What to look for in a new job

The new year is a time when lots of us return to our current job feeling restless and, quite possibly, a bit dissatisfied.

January and job hunting go hand in hand and four in ten people start looking for a new role in the new year, according to Jobsite.co.uk. But what sort of things should you consider before you start trawling the recruitment websites and updating your CV?

Business and strategy coach Ramona da Gama says one of the main reasons people start looking for a new role is because they feel undervalued and underappreciated in their current job.

First and foremost, you need to know yourself, says da Gama. “It is really important for you to understand your personal brand and the vision you have for your future,” she comments. “Then you need to find an employer whose values, vision and culture are aligned with yours.”

All though salary is, of course, fundamentally important, you should also look at what the company can offer beyond that. “You should make sure you work for a business that offers personal development, has a transformational culture and a clear vision for the future,” says da Gama.

James O’Hara, operations manager at JobsTheWord Ltd recruitment website, says it’s also about managing your expectations and looking at what another role could offer in comparison to what your current job provides. “The grass may not always be greener,” he notes. Weighing up your current salary and outgoings with what you hope to earn in a new role could also be an effective way of differentiating between a potential job and your existing one.

“Reviewing your job in terms of cost of travel, time to travel and the local area will allow to fully compare a new and existing role. Being happy in your job and creating a career will generally be a much better choice than a higher salary with a longer commute,” says O’Hara.

If you still feel like you’re itching to jump ship, what sort of things should you do to prepare for a new role? “When we apply for jobs, we are really ‘pitching’ so it is very important to understand what the challenges, aspirations and needs of the role are and match that with what you have,” advises da Gama. “More importantly, you need to prove that what we say is true, so case studies and testimonials are essential.”

Don’t forget to update and check your social media profile too. Check the privacy settings on your Facebook page and make sure there are no incriminating or controversial posts on Twitter or Instagram or anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start weighing up exactly what it is you want in your new role and for your future. Location, salary and prospects are all important but you should also think about the company’s organisational culture and how you will get on with your future colleagues.

It’s always a good idea to meet as many of the team you could be working with to get an idea of what they are like and how you will fit in before signing on the dotted line.

You also need to think about the bigger, long-term career picture, says O’Hara. “With any company you are working with you need to believe in the product or service they provide and buy into the company and organisational structure,” he notes. “Not doing this will slowly but surely lead to an unhappy work life.

You may also be perfectly happy earning a larger amount of money now without career progression prospects. However, a year or two down the road you may feel very different. Thinking long term will keep you happy long term.”

It’s also important to ‘keep it real’ says O’Hara. “You should always be honest when applying for jobs. You can modify your CV and covering letters, but stay truthful,” he notes. “There’s nothing worse than wondering if a new company will find out about falsified information or the worry you’ll experience within your first few days should you have overstated experience.”

Ensuring you update your CV and that you have provided an up to date summary of your current job, relevant training courses and key skills is vital.

Photo: Cain Squires began studying an AAT qualification at 38 after his interest in accountancy grew and currently works at the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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