Finding the right role and company to match your goals and personality can be important to your career success and happiness. But according to career experts, there are good and bad ways to go about it.
Laura M. Labovich, CEO of career management firm The Career Strategy Group and co-author of “100 Conversations for Career Success” (Learningexpress, 2012), says the best approach requires being proactive. “Jobseekers, especially if they lose a job, have a tendency to just go out and try to find another job even if they weren’t happy in their previous job,” she said. “The most important thing is to do even a partial soul search before you go into a job search and make sure what you’re looking for is clear not only to you but to employers.”
Labovich advises jobseekers to use those insights to create a list of 30 to 40 companies they’d like to target specifically. She recommends reaching out to people within these target organizations who are one to two levels above your desired role. “This is a very aggressive approach and it works amazingly well,” she says.
This will give you the opportunity to learn more about a company and its culture in a pressure-free environment, and to ask questions about things like work-life balance that are often best avoided later on during a job interview.
Tony Beshara, owner and president of the Dallas job-placement firm Babich & Associates and author of “The Job Search Solution” (AMACOM, 2012), stresses that the job interview process is not the time to make judgments. “All of that speculation – Would I work there? Could I work there? Do I want to work there? – It’s all bull until you’ve got a job offer. You’ve got nothing until then.”
After you’ve received an offer, Beshara says that asking yourself ten yes or no questions about the position can help you make the right decision. They are:
1. Do I like the nature of the work I will be performing?
2. Can I do the job? Is there a good balance of risk/challenge to the job?
3. Am I well aware of the company’s stability or position stability?
4. Is the chemistry of the people appropriate?
5. Is the compensation program fair, reasonable and commensurate with the job?
6. Is the opportunity for growth in keeping with my personal goals?
7. Is the location or territory appropriate?
8. Is the philosophy of doing business compatible with my personal philosophy?
9. Does the opportunity build on my previous experience?
10. Is it likely that this experience would have good carryover for my future?
According to Beshara, eight yes answers is about as good as it gets. Five to seven means the job might be a reasonably good one. If you answer yes to fewer than five of them, you might want to reconsider it.
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