What’s the Best Next Job for You?

Categories: Job Search

Do you sometimes feel like the position you have or the company where you work isn’t the best fit for you anymore? It’s not uncommon. Many aren’t in a good fit now—and some have little idea what their best next job is either. The statistics tell the story. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 report, Baby Boomers hold an average of 12.3 jobs throughout their careers. And Millennials move even more often: Gallup found that 21% started a new job within the past year—a number three times higher than other age groups.

Suffice to say, people don’t stay in the same position or company for decades any longer. They leave for a number of reasons, and one of the most pressing is that the role is no longer fulfilling. Let’s face it: we spend a lot of time at work. If you’re not happy there, it’s likely time for a change.

If you are at the point where you’re considering a move to a new role or company, you have a few questions to consider. And they start with some internal reflection.

Questions to Ask Yourself About a New Job

Before you even start dusting off your resume to apply to a new role, you need to first know which role will be right for you. That means taking time to do some thinking about your best next job. Grab a pen and paper and start with these questions:

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What do you like and not like in your current position or company?
  • What do you wish you had more of in your career?
  • What do you wish you had less of?
  • Where do you see your career evolving?
  • What makes you tick?
  • What gets you excited to wake up and go to work every morning?

Obviously, there are plenty of resources you can find online to help with your job search, but it fundamentally starts with you. Only you know what’s really going to work for you in a position or company.

As a wise man once said, “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Before you look for a new position or company, look at what you love to do first.

Translating What You Want into a New Job

As you start to reflect on what you really want in your next position, you’ll begin to see correlations with job descriptions. Perhaps you love to work on a computer creating code, or maybe you’re more of a phone customer service person…. Everything that interests you will relate to a job.

Head over to the internet to search job titles and job descriptions based on what you’ve discovered in your internal reflections. Compare what you find with your answers to the questions about what you like to do. This will help you further elaborate what you want and don’t want, like and don’t like.

The goal, of course, is to determine what it is you really want in your career. You might find that you’re already doing some of it where you are, or maybe you’re laying out the specifics of your dream job. There’s even a possibility that you’re looking at changing industries altogether. Remember there are no right or wrong answers at this point, so roll with whatever you find.

As you’re reviewing job titles and descriptions, take a look, too, at the career trajectory in these positions and industries. Might you start as an associate and move up through management, vice president, and C level? Is leadership something you’re looking for, or would you rather stay at a lower level? Can you leverage the experience you have already to make this move? And perhaps most importantly, how does that career path merge with your own?

Research Companies That Are Looking for a Position You Want

After you’ve determined what your industry and job title might be, it’s time to look for companies that are hiring individuals in those positions. There may be myriad companies that hire the role you’re seeking; every company has an accountant, for instance. That means you’ll want to do research on the different companies to determine if what they do is a fit with what you want.

Resources abound online for your company research: LinkedIn, Spoke, and ZoomInfo come to mind, but there are others. Dig into the companies you’re reviewing. What are the titles of the people working there? How long are people staying in their roles? What do the company reviews look like? Do the companies have any job postings? You’ll start to be drawn to certain companies for your best next job as you read about their people, their mission, and their culture.

Your inclination at this point might be to start applying to jobs as you find them but hold on a little longer. Your goal is to build a database of companies, people, and positions. This is your arsenal that will help you really create results and land that best next job. You might have 100 or more names of companies written down by the end of this exercise—and that’s perfect.

Eventually, as you continue your research, you’ll whittle down that list to maybe 50 or 60. Make sure that your desires and goals mesh with the corporate culture of the companies you’re considering. There’s nothing worse than being in a position with a company whose value just aren’t in alignment with your own.

Find the Right People Who Can Help You Get Your Best Next Job

During all this research, you’ll see which positions report to others. That’s important because that information will help you determine who it is you need to reach out to. For instance, if you’re looking for a sales manager job, contacting the current sales manager to talk about a company’s hiring needs won’t be very helpful. But reaching out to the VP of sales might be.

Also, research people in talent acquisition and human resources at your target companies. They’re the gatekeepers and can help you maneuver the company hierarchy. In some companies, you’ll have to go through HR, so consider them among your valuable contacts.

Once you have some names on your list, you may want to start with informational interviews to learn more about these companies, roles, and industries. While you might think these types of meetings are only beneficial for graduating college students, they truly can help at any level in your career. Through these conversations, you’ll make even more connections between where you are and where you want to be to get to your best next job.

If you find that you aren’t qualified to make a move right now, determine what steps you can take to get there. Remember that, in some instances, you’ll have to move down in your career trajectory so you can get to where you really want to be. But if it allows you to have a fulfilling career path, that short-term sacrifice now can pay dividends in the end.

When a Company Isn’t Hiring

What if you find your dream job at a great company and have made inroads with the right person—and find out they’re not currently hiring? This isn’t the time to throw in your hat and stop trying. In fact, many companies without posted positions actually are accepting resumes and recruiting talent. They may be anticipating upcoming growth and could use someone with your experience. Plus, it could turn out that the right company will create a role for you because they are so blown away with your passion, clear focus, and fit!

If, even with everything going for you, the company just isn’t at a place where they can extend an offer, it’s still not over. Things change every day. Perhaps the position that is the best next job for you will open up in a week or a month. People change companies and roles all the time, so stay in touch with your new connection and check back from time to time to see what’s new.

Reap the Benefits of Your Research

All of this can sound like a time-consuming task, but getting a job is, in fact, a job in itself. Your goal with starting internally and doing your homework is to not only find out what your perfect career path is but to start pursuing it! With this approach, you can easily secure 10–20 interviews that turn into 4–5 offers, allowing you to make the right choice for yourself. What a win that would be!

Throughout your job search and interaction with potential employers, always be meaningful, be honest, and provide value. Those are the keys to success.


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