You’ve spent the last three months searching for a job and company that not only interests you, but that you’re confident you can excel in. Unfortunately, you’ve only been able to find one or the other.
Finding the right job fit isn’t always easy. The job search can be a painstakingly long process defined by constant hills and valleys (seemingly a lot of the latter).
In fact, job seekers report increasingly longer hiring times, with the job interview process taking an average of 22.9 days in the U.S., according to a June research report by Glassdoor. The reason? Glassdoor’s report found that labor markets in some countries simply do a better job at matching job seekers and companies.
When it comes to finding the right job fit, you have to be your own advocate. You’ll have a much better chance of success if you take the time to understand your goals, values, and skills — and how they apply to various positions and organizations.
So, here are six questions to ask yourself before beginning your job search:
1. Why am I job hunting?
What led you to begin your job search? Are you looking for your first job out of college? Are you unhappy in your current position? Identifying why you’re looking for a job is the first step in finding the best possible job fit.
Let’s say you are, in fact, unhappy in your current role. Spend some time figuring out why you’re not satisfied. Maybe there’s a lack of development or advancement opportunities. Now you know to look for those opportunities during your job search. Answering this question before beginning your search will ensure you don’t fall into a similar situation.
2. Where do I see myself a year from now?
Goals give you something to actively work toward and be excited about. Establishing short- and long-term goals is a necessary step in developing a solid career path and finding a job that you’ll enjoy and be good at.
An easy way to set career goals is to determine where you see yourself a year from now. What do you hope to accomplish in that time? To better set long-term goals for yourself, where would you like to be in five years? These questions can help you figure out what you’d like to accomplish and what it’ll take to achieve those goals.
3. What path do I have to take to make this happen?
Now that you’ve established your short- and long-term career goals, it’s time to figure out how to make those dreams a reality. Discover exactly what it’ll take to achieve your goals. That can mean pursuing further education or training, getting involved in professional development and networking events, building your knowledge and experience through lower-level jobs — you get the idea.
To establish a clear direction, try looking at job ads for positions you’re working toward. What skill, experience, and education levels do those jobs require? This information can give you a better idea of what path to take.
4. What do I have to offer employers?
Whether you’re fresh out of school or have some professional experience under your belt, you have something to offer employers.
List out your experiences — in and out of school — and what you learned from each. Next, determine how those lessons, skills, and experiences can be applied to the workplace. This is something you absolutely want to figure out before being asked “Why should we hire you?” in a job interview.
5. What skills would I like to acquire/expand on?
While you need to know what value you can bring to a company, you also want to know what the company can offer you — this is where you really have to become your own advocate. Determine what skills could use some work and what skills you’d like to acquire. This will help you find a position that will provide the necessary resources to help you grow and develop as a professional.
6. What type of company do I see myself in?
Last, but certainly not least, find out what type of company you see yourself in based on your personality. When it comes to finding the right job fit, skills and experience aren’t all that matters. Your personality and interests are equally important, as they can help you determine whether you’d fit within a particular company’s culture.
For instance, if you work best independently, you might be more open to working in a traditional cubicle, whereas someone who enjoys collaborating and isn’t distracted as easily might enjoy working in an open office space. Or maybe you want a position that will allow you to make a big impact on the company. If that’s the case, maybe it’s the startup life you seek. Whatever the case, strive to find a company that fits your needs, skills, interests, and future goals.
What are some other things job seekers should nail down before they begin their job search?