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Naomi Rothwell-Boyd, July 29 2022

10 Things To Consider Before Looking For A New Job

So you need a new job - now what?

If you're thinking about finding a new job and looking for new career ideas, there are a few things you need to consider first. Making a career change can be daunting, but if you're prepared for what's ahead, it can be an exciting process!

Most people start their search for a new job when they're frustrated or stressed. But if you're thinking about making a change, it's important to take a step back and assess your current situation. You want to making good decisions not rushed decisions.

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A job search doesn't start with listings

A scattergun approach is also another way to slow yourself down unnecessarily. I often see people jump straight into searching job sites and scrolling through job listings. The odds of scrolling through randomly and suddenly spotting your dream job are very low. The job market is a vast place where finding potential employers is a needle in a haystack.

This is where pausing and asking yourself some thoughtful questions really helps! Here are the ten things you should consider before looking for your next job:

1) Make sure you aren't rebounding

2) What's missing now that you need in the new job?

3) Do I need to change industry entirely or just job?

4) Identify your must haves

5) Prioritise your needs based on your situation

6) Brainstorm lots of potential options

7) Consider a multi-job plan

8) Set yourself some targets and deadlines

9) Plan how you're going to sell yourself

10) Map out your network

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1) Make sure you aren't rebounding

Rebounding from a relationship is never a good idea and the same goes for your job. If you're considering leaving your current position because you had a falling out with your boss or you're not getting along with your co-workers, think carefully before you make any decisions.

You don't want to end up in another toxic work environment - that's just going to make you even more unhappy. If you're considering a new job because you're unhappy in your current role, make sure you take the time to assess your current emotional state.

Are you in a good frame of mind to make good decisions? If not, it might be worth waiting a little while until you're feeling more stable before you start job hunting. The last thing you want is to make a rash decision that you end up regretting!

2) What's missing now that you need in the new job

When you're thinking about what you want in a new job, it's important to take the time to assess what's missing from your current role. Are you looking for more responsibility? More independence?

Or are you simply hoping to find a new challenge? Once you've identified what it is you're looking for, you can start to look for positions that offer those things. It's also important to be realistic about what you're looking for.

It's hard to think of these things on the fly, but it's easier to think of what is bad about your situation. So make a note of what's missing and what isn't working for you at the moment. It's then far easier to simply look at what is the opposite for inspiration.

Don't currently have flexibility? Maybe different hybrid working environments might suit. Got a micromanaging boss? Make sure you ask questions of the manager in an interview to check how they like to manage people. Nobody helps you at work? Look for companies where employees leave reviews about the supportive culture.

3) Do I need to change industry entirely or just job?

It's worth considering how big of a change you really need. If you're unhappy in your current industry, it might be time for a complete change. But if you love your industry but you're just not happy in your current role, then it might be worth looking for a new job within the same industry.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. If you stay in the same industry, you'll already have some skills and experience of the sector which can be a big advantage.

But if you're looking for a complete change, it can be really exciting to start afresh in a new industry. It's worth taking the time to weigh up your options and decide what's best for you.

4) Identify your must haves

You need to get clear on what your priorities will be. What are the things that you absolutely need in a new job? What can you not compromise on? This is really important to think about before you start looking for new roles.

If you're not clear on what your priorities are, it's very easy to get sidetracked and end up applying for jobs that aren't really right for you. But if you know what your must-haves are, you can focus your job search and only apply for roles that fit the bill.

Some examples of things that could be on your list of must-haves might be: a good work/life balance, flexible working hours, the opportunity to work from home occasionally, a competitive salary, annual leave entitlement, company benefits, etc.

Think about what's important to you and make a list of your must-haves. This will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run!

5) Prioritise your needs based on your situation

Now take this list and rank them. Just because you want something doesn't necessarily means the world is set up to give it to you straight away. You need to set your expectations that some compromises might be needed.

So rank your must haves in order, starting with the ones that are most important to you. This will help you to focus your job search and make sure you're applying for roles that fit the bill.

And if you do end up getting a job offer that doesn't tick all of your boxes, you can at least weigh up whether it's worth taking or not.

