactly what you bring to an organisation will give you a better sense of how to position yourself during the application process and at interview. Make a list of your core strengths as well as any weakness you could be working on.

Your choice of employer may come down to a myriad of different factors and no small amount of luck. However, having a clear idea of your motivations and your professional attributes will leave you much better placed to make those important career decisions and convince your dream employer that you’re the person for the job.

Reference: Enterprise Alive; Careers in Food; Career Builder

07 Jan 2016
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