Here are 4 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Job Search:
What is my personal brand?
As you job hop and change careers, your personal brand is the only thing that stays with you. Think about the words you want others to use when describing you and your work. Maybe your words are sophisticated and agile. Do your resume, LinkedIn profile, social media presence, appearance, and written and verbal communication emulate those words? If not, you might want to make some changes before you start your job search to make sure they do. Your personal brand is what you are selling when you interview. If it is strongly defined, you will be that much more likely to stand out from the crowd when applying to jobs.
Does a move right now make sense for my career?
Try to look at your resume or LinkedIn profile objectively. Employers like to see some stability and career progression. You have to ask yourself whether a new job right now will make you look like a job hopper. Also, will the next job title make sense on your resume. It would not make sense if you are a Director to move to a Manager position or for a payroll person to move into marketing. Your resume tells a story. Make sure it is the story you want to tell and that you are being purposeful about it.
Why am I looking for another job?
Sometimes you look for another job because you are bored or unchallenged. If this is the case, you might want to connect with your manager first and explore the growth opportunities in your current company. Maybe you can cross-train with others in new areas, take on an exciting new project, or get reimbursed for outside training certifications. Usually though, people leave their manager before they leave a company. So if it is because of a horrible manager, think about how you will spin that when you are interviewing and you are asked why you are looking. You never want to bad mouth a current employer to a prospective employer. It does not make you look good.
What should my salary expectations be?
Just because you would like a raise does not mean that the market will support it. Research what the average salary is for a person of your experience and background. Compare your current benefits to that of the industry standard. If you currently have 4 weeks of vacation because of tenure, will you be willing to give that up to go to another job? Be realistic about your expectations before you invest the time in a true job search.
If, after asking yourself these questions, you feel in pretty good shape, then it may be the right time to start looking for a new job. Have any other other questions to add? I would love to hear from you.
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