Looking for a new job is one of the most exciting times in your career. You’re embarking on a new journey where you’ll develop entirely new skills and experiences, as well as work on new projects, and develop new relationships.
And now that you’re starting fresh with a new job, it’s important to find the right one for you. In this article we’re going to explore some of the key things you should look for in your new job.
1. The new job helps you achieve your career goals
It’s important to have career goals and aspirations. This is what sets your direction, and gives you milestones to track progress. Because of this, it’s important to look for a new job that aligns with these goals. For example, if your goal is to work for a large corporation, then your new job should at least be at a bigger company than the last one you worked at. That way you know you’re making progress in the right direction..
One of my personal goals was to become the lead content strategist at a large company. And when I left my content writing job at a small agency, I was offered a pretty exciting project management role at another, larger agency. While I really liked the agency, I had to turn the role down as the job description didn’t align with my career goals. In the end, it was the right decision, and could have completely thrown my career off track.
2. You’re moving forward, not sideways or backwards
It’s important to keep moving forward in your career. This usually means that with every role you take, you’re assuming more responsibility, more ownership, potentially working with a bigger team, and maybe even working with a bigger company.
You also want to make sure that with your new role you’re moving forward in terms of skills and experiences. You don’t want to transition into a role in the exact same industry, doing exactly the same thing and not really developing any new competencies. All of these things considered, what “moving forward” means will be different for everyone. So it’s important to define your career goals first, and then work backwards to determine what your next steps.
3. Your negotiated salary pays you what you’re worth
This one is pretty simple. You should NEVER take a job for less money than what you’re currently making, or were making at your previous role. Also, oftentimes our annual pay increases don’t align with our actual market value. For example, you might increase your market value as an employee by $20K in a single year, just based on the things you learned, projects you successfully executed, and the experiences you developed.
However, your employer may be reluctant to sign off on a pay rise of that size. When you transition jobs, you have a perfect opportunity to leverage that market value with a hefty salary increase.
So when you negotiate your new salary, the most important thing is that you’re being paid what you’re worth. Even better is to be paid above the average marketing value for your role, with clear indications about the criteria for bonuses.
4. You’re naturally drawn to the company and its culture
Not all companies are created equal. Two direct competitors in the same industry, selling identical products and services, can have two completely opposite company cultures. One can be filled with toxic politics, poor cooperation between departments, and even sexism and and racism.
However, the other company could highly value and invest in its employees, promote a culture of new ideas and contribution, and offer incredible perks such as paid recharge days, free food and coffee, and will send you to conferences. This matters. So you should definitely look to work only with companies that promote a healthy work-life balance, and whose values and mission resonate with you.
5. The team or department structure works for you
Some people prefer to work in businesses with a flat structure, and others don’t. A flat structure is where everybody in the team directly reports (more or less) to the executive for that department.
For example, I worked for a company where I reported to a content manager, who reported to the head of digital, who reported to the chief marketing officer (CMO). The CMO then decided to strip out the layers, and made the head of digital and content manager redundant. Therefore I just reported directly to the CMO. Some people prefer this, others don’t. So try and work out how the management and team structure is built out, and make sure it works for you.
Also, the team size may not be right for you. For example, the team you’d be expected to work with is either too small, or too large in your opinion. It depends on how you like to work.
Other factors to consider when looking for a new job
Okay, so we’ve discussed the top 5 ultimate things to look for in a new job. However, there’s a couple of other factors that can make the difference between choosing one job over another.
When you’re assessing a job opportunity, there’s a couple of questions to ask. These can include: is this business a dinosaur in a declining industry? Is the industry highly volatile? Does this company seem stable?
To give you an idea, my first corporate job was for a public company in Australia. In my first few weeks, the share price dropped 50%, our TV ads were pulled off the air, and our CEO stepped down. My head was spinning, and I had no idea if my job was secure or not. Working for a public company can sometimes mean you ride the emotional highs and lows of the company, and the uncertainty of it all. And this isn’t for everyone.
It Suits Your Lifestyle
Where possible, it’s important to look for a job that suits your lifestyle. For example, if you have a wife and young children, then working from 8AM until 8PM probably won’t jive like it did in your twenties. Also, some people don’t mind commuting for an hour to work, but others shudder at the thought.
So it’s important to find a job that suits you in terms of location. This will influence how long it take you to commute or drive to work. Also, different companies have different expectations about working late, or coming in on the weekends, or having to travel, so it’s important to be aware of those expectations going into the job.
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Will Vaughan is the Founder & CEO of Your Career Mastery. He’s dedicated to helping young professionals discover and land the job of their dreams using a mix of proven strategies, tips, tools, and mindsets. He currently works as a Content & SEO manager for a 100 million dollar tech company in Melbourne, Australia.