You may have heard about a growing trend in job hunting – making a video CV. So what is it,... Read more...
When you decide to look for a new job, the temptation is to jump straight in – revamp your CV, scan job boards and make a multitude of job applications.
The problem with this full-steam-ahead approach is that you can quickly find yourself careening down a career path that isn’t really you.
A better way to begin your job search is to identify exactly what you’re looking for, so you can find the right job for you:
Being clear about the exact career path you want to follow – and therefore the next role to apply for – will ensure that you don’t head off down the wrong route to employment.
Here are the three factors to consider before you begin your job search.
You may already know exactly what the right job for you is. Alternatively, you may have simply wandered into a role without considering whether it was a good fit.
So how do you figure out what the right job is for you? Here are a few clues:
Or to be more exact, why do you want to leave the role you’re working in now?
What is there about your job that doesn’t feel right? For instance, is it the hours or work model, are you bored, or do you want to use an under-utilised skill set?
Dig down until you find the exact reasons for wanting something new.
To find out more, you might like to read these five reasons to look for a new job.
What skills and qualifications do you have that you could bring to a job? This will indicate the type of jobs that are already a good match.
For instance, you might be a talented writer with well-honed presentation skills and have a degree in marketing. Copywriting and/or marketing sound like a great fit.
You can find more information on the different types of skills and how to use them in your job search in our blog.
The question doesn’t end there though – simply being good at working in a team or negotiating sales deals doesn’t necessarily make for a good match.
Beyond what you’re good at, you should also consider what you enjoy working at.
What is important to you? What inspires you? What do you find morally offensive? The answers to these questions all point to your values in life.
Secondly, how do you like to work? Are you a team player or do you prefer a stand-alone role? Do you enjoy a busy, competitive work environment or would you prefer a more relaxed routine?
Once you’ve answered the above questions, you can begin to build a picture of the right job.
If you want to find out what a job entails – for example, the exact tasks involved and the type of skills and education that an employer is looking for – read as many relevant job descriptions as you can.
The best online sources of job descriptions are job sites like JobLookup. Register for a free account and then use the filters to search for relevant vacancies. Filters allow you to search for the job factors that suit you, including salary range and job title.
There are also plenty of online quizzes that will point to a suitable career, like this free UCAS quiz.
Alternatively, you might want to dig a little deeper with a personality test like the Myers-Briggs inventory.
Once you have answered the MBTI questions, you will be told which personality type you are the best match for. The result is based on four personality factors:
You will receive a combination of those letters, so you could be an INFJ or an ESTJ, for example. Each personality type points to a range of suitable careers.
It might be that you’re in the right job but that the industry or sector you work in is wrong for you. On the other hand, the industry might be perfect for you but it’s the role that’s a bad fit.
Deciding which industry or sector is right for you often comes down to your values and style of working, so it’s worth revisiting that question.
You might also like to further your industry knowledge by visiting relevant online sites such as the CIPD for a career in human resources or professional publications like the British Medical Journal if you would like to work as a healthcare professional.
Alternatively, why not speak to someone who already works in that industry?
The benefit of staying within the same industry is that you are already familiar with that sector, even if you want to jump to a new role.
However, it may be true that you love your job but dislike certain aspects of the industry – for example, the competitive environment of an investment bank or the sustainability credentials of an oil company.
In this case, jumping into a new industry or sector may be the best choice in order to find the right job for you.
Putting aside your values, skills, and work style, consider the basics you want your job to provide.
These will probably include:
For more information on this, read about what goes into a salary package.
By this stage, you should have a good idea of what job is right for you. With that knowledge in hand, it’s time to begin the job search process.
It’s likely the last time you updated your CV was before you landed your current role. Now is the perfect time to ensure that it’s current and relevant to the job you want to land.
Make sure that your CV:
PurpleCV can create a CV tailored to the role and industry you’re interested in, whether you’re looking for your first job or have years of experience.
Find out which job boards and platforms advertise the type of job you’re looking for.
Once you’ve registered, you can set up email alerts to flag up relevant jobs.
It may take a little effort to set up your job alerts, but once in place, they’ll save you the time of scouring job boards by delivering relevant job ads straight to your inbox as soon as they’re advertised.
Consider whether you need to improve your skills to land the job of your dreams. This might involve:
One key method to find out whether you need to consider further training is to identify which skills in the job description are required and which are preferences.
If you’re interested in a particular employer and want to improve your chances of standing out as a candidate, then finding out as much as you can about the company is imperative.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to do that:
It isn’t just about finding out how you can make yourself attractive to the employer as a candidate, your research will also flag up whether this is the type of company you want to work for. Ultimately, this will help you find out if it’s the right job for you..
SMART is a method of setting achievable goals. It stands for:
SMART goals help you to stay on track with your job search in a way that is relevant, timely, and measurable. To learn more, read about how SMART goals can improve your job search.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to begin your job search before you know what you’re searching for.
However, if you start the process by asking:
You can make sure that you’re on the right career path from day one!