6) Brainstorm lots of potential options

These steps so far should now help give you a rough idea of what "better" looks like. You have some sense of the things you can use to assess certain options and steer your thinking.

So now is the time to go crazy with listing down your options. You need to write down as many job ideas as you can think of, no matter how crazy they might seem. The point of this exercise is to get your creative juices flowing and come up with new ideas that you might not have thought of before.

You can brainstorm on your own or with a friend. Just set a timer for 15 minutes and start writing down everything that comes to mind. Once the timer goes off, you can start to narrow down your options.

Some ideas to get you started: new jobs in the same company, new jobs in different companies, starting your own business, freelance work, working remotely, changing careers entirely, etc.

Again, the idea is just to get a list of potential options so don't worry about whether they're realistic or not just yet.

7) Consider a multi-job plan

It is far less common for the dream job to land in your lap, especially if you're changing industry. It's much more common for people to move into a new industry, learn new skills and insights and then progressing further.

Setting your expectations around using stepping stone jobs will again help to avoid disappointment. This is especially true if the job ideas you've written down seem particularly crazy. If they're crazy it doesn't mean they're out of reach - you just might need a stepping stone in between there and here.

So note down the stepping stones for your craziest ideas, it'll bring them that little bit closer to reality.

For example, if you want to be a writer but don't have any experience, your steps might look something like: get a non-writing job in publishing to learn the business, or start writing a blog on the side, pitch articles to online publications, build up a portfolio of work, then finally apply for jobs as a writer at your favourite publishing house, or pitch a literary agent using your new body of work.

8) Set yourself some targets and deadlines

Most of us a terrible procrastinators, we can't help it. But if you want to make a change in your career, you're going to have to set some targets and deadlines around making it happen.

This could look like setting a deadline of six months to find a new job, or three months to start freelancing on the side. Then break this down into weekly or monthly tasks that will help you to reach your goal.

Your targets might be things like: research new companies every week, send out three job applications a week, go to one networking event a month, write one new article for your blog each week.

Again, the key is just to get started and take action. The more you do, the closer you'll get to your goal.

And finally, don't forget to celebrate your successes along the way. It can be easy to focus on how far you have left to go, but it's important to acknowledge and celebrate every step that takes you closer to where you want to be.

9) Plan how you're going to sell yourself

Most people hear "sell yourself" and want to run a mile. This is completely normal. But it doesn't recognise the realities of working life. People like to hire other people they like and/or are impressed by. So whether you realise it or not, you are constantly selling yourself to those you work with on a daily basis.

It's common advice, and good advice, to prepare a sort of elevator pitch to use when you first meet someone or during the first minutes of an interview.

The idea of an elevator pitch is to have a short, sharp way of describing who you are and what you do that's easy for someone else to understand. The best elevator pitches are usually around 30 seconds long.

Think about the qualities or experiences that make you stand out from other people in your field. This could be anything from your years of experience, to the fact that you're bilingual, or that you have a particular interest in a certain area.

Then try to distil this down into a few key points that you can easily remember and articulate. This is your elevator pitch. And it will come in handy time and again, whether you're meeting new people at networking events or going for job interviews.

Practice makes perfect. You will be nervous the first time you try it, but it will come with practice like anything else. When someone asks "so what do you do" or "tell me about yourself" you will eventually respond instinctively.

10) Map out your network

The final piece to prepare before you start your job search is to map out your network. This is the people who you know (or who your friends and family know) who might be able to help you in your job search.

Your network might include: friends, family, neighbours, acquaintances, former colleagues, teachers or professors.

The idea is to make a list of all the people you can think of who might be able to help you, either directly or indirectly.

Then reach out to them and let them know that you're looking for a new job and would appreciate any help or advice they might be able to offer.

You might be surprised by how willing people are to help, especially if they know you're serious about making a change.

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Go get 'em!

So there you have it, ten things to consider before you find a new job. If you're feeling stuck in your career, don't despair. There are always options and opportunities out there if you're willing to look for them. Take some time to prepare and plan your next steps, and then take action. 

Written by

Naomi Rothwell-Boyd

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