How Do You Stay in Control of Your Job Search?—Keep Asking Questions

  • Making a decision to switch jobs can feel liberating
  • But to stay in control of your job search, you should keep asking the right questions
  • Check in with yourself regularly to avoid wrong turns

Deciding to start looking for a new job can feel liberating. Once you’ve made a decision, you’re able to focus on your next steps, which makes you feel powerful and in control. But it can be easy to get overwhelmed once you start considering all your options.

Before you update your résumé and check openings at all your dream employers, take a moment to ask yourself what you really want from this job search. Interview yourself, as it were, about the strategies you’ll use to approach this new phase.

Understand the reasons behind your decision to leave your current job

Unless you know what you don’t like about the job you have now, you may not know what to look for as you consider your next employer and position. Initiating a job hunt without clear goals will leave you wide open to quickly becoming overwhelmed by possibilities.

Ask yourself these questions and take the time to come up with thoughtful answers, then write them down so you can refer back to them as you progress through your job search:

  • What about my current job has led to my decision to move on?
  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities I’d like to carry out in my new job?
  • Which positions lend themselves to those functions?
  • Are there specific companies I want to check at for openings?

If something doesn’t feel right, don’t talk yourself into it

It’s not enough for a job opportunity to sound great on paper. A lot of things sound great on paper. But a job is a big commitment, and it has to feel right in your gut. If anything seems even a little bit off, trust your intuition.

I once applied to an online company that seemed to tick all the boxes—reputable, innovative, headquartered in Silicon Valley, with trendy offices in the city center. I passed the initial screening and prepared heavily for the next phase, a video interview. On the morning of, the hiring manager notified me with seven minutes’ notice that he’d have to reschedule. Not only did he neglect to apologize, but his email practically demanded an immediate reply from me, accepting the rescheduled start time.

I could’ve dismissed it as an inconvenient happenstance, and trekked on reluctantly through the rest of the recruitment process. Instead, I went with my gut—then and there, I withdrew my application. If this was how my time was treated at the interview stage, what could I realistically expect in terms of management dynamics had I gone on to be recruited? That wasn’t a chance I was willing to take—not for nice offices and a fashionable brand on my résumé.

Keep questioning until you’re absolutely sure

Even once you’ve found a role that sparks your enthusiasm and the interview process seems to be going well, you shouldn’t stop questioning. When the recruiter or hiring manager checks if there’s anything you’d like to ask them, go right ahead.

If you’re eventually offered the position, take some time to reflect on the offer. It’s more than reasonable to wait a day before giving an answer. According to author and consultant Sally Bibb, you should ask yourself at least three important questions after having been offered a job but before accepting it:

  • What do I really love doing at work and how much of my time will I be spending doing that in this new role?
  • What’s really important to me?
  • What motivates me, and is this role likely to light my fire?

Checking back in with yourself post-interview will bring you back to basics and allow you to make some last-minute evaluations about where you’re headed. If after considering your options, you’re convinced this job is “the one,” then you’ll have accomplished what you set out to do. Better yet, you’ll have done so without losing control of the process, setting you up for success in your new role before you’ve even started it.

Further Reading

If this article helped you, you might like the ones below, too:

3 Habits for Staying Motivated During a Career Change
6 Thoughts Keeping You Tied to a Job You Hate (And 6 New Thoughts to Replace Them)
3 Techniques to Tailor Your Résumé to Any Job Offer (And Still Save Time)

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About Betenwrite

Betenwrite.com offers original content focused on personal and professional change, including a résumé design library featuring free and easy-to-edit templates. The mission of the site is to inspire people to let go of the negative stories that are holding them back, and instead start taking real-world steps toward aligning their professional lives with their personal selves.

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