Getting what you want out of a job search

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When was the last time you actually thought about interview questions and about how they apply to you? Hundreds of thousands of unemployed individuals are searching for a job right now just like you. And just like you, they’ve also probably thought that as we’re slowly coming out of a recession, you’ll take whatever you can find. But do you really mean that? Part of becoming successful in your job search isn’t just walking into an interview with your portfolio in hand and some scripted answers to common questions — even if you think those answers are well thought out. An article featured on titled, “Tips For A Successful Job Search: Half The Battle Is Knowing What You Want” asks readers and job seekers what they really do want from a job, challenging them to go after it.

The article explains, “If you’re a recent graduate or a job seeker who hasn’t been on the market in awhile, starting a job search can seem completely overwhelming. And in this economy, it can also be tempting to jump up and take the first offer that looks halfway reasonable. But if you’re looking for a new job, having a concrete outline of what you’re looking for can ensure you’ll find the job that’s really the right fit for you (and that you’ll be much more likely to stay at).”

Here are some vital things to consider when searching that you should never overlook:

Know What You Want in Terms of Job Description

Most fields and industries have blanket job titles that can mean many different things at different companies. The might mean that a communications director at one company could be responsible for all print publications and marketing material, while a communications director at another company might work exclusively with social media. Before you jump at a job posting that has a title similar to yours, take the time to really comb through the job description. Do the details sound like something you could spend the next 2-4 years of your life doing? Are the responsibilities, managerial expectations, and day-to-day duties all in line with what you’re seeking?

Know What You Want In Regards to Salary (and Benefits)
Knowing your salary expectations are key, especially if you’re a recent college graduate or someone else who is just entering the work force. If that’s the case, you’ve probably worked throughout your education, but you might not have any clue what to expect when it comes to an annual salaried position, benefits, vacation time, and other parts of the offer package. As you start your job search, you should have a salary range in mind that corresponds with the job titles you are seeking out, as well as what kinds of benefits. This will save you a lot of time in the long run from applying to jobs that are out of your price range.

Know What You Want in Terms of Growth
It’s really easy to develop myopic vision during a job search, and only look for a position that will get you out of your current situation (whether that’s unemployed, bored, or unhappy at work) immediately. But when you’re starting a job search, you should have your entire career trajectory in mind. Where do you want to be right now, and then where do you want to be in 3-5 years? What position (and company) is going to help you gain the skills you’ll need to get to that next step?

Know What You Want Regarding Work/Life Balance
When you’re unemployed and looking for a job, any job, it’s easy to nod your head during an interview and say ‘Yes, I have no problem working overtime every night and most weekends.’ But is this what you really want? (If you’re a workaholic and it’s fine, more power to you.) As you start your job search, have an idea of what kind of work/life balance is ideal to you. If you’re interested in catering, for example, but you hate working weekends, you’ll want to seek out firms that cater corporate lunches and events (which usually take place during breakfast and lunch) versus those that exclusively do weddings (which will require weekends.) The better match you can find, the happier you’ll be, and the longer you’ll be able to stay in that career.”

While some of these points might seem basic, don’t forget to seriously think about them, as many job seekers seem to in the heat of the moment. Being unemployed can sometimes create a sense of desperation and a need for instant gratification, but put on the brakes. One of the most common interview questions is: where do you see yourself in 3-5 years? If you’re considering answering this one with, “I need a job and I will be your slave for the next 3-5 years,” then you might want to take a step back to determine what is actually important to you to assure that your job search is a successful one in the long run.


About Kate Gamble

Known to have her hands in a ton of things at one time - Kate is a confessed news junkie and proud Dean’s List grad. Whether she’s working the PR or HR side of her brain, her computer’s mouse or her Dremel (she makes handcrafted jewelry too!), Kate delivers the energy, commitment, and detail-orientation that are a perfect mix for Alstin.