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7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start A Job Search

by Mina Machacek

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"Should I stay or should I go?" 

It's the ultimate question for anyone thinking about starting a new job. 

Changing jobs is a common part of working life. In fact, it's thought that the average person will have nine jobs in their lifetime and that number is set to increase for millennials. But how do you know whether you would be happier in a new job or whether you are better staying where you are?

There are a number of considerations you should take into account before making the leap and starting a new job. Before you make that choice, you need to be honest with yourself and set aside some time for self-reflection. 

Ask yourself these 7 questions before you start a job search: 

1. Who am I? 

It's time for self-reflection, ask yourself:

  • Who are you, really?
  • What is your purpose?
  • What are your goals?
  • What are your likes? Your dislikes?
  • What are your strengths? 
  • What are your areas for improvement?
  • What are your best traits? Your worst? 

Take some time to contemplate the answers to these questions... do they point you in a certain direction? 

2. What am I doing at the moment?

So, what are you doing at the moment? Analyse your current job and career path and think about the tasks and responsibilities you carry out on a day-to-day basis. Are you where you want to be? 

3. What do I want?

Finding a job that aligns with both your career goals and lifestyle is essential. After all, your goal should be to find a role that you're truly excited about. Take a moment to review your priorities, determine what kind of work will make you happy and determine a clear path for your future.  

Think about the different aspect of your current job and your place of employment. What do you like? What don't you like? What do you want to do more of? It's good to have clarity on what you would like your next role to entail. 

You may want to consider your: 

  • Tasks and responsibilities
  • Work environment 
  • Work-life balance
  • Location and commute 
  • Training and development 
  • Culture 
  • People 
  • Salary and benefits
  • Hours of work  
  • Opportunities for progression 

If you're curious about how your current roles measures against similar roles in the industry, you can use an online salary survey to find out more. Once you know what appeals to you and what you want to get out of your next role, you will have a better idea of what your next steps should be. 

4. Why do I want it? 

Do you dread going into the office every morning? Are you looking to step up and take on more responsibility in your role? Maybe you're looking for a better salary? There are many reasons to make a move. 

If your current job doesn't excite you as much as it used to, you're not alone! According to a survey from LinkedIn, the top reasons why people left their old jobs were:

  •     Lack of opportunities for advancement (45%)
  •     Unsatisfied with the leadership of senior management (41%) 
  •     Unsatisfied with the work environment/culture (36%)
  •     Want more challenging work (36%)
  •     Unsatisfied with compensation/benefits (34%) 
  •     Unsatisfied with the rewards/recognition for my contributions (32%) 

All of these things should be clear in your mind for you to be able to set priorities about what you want. When you understand why you want to move, you will be able to choose a role that will work for you. 

5. When is the right time?

First, have you exhausted all opportunities at your current job? Have you taken all the steps you can to make your job better? If you have explored all of the options without success, then it may be time to move on. 

Changing jobs is a decision that will affect many aspects of your life, especially in the initial few months when you adjust to a new company, work environment and role. Are you in a position to be able to make those changes? Determine whether you are comfortable with making those changes and starting in a new company. If you're up for the challenge, you will need to ensure that you invest in the time to settle in and knuckle down on your new role. 

6. How will I get it?

Once you've defined what you want, you must work out the step you need to take to get to where you want to be. 

  • Do you need to do any additional study to gain the knowledge and skills for your next role? 
  • Have you created a tailored CV and cover letter for the positions you're applying for?
  • Have you done any industry research? 
  • Have you completed your applications and started the interview process

7. What do I need to overcome? 

Research shows that people typically wait 1-2 years before actually making a change in their careers. Just like it's easy to leave a job for the wrong reasons, many people allow fear or lack of confidence to drive their decision to hold back on taking a new role. What's holding you back? What do you need to overcome?

A study conducted by LinkedIn found that the top five barriers in the way of job switching were:

  •     "What if I don't like it or it's worse than where I already am?" (22%)
  •     "I lack strong enough experience" (21%)
  •     "I am apprehensive about taking on a new role" (19%)
  •     "I don't think I can do it" (18%)
  •     "Can't be bothered to go through the process" (16%)

It can be nerve-racking to overcome your fears but at the end of the day if you've done the research, the positives outweigh the negatives and your gut is telling you to make the move, you should trust your intuition. 

Changing jobs is a big decision that requires careful consideration and a clear understanding of what you really want. If you've considered these questions (and their answers) when applying for a new job, you'll ensure you're making the right choice based on your career goals. 

If you've decided you'd like to take the leap, why not search for your next dream job here. 


Meet the Author

Mina Machacek | Recruitment Director
020 7929 2999 | mmachacek@creativepersonnel.co.uk
Find out more about Mina here. 

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