questions to ask yourself before you begin your job search

5 questions to ask yourself before you begin your job search

Published on 15th August 2018

If you are thinking of starting your job search but you're unsure whether now is the right time to take the next step in your career, then a valuable exercise would be to take some time to self-reflect.  

Documenting your answers to the five questions below will help you to work out whether you are ready to take the next steps in your career. These questions will also enable you to write a stronger resume, seek opportunities that are truly appropriate for you and ultimately have a more fruitful job search.

Why am I looking to leave my current employer?

Think about this question carefully as it will most likely impact your next move. What are you missing in your role? Are you just having a bad week? Watch the pattern of your happiness at work, if you are feeling unhappy around certain times in the year, perhaps when you have just returned from a holiday, this is extremely normal, however, if you are finding that you are getting that dreaded feeling every Sunday night perhaps it is time to move on.

What is it I am actually looking for?

This seems like a really obvious question but so many people start looking without even knowing what it is they are looking for, for example, you want a change? What is that change? Career progression? Change of environment? Or even change in sector? It is very important to pinpoint this at the very beginning, so you can hone in and filter out the roles you do not want.

Do I have the qualifications or experience for the role that I want? 

This is another simple yet crucial question to ask yourself. Do your research on what experience is needed for the position you want so you can make a plan of how to get there. If you are looking to go into management without any recent management experience start thinking about what experience you need and if there are any duties you can start picking up in your current position to make you more applicable.

Try not to be put off by job titles, for example, you are an administrator wanting to work towards a career as a PA and your current company aren’t able to offer any career development. You see an administrator role with a firm who are more progressive and with more exposure to PA duties, does the job title really matter? If you will be getting much more from a role within a progressive firm, then the experience you will be getting is more important than your job title. 

What are my priorities?

Start differentiating the “ideals” from the “essentials”. People usually get wrapped up in the ideal job and this can sometimes cloud over what is actually important, There will always be pros and cons in every position, but do the pros outway the cons? This should be your deciding factor.

Write a list of your essentials, whether that be salary, career progression, location or something else. Think about what is more important to you, you may want a career change but salary is also important to you, sometimes in order to change career, you will need to compromise with a lower salary.

What’s my plan of action?

Obviously, recruitment agencies are a good place to start as this gives you the opportunity to sit down and be completely honest with someone about what you want. A good recruiter will then filter through roles helping you to find exactly what you are looking for.

If you have connections in the industry that you are looking for a new role in, use them! Firms cannot get better than an internal recommendation.

Of course, you can start applying for roles online, do be careful though as job descriptions can be generic and it is difficult to see if the firm, role, and culture match up to what you are looking for. It is generally best to begin your search with an agency or recommendation as recruiters and your own connections can help to bring the role to life and give you a good understanding of the firm and what to expect. 

If you would like more advice about your job search, or if you would like to hear about our current opportunities, contact me today at or check out our full list of jobs here.

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