Do you just start emailing your resume to listings on job boards? Send it out to some recruiters? Carry it with you to job fairs? Well, yes, yes, and yes.
But even before getting your new resume into circulation, it’s smart to ask yourself what kind of job you really want.
I’ve compiled this list of questions to make it easy for you to get a handle on your job search, to save you time and frustration, and to improve your chances to find the a job that fits you perfectly.
Identify Your Next Boss
If you don’t already have a list of your ideal employers, ask yourself —
What is the target industry where I want to work?
What kind of company do I want to work for? Is it public, private, or nonprofit? Is it a startup or well-established company?
Do I want to work for a small or large company, or somewhere in between? You can identify the size of a company by the number of people it employs – 1 to 20, 21 to 50, 51-100, more than 100, or more than 500.
What kind of ownership structure do I prefer? Do I want to work for a family-owned company? A sole proprietorship? A big multinational company with an international parent company? A franchise? A company with a centralized ownership group? A corporate entity?
Where geographically do I want to work? If you can’t identify a state or city or neighborhood, you can identify location by other factors like how close it is to where you live now, or what kind of climate you prefer. Ask yourself if you want to work for a company that offers telecommuting, so it doesn’t matter where you live.
How about company culture, the shared values of employers and employees? What is important to you in terms of a company’s mission, commitment to employees, sense of fun, emphasis on learning, leadership style, systems and processes, and its recruiting and hiring style?
Clarify Your Ideal Job
To determine what your target position is, ask yourself —
What are the possible job titles for the type of work I want to do? Different companies will have different titles for the same position, so the more job titles you can list, the easier it will be for you to research your opportunities.
What does a typical day look like in my ideal position? Would it involve meetings? Would you be working independently on projects, as part of a team, or both? Would they be short-term projects, or long-term projects? Would you be working with the public? Would you be traveling?
What kind of reporting structure do I prefer? Who would be my immediate supervisor? What about the people who will report to me?
What are my salary expectations? Although compensation is an important element, remember that benefits and other non-cash perks are part of the total package.
Armed with the information you’ve distilled from these questions about your ideal job and your ideal employer, you can now put that fresh resume to work for you. Your job search will be more focused, you’ll be more prepared to answer interview questions, and you’re more likely to be hired where you’ll contribute and be happy.