5 Tips for Landing Your Ideal Next Job

In my business executive roles and mentoring experience, I have found many business professionals in the wrong roles, and/or very unhappy with their current positions. I believe much of this could be avoided by more focus on your career aspirations, and more diligent efforts on your part during the initial hiring process. It pays to work smart in developing your own career.

I haven’t found any magic formula for perfectly managing your career, but I have found some basic strategies that too many professionals ignore during the heat of emotion in finding and landing an attractive next step in their career journey.

I find these detailed well in a new Work Smart book, “Experience, Opportunity, and Developing Your Career,” published by the Harvard Business Review. In it, Roxanne Calder details five ways to figure out if a job is right for you. I will paraphrase these tactics here, adding my own insights, and I recommend that every business professional practice each in their next job search:

1. Evaluate the job description with a critical mindset. Look for a clear definition of the responsibilities you would hold, how your performance will be measured, and whether the skill sets required match your current capabilities. Look for words or phrases that sound confusing or vague. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions during your interviews.

2. Assess the company culture for a good personal fit. Every company has a culture of values, habits, and behaviors that define the day-to-day work environment. You will need to feel comfortable and confident to enjoy the role, as well as grow and learn along the way. Observe your surroundings during interviews and informally talk to team members.

3. Determine if salary/benefits match market value. Check websites like Glassdoor and Payscale for information about the market value of specific roles in different locations. Also you need to check with friends and peers who may have worked in similar fields or positions. Walk a fine line with the hiring manager to avoid coming off as money-hungry.

4. Conduct your own background/reference checks. For your potential boss and the company, use online platforms such as LinkedIn to assess profiles or find other references who can give you background info. If possible, get to know potential coworkers to better understand company values, views, and the work environment.

5. Share your career goals with the hiring manager. Your decision to accept or decline an offer should be driven by your interests, value, and career goals at least two years out. Being clear and transparent about your priorities during the interview process will help you make the best decision and avoid career roadblocks further down the road.

At first glance, these recommendations may seem like extra and unnecessary work, but the more you engage in the process, the better and more confident you will be in your own career decisions. Today’s workplace, whether it be an office, at home, or a hybrid, has now become a place where you must bring your whole self, not just your skills and expertise.

We all want you to find a role and a company that works for you and your career goals, just as much as you work for the business.

Related: 6 Reasons Big Businesses Rely on Small Businesses