A job search has the potential to become a long a tedious process.
Understanding where you want to go and what type of companies you want to work for can make your search more targeted. This can cut out a lot of long interview processes only for you to be less than dazzled by what they have to offer.
Here are some things you should know before you even apply.
Where Are You Going?
This is less about the job or employer and more about what direction you want to go in. If you are unclear, then no offer may sound like right fit for you. We suggest to all of our clients that come to us unsure of the direction to figure that out first. There are a multitude of free tools to use to do some professional (and personal) soul searching in order to determine the best course. Consider the Myers-Briggs Assessment by 16Personalities or this Washington Career Bridge Survey to help nail down the right industry for you.
Am I (Over)Qualified?
You may hear that you should apply to anything that sounds good even if you don't meet all the requirements. I will say that is to true - to an extent. In my experience as an interviewer and hiring manager, that are certain things I am willing to overlook. For example, if you have experience in many of the tasks or duties of the job, but perhaps lack the required supervisory experience or do not have the degree, I may still call you. Some organizations have a very strict degree policy, so you are rolling the dice if you meet all of the requirements (less the degree) and still apply.
Additionally, the recruiters we have spoken to will even forgo the experience with their tasks and industry if your resume and cover letter can convey to them that you have transferable skills. Transferable skills are important to demonstrate that while you may not have the specific knowledge, you have a skill or experience that is similar.
If you feel that you are overqualified, it may be beneficial for you to proceed with the opportunity anyway. You may be one or two levels higher in the hierarchy of experience, but getting into this organization has significantly more opportunity for growth than your current position. However, please consider the bad case scenarios when doing this, advancement may be slower than you projected and you may become bored in your day to day activities. Being underwhelmed may have an impact on your performance as well as your attitude at work. In any case, do what works best for you.
What Is the Company Culture?
You may be hearing about company (or organizational) culture more and more when involved with a job search. Company culture conversations are rapidly increasing in importance and they are here to stay. It is defined simply as the way an organization and the people within it interact with their employees, partners, clients and community.
Some organizations have a culture that involve competition tied to bonuses and sales - and that works for a lot of people. Other organizations may build a culture around diversity and inclusion, community outreach or workplace activities such as nerf gun fights or office olympics. There is no one culture that is better than another, what matters is what you want out of it.
Many organizations will have indications of their culture in the news or on their website. Be sure to investigate and use websites such as GlassDoor to read company reviews. A disclaimer - remember that as with any site review forum, people are more inclined to write reviews on negative experiences than positive, but the overall feedback is important.
What Do I Look Like?
We mean this in the context of the internet. Make sure that you Google yourself and see first hand what an employer can see about you. With some jobs, the recruiter was adding me on LinkedIn as they were reaching out to me for an interview, so your online presence is important.
Clean up your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or make everything private. Review your LinkedIn to ensure that your titles, duties, education and skills are up to date and accurate. Delete your MySpace because no body uses that anymore (okay this one is not for real). Just be prepared!
Do I Really Want to Leave My Current Job?
This one is important. Although we highly suggest doing a secret job search, when a potential new employer calls for a reference, the cat may be out of the bag. Your employer may want to counter offer you, but the reality is they know that something prompted you to leave. Getting you to stay adds a lot of extra responsibility on their part, as they now are hyper vigilant on your satisfaction with the organization.
Additionally, if others believe that you were going to leave, you may be bombarded with questions or unsolicited advice on why you should or shouldn't have. Just be prepared for whatever may come down the line. Assess whether your unhappiness is with your position or your organization's opportunities. If you feel stagnant, it may be as simple as asking your boss for a better opportunity.
If It's Time
If you're ready to make the leap into a new opportunity, just make sure you fully assess your situation and the opportunities out there. Transitioning from one job to another can be difficult, but being confident in your decision can make the process easy!