Job Search Series – Step 2 – Know What You’re Looking For

Job Search Series - Step 2 - Reasearch

This is the second step in my Job Search Series, knowing what you’re looking for. In the previous step we looked at analyzing your past to know what you’ve done and where you came from work wise. Now you really need to know where you’re going or where you would like to be going.

If you happen to know exactly what you want to do then that’s great, amazing even, but a great many people when faced with the prospect of changing jobs aren’t quite that certain. Over time our jobs change and evolve to the point where we really aren’t doing what we started off as. Not only this, but you also need to consider what would make you happy and be fulfilling work. This step like the first step is incredibly important because you can later adjust your resume to suit.

We’ve got our notes from what we’ve done in the past; so where do we go from here? What I’ve done in the past is I’ve gone to online job sites and done some research. These sites have thousands of postings with hundreds of job titles. By going though these listings you can see if the tasks you’ve done in the past are those of a Project Manager or a Business Analyst or essentially whatever. Going through various postings will give us a better understanding of what the jobs entail and what might be expected of us if we were to take those jobs on.

If you happen to know what title you’re looking for (say a Project Manager) don’t think that this step doesn’t apply to you. There are many different roles and responsibilities that can pertain to any particular job. You want to make sure that you’ve got a good understanding of what the expectations might be and to make sure that they are appropriate for you.

Another aspect of this research is that it helps you identify possible companies and their attributes, values and work environments. Unless you need a job immediately to pay overdue bills you can be a little pickier with the choices that you’re making. If you didn’t like your company because you had to deal with too much politics then you want to identify that as something that you are looking for in your next company. The work environment is something that makes or breaks a job in my opinion.

Once you know the type of company and the approximate job that you want keeping in mind reality (we’d all like to go from office clerk to president) you will have everything you need to write that resume and apply for the jobs. In many cases you might even have the jobs already picked out. If you’ve got your resume written you might want to adjust it but we’ll cover that off in the next step.

Some job search sites that I’ve used in the past:
I’m sure there are a lot more sites out there but I’ve managed to get good results just using these. Since I’m in the middle of looking for work myself if anyone has some good sites definitely pass them along.

The next post in the series Step 3 – Write your Resume will be posted up on Wednesday so definitely keep an eye out for it.

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