By Alison Doyle
Looking for a job can be a bit like dating. It can be easy to go online and find a match for a first date, but what happens after that is what matters the most. Will that first date (or first interview) turn into a long-term relationship? Or is it going to be a bust?
Job searching can be hard work. It’s not just a question of finding a job – any job. It’s important to find the right job, a job that is an excellent fit for you now and for the future, either as a stepping stone for your career or as an opportunity you’ll be comfortable with for the long haul. If it's the wrong job, you'll end up having to start a job search all over again if the position doesn't work out. Besides it being stressful, you'll need to avoid being considered a job hopper when writing your resume.
Because job searching is time-consuming, as well as hard work and because it can be even harder when a job doesn’t work out and you end up quitting or getting fired, it’s best to spend your time trying to get it right from the time you start job hunting. Here are five tips to help you find a job you'll love.
1. Make a MatchBefore you start your job search, spend time making sure you’re looking for the right job. If you’re not certain about what you want to do, take a career quiz or two to generate some ideas. If need be, get career coaching or counseling to help get you on the right track. Use the job search engines to search for jobs that are a match for your skills, experience, and interests.
2. Get the Inside ScoopDon’t just apply for the job. Take it a step further. Use your connections on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other networking sites to discover whom you know at the company. Ask them for insight and information on the company, in general, as well as about the job. Your contacts may also be able to provide you with a referral for the position. Check out the company’s LinkedIn page and social media profiles to gather information.
3. Interviewing Works Both WaysIt’s just as valuable for you to interview the company as it is for them to interview you. Be prepared to answer interview questions and have a list of interview questions of your own ready to ask. If you’re not 100% sure about a job offer and you haven’t met the team you’ll be working with, ask if you can meet your future boss and colleagues. It's also perfectly fine to ask for time to consider a job offer if you need to think it over.
4. Check out the Company CultureThe job may sound terrific, but do you want to work for the company? Is the company culture a fit for you at this stage of your career? Is it too formal – or too casual? How is the organization structured? Are there opportunities there for advancement? Spend some time reading what employees have to say about the company on Glassdoor.com. If you’re a college graduate, ask your career office if they have an alumni network you can connect with. Go back to your LinkedIn connections with follow-up questions.
5. Make Sure the Job Is a Good FitIn addition to making sure that you want to work for the company, carefully evaluate the job offer. Do you truly want this job? Will you be happy doing it? Will it boost your career? Will it give you the flexibility or work/life balance you need? Is the salary what you expected? If not, is negotiating a higher salary an option? Are the employee benefits sufficient for your needs? How about the work schedule, the hours, and the travel, if required? If there’s anything about the job or the compensation package that is making you think twice, the time to act is before you accept the offer.
Of course, not all jobs work out perfectly even if you do all the right things. However, you’ll have a better chance of making a suitable match if you’re careful about every step of the job search process and you take the time to do due diligence before you say “yes” to the hiring manager.
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