According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median job tenure is 4.2 years. Forbes states that 91% of Millennials are expecting to stay at a job no longer than 3 years. So what does that mean? Well, a whole lot of people are struggling to find the right career fit.
People are trying something, finding out it’s not “for them”, and then jumping to the next opportunity. And this vicious cycle can continue on for awhile.
It’s hard to know what you want to do and where you want to work. The interview process is often more tailored to the company finding the right employee fit than giving the candidate ample opportunity to make sure it’s the right career fit for them. So it makes sense that a lot of people find themselves in a job that isn’t fulfilling.
But how exactly do you go about finding the right career fit? There are a few things you can do to better align your next opportunity with your career goals….
Determine what you’re looking for. Or at least, what you’re NOT looking for.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what you want to do next. But it might not be as hard to figure out what you DON’T want to do next. If there were specific things that you didn’t like about your previous job, avoid those things in your job search. Learn from your prior experience. Maybe you hated feeling like an anonymous number at a large corporation? Only look at small to medium sized companies then.
Help to narrow your search down by thinking about the following questions:
- Would I prefer to work at a large company or a small company?
- What type of corporate culture do I want to immerse myself in?
- Would I rather work for a company that sells a tangible product or an intangible service?
- Where am I at in life? Do I need a job with the flexibility to work from home? Do I want a job with lots of travel opportunities?
- What kinds of people do I tend to work best with and in what environment?
- What are my greatest strengths that I can bring to a company?
Do your research!
There are a lot of people who, when they’re looking for a new job, apply to just about every single opportunity they see. While it may not take a ton of time to send off a resume, it’s still a waste to apply to jobs that are not even remotely what you’re looking for. You want a job in the nursing field? Why are you spending your time applying to a logistics company then? Read the job description and make sure that the opportunity at least initially looks like something that would align with your wants and needs.
While the job description and company website should give you some general information about the position and the company, it’s probably not going to give you a full picture. Look at their social media as well – smaller companies especially often use their social media to promote their corporate culture. Use LinkedIn to see who works for the company, and reach out to mutual connections or alumni of your university to get their take on the work environment.
Prepare tons of questions.
During the interview process, there will be lots of opportunities to ask questions, probably to several different employees. Be strategic and have a lot of questions prepared on the top aspects of the company and role that you’re looking for. If culture is really important to you, ask questions about that. Read more about good questions to ask during the interview here. Asking current employees about their experiences with the company is a great way to determine if the environment is going to be the right one for you.
Take time to think about the offer.
If you get a formal job offer, don’t rush into anything. Make sure you see everything in writing, but also give yourself time to think about the job opportunity. No job is ever going to be perfect, but there should be more positives about the role than negatives. You should be excited about the job opportunity! If you aren’t excited and the job doesn’t meet your main qualifications, then you should keep looking. While accepting a job doesn’t mean you’re obligated to stay there forever, it is a big decision and one that is going to affect your daily life for at least some time. The decision shouldn’t be made lightly – you should be confident that you’re making the right decision.
There is no exact science for finding the right career fit, but you can learn from your previous experiences to make a better informed choice next time. Sometimes you don’t really know if you’re going to love a job until after you get settled into it, but by reflecting on what you want, researching companies and applying strategically, preparing questions, and taking time to think about the offer, you can make a good next career move.
By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding