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Looking for the job you want can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been burned before. The good news is that finding a job that makes you happy doesn’t have to be hard. But it does take self-reflection and a bit of research on your end. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves! Use these insider tips to find a job that is perfect for you.

Take an honest look at yourself and what you want

It’s important to take the time to really look inside yourself and determine what it is you actually want from a new job. Taking an honest look at yourself and your goals can help you determine what is right for you.

Create a “Love it, Hate it” List

What do you want? What do you REALLY want? Sometimes creating a list of things you have loved and hated at previous jobs will help direct you toward a better fit. Here’s a list to help you get started with reviewing what you loved and hated from previous jobs:

  • Healthcare, Retirement Benefits
  • Wellness, Discounts, and Other Benefits
  • Pay, Overtime, Bonuses
  • Sick and Vacation Days
  • Management Style
  • Career Growth and Advancement
  • Skillset Growth and Training
  • Flexibility, Hours, Schedule
  • Remote Work, In-office work
  • Office Location, Commute Time

Keep adding to your list as you review job openings and companies you’re interested in. You’ll end up with a comprehensive list that will help you weed out the opportunities that aren’t a fit and highlight the opportunities you should definitely look into.

Take a Career Assessment

Learn more about yourself with a career assessment (or two!). Taking career assessments can be a great way to generate ideas about potential new career paths or ways to grow in your current career. There are a variety of career assessments online, including those that focus on interests, skills, and values. Here are a few to get started with:

  • has a few tests you can take ranging from free to $20. These tests help you identify your motivations and what you value in your career.
  • iSeek “Clusters” is an interesting test (and one of the shorter tests). You rate activities you enjoy, personal qualities that are important to you, and school subjects you enjoy. You then get “clusters” of career ideas that match your results.
  • MyNextMove is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and helps you determine your interests. It’s a longer quiz with very specific job-related questions to helps you dig deep into which jobs you’ll like the best.

Once you have taken an assessment, use the results to explore different career options and consider how to make the most of your skillsets.

Conduct an Objective Assessment of Your Skillset

To conduct your own skillset assessment, you will want to look at your past performance reviews, think through feedback you’ve been given by your managers, and we recommend also asking people you trust for honest feedback.

Once you have conducted a thorough assessment, you’ll be able to identify areas where you can improve and areas where you excel. Grab a piece of paper and write an honest assessment of yourself in these areas:

  • Communication: How well do you communicate and collaborate with subordinates, team members, and upper management? Do you feel comfortable working side by side with all levels?
  • Problem-solving: Are you able to think critically and analytically when solving problems? Do emotions or ego get in the way?
  • Programs and hard skills: Which programs and hard skills are you proficient in? Which do you need more training in? Are there new programs or skills you’ll need if you switch companies or industries?
  • Organization: Are you well organized? Have you received feedback that you need to be more detail oriented? What about feedback around time-management?

Your goal is to arrive at the job interview feeling confident in your skillsets with an objective overview of your strengths and weaknesses.

Ask a Mentor for Insight

A mentor or someone who knows you well can help shine a spotlight on hidden strengths and offer insights into how each job opportunity fits into your long-term career goals.  Once you have a few job listings or industries you’re interested in, talk to your mentor and get their thoughts.

Scope out the Company and Make Sure It’s a Fit

What does your ideal work environment look like? Think about the type of company, the mission and values, the size of the organization, the location, the team dynamics, and the culture. Now is the time to research the company and ensure that it aligns with your values.

Request an Informational Interview

Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a career or industry you’re interested in. They’re are usually set up with someone who would be your peer at the company or who already has the job you want. It’s a great way to see what their job is like and to get advice for how to proceed forward. Plus, you’ll get the “inside scoop” that is not usually available online.

To make the most of an informational interview, make sure to do your research and come prepared with questions. Ask about what a typical day looks like, what challenges they have faced, and what tips they have for success in the field.

Research Company Culture

Company culture has such a huge impact on your mental health. It’s always a good idea to check out the culture before applying. This can be done by:

  • Reviewing their social media accounts
  • Researching the company through their website
  • Reading their mission statement and reviewing past accomplishments
  • Reading reviews from former employees
  • Interviewing current employees

This research will help you understand the expectations and values of the organization and how they might impact your day-to-date life as an employee.

Learn More About the Office Location and Remote Work Options

Commute time is one of the “hidden” factors that can ruin a great job. While looking at new opportunities, you might initially think that adding just 10 minutes to your commute isn’t a big deal, but that extra time could have a bigger impact on your day than you think! We recommend you make a drive to the location before the interview and see how you feel about it.

A long commute can be stressful, and it takes away from the time you could be spending with family, friends or pursuing hobbies. However, those living in smaller communities are usually accustomed to longer commute times. So, if that’s not a factor for you because you’re used to it, then you’ll have more job options to look at! If you’re in a smaller community and know that commute life is not for you, then you may want to look for remote work opportunities.

It’s important to find a job that is within your driving range or one that has remote work options so you can find a balance between work and personal life.

Understand the Dynamics of the Industry

Staying on top of current news and trends within the industries you’re looking at is an important part of this research process. You may find some industries are heading into unstable times which can mean job insecurities later.

Review news and trends in the industry

Look into the current economic and political climate and consider future changes that could affect the industry. This information will help you determine if the job is in a stable industry. Here are a few ways to brush up on current news and trends:

  • Subscribing to industry newsletters
  • Following industry blogs and publications
  • Attending industry conferences and networking events
  • Connecting with industry experts on LinkedIn
  • Consulting colleagues and mentors for the latest news and updates

It can be difficult to determine which industries are toxic to work in without first-hand experience. However, following online forums and industry hashtags on Instagram and TikTok can help you find personal insights that will give you a more in-depth picture that you can’t find in industry publications.

Talk to People You Know in the Industry

Speak to people you know who already work in the industry or have experience with it. They can provide valuable insight into what the job entails, the qualifications needed, and any tips or tricks for acing the interview.

By taking the time to evaluate your skillsets, think through your ideal work environment, research the company culture and review the state of the industry, you can find a job that meets your needs and helps you reach your career objectives.

Ready to Elevate Your Career?

Consider using a recruiter to help guide your next job search. We research the company and the industry before you ever apply! Here at Westphal Staffing, it is part of our culture to make connections, recognize humans as individuals, and collaborate with professionals. Today, more than ever that culture is transforming the career-building experience, making us a different kind of staffing company. Call or text us today at (715) 845-5569!