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Looking for a new job? Here are 6 things to consider

October 17, 2022 - 14 min read

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Things to consider when looking for a new job

Why do people look for jobs?

Patience is a virtue

Why are you looking for a new job? If you’re one of the 4 million Americans who quit during the Great Resignation, there could be any number of reasons. You might be looking for a better work-life balance, higher pay, or a chance to expand your skills.

But it might be simpler than that. You might be a recent graduate ready to start gaining experience in your industry and generating income. 

Whatever the reason, finding a new job takes time. On average, job seekers need 3–6 months to land a new or first role

You’ll likely submit countless cover letters, questionnaires, and skills tests. You may even land a few promising job interviews in that time. 

But after all that work, rejection can sting and leave you feeling demoralized. You went to a top university, have all the right skills, and may even have a few years of experience under your belt — surely you should be a prime candidate for every job you apply for.

And you might be right. Sometimes, landing new job opportunities requires more than the right skill set. You may have to improve your networking abilities, apply to jobs strategically, and properly curate a professional brand.

These are fixable. With some patience and hard work, you can avoid common job search mistakes and land your dream role.

 

Things to consider when looking for a new job

With the right strategy, you can maximize your chances of landing your dream job amidst a competitive job search.

Here’s some advice to consider if you’re having a difficult time.

1. Look for the best postings

Are you looking for jobs in the right places? Indeed and LinkedIn are good starting points, but you could also try:

  • Scouring job boards of companies you’re interested in. Some jobs never make it onto public boards, so you may have better luck looking on their company page.
  • Exploring niche job sites specific to your industry. Ask your connections if there’s a job board specifically for your field — you may have better luck there.
  • Working with a recruiter. Companies often hire a person to find the best candidates for an open position. Connecting with them directly could create a win-win situation for you. You’ll find a job, and the recruiter will deliver on their obligations.

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2. Optimize your resume with keywords

Nearly 60% of employers will spend 11 seconds or less reviewing your resume and cover letter. And when they do, they usually scan for certain buzzwords and action verbs relevant to the role they’re trying to fill. Some even use automated software to screen candidates based on these criteria.

To maximize your chances of being noticed, try lifting terms directly from the job description. For example, you might have experience in software development. But if the ad requests “software engineering skills,” swap the word “development” for “engineering” in your resume. It means almost the same thing but encourages a new employer to spend more time on your CV.

3. Start networking (a lot)

Try inviting people for coffee and making yourself visible at networking events — you never know who might be able to help you. This gives you a chance to meet important people face-to-face and make a good impression. They may even give you valuable career advice. Then, when you do eventually apply to their company, they’re more likely to recognize your name and give you an interview. 

4. Beef up your professional brand

Applicants beware: hiring managers and recruiters will Google you before requesting an interview. Managing your online presence will ensure they like what they find. Here’s what to do:

  • Set your personal accounts to “private” and delete any embarrassing or unprofessional posts. If you want to back up your photos and videos for personal reasons, most sites allow you to download a copy of your data.
  • Audit your public profiles for scandalous material. If you work in PR or other public-facing industries, you might regularly use Twitter or Instagram to engage with audiences. Look at your posts critically: what do they say about you as a professional? Consider sharing more industry-related content to show your expertise in your field.

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  • Create a website. If you’re in the creative industry, buy a URL to host your portfolio. When an employer asks to see your work, you can simply send them a link to your professional and curated site. Plus, having a personal website allows Google to show something other than your Facebook profiles to prospective employers. 
  • Fill out your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile is your complete work history. Make sure it’s filled out properly and clean of typos and other errors.

5. Properly prepare for your interviews

Most types of interviews will involve predictable questions and answers that you can prepare for. Here’s how to put your best foot forward:

  • Familiarize yourself with the company’s mission
  • Memorize your resume and be ready to answer follow-up questions about it
  • Rehearse your answers to common interview questions like “Tell us about yourself” and “Why are you interested in this position?”
  • Have strong examples of accomplishments from your past roles 

6. Follow-up

Within 24 hours of your interview, it’s important to follow up with a quick thank-you note. This is a chance to show gratitude while confirming your interest in the position and reminding them why you would be an excellent fit.

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Why do people look for jobs?

Prospective employers will ask you why you’re leaving your current position. But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, you shouldn’t have an issue thinking of what to say when looking for a new job. 

You might still be on the fence about your decision to leave. You may feel a sense of loyalty to your current employer or fear being labeled as a job-hopper, which can be a red flag to a new company. But there are many valid reasons to find a new position.

1. Your previous job went through layoffs

Being laid off is different from being fired. It usually means you lost your job for reasons out of your control, such as company restructuring and downsizing. This is a perfectly acceptable reason for needing another job.

If you were fired from your old job, it was potentially due to something you did. You may have failed to meet expectations or violated company policies. Be honest about your mistakes, but put a positive spin on them. Show hiring managers what that experience taught you.

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2. You’re looking for different challenges

Even if it’s a lateral move, a new job might emphasize skills you don’t often use in your current role. If your last job involved writing for social media, you might be tired of writing short posts. A new role focusing on longer content would appeal more to you because you’ll get to use different skills.

It’s okay to mention this in an interview, so long as you don’t speak negatively of your current company. It’s unprofessional to badmouth your previous employer or team. Focus on what you can — or can’t — control about the position and why a different role is the right answer.

3. You’re looking for advancement opportunities

Many organizations, like not-for-profits and startups, have small teams and flat structures. These provide little opportunity for advancement. In these cases, you may want to move somewhere with a clearer career path up the ladder.

4. Your former employer was bought out, so you want to work somewhere else

You may have previously identified with the values and mission of your company. But if a different organization bought you out, you might experience a shift in your work environment and company culture. These are both valid reasons to move.

Something might also shift your perception of what best aligns with your values as your perspectives change. As you learn more about climate change, you might feel more passionate about working for a company leading in environmentally conscious initiatives.

5. You’re relocating for personal reasons

Maybe your spouse found a new job elsewhere, or you want to live closer to your parents to care for them in their old age. Or you could simply be an adventurer, hoping to enjoy a new culture in a new city. Whatever the case, relocation is a common reason for seeking a new position.

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6. You’d like a career change

After years as a healthcare tech developer, you might want to explore other industries like green energy or industrial automation. You have transferable skills and are within your rights to pursue these other interests.

7. You would like to gain experience in your field

When an interviewer asks, “Why are you looking for a job,” fresh graduates will need a good answer. Ideally, you studied in your field for a reason. This is an opportunity to discuss your interests and how this job brings you closer to your career goals

Here’s an example answer: “I really enjoy accounting because it’s like solving a puzzle. One day I would like to lead my own accounting firm, but for now, I want to use my skills in the workplace and discover new challenges in your organization.”

Patience is a virtue

Applying to new opportunities is a vulnerable experience. You might be self-conscious about leaving your current job, or if you’re a fresh graduate, nervous about your lack of experience. But if you understand your reasons for pursuing a role, you can highlight them in an interview without fearing negative consequences.

No matter why you’re looking for a new job, finding one takes time. You’ll have to work hard to make sure your applications aren’t lost in the pool. Clean up your online profile, be creative in where you look for jobs, and diligently prepare for potential job interview questions.

These simple steps can bring you closer to your next job offer — and make sure it’s a great one.

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Published October 17, 2022

Shonna Waters, PhD

Vice President of Alliance Solutions

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