By: Georgette A. King, Guest Writer

Note: One of my greatest role models is my mother, who was a working mother before it was cool. She started conducting site visits examining equipment in phone company facilities, and worked her way up to leadership positions overseeing training and finances in communications and banking industries. Recently retired, she has so many good ideas, I couldn’t resist inviting her to share some of her suggestions for finding a new job. Enjoy! -JPW

If you are just getting started looking for a new position, remember the word of the day should be confidence not hope.  Get your confidence up by being aware of what is needed to secure your dream job.  There are many details that you should consider that will be informational and rewarding. Doing your homework – and completing these four easy steps — will increase your confidence and help you prepare for your dream job.

Step 1. Research the company

Mom has traded the corporate life for fun retirement, including cooking together!

First, you should research the company to determine if you agree with the company’s mission/background.  You could say that you know the location, the salary, and the role you are seeking are all important, but some additional effort on your part clarify whether this position is a very good move for you.  There are many ways to find the answers. 

Of course a great way to get information is to search the Internet to find details about the company:

  • Did you find the company’s mission statement?  Does it work with how you think of your position?  
  • Have the company always been successful or are they just starting up?  How long have they been in business?  If this is a new company that has just begun to hire, they may pay lower wages until the company gets up and running and able to bring in their profits. 

You can also use your network:

  • Do you know anyone in this company and are you able to ask them questions?  Asking your friends who work for this company about the general attitude of the people who work there important.  Are they happy with their jobs?  Are they happy with their supervisors?  Is there someone or something that this company does that causes friction between employees?
  • If you don’t know anyone, check connections via social media like LinkedIn to see if you know people who know people.
  • Does this company promote from within or always go outside when they hire?  If they always go outside the company instead of promoting within, this could limit your upward growth with the company.

Step 2: Research the position

Comparing the requirements for this position to your experience and education are very important so that you can make a case that you are a strong candidate. Often companies want to know that you are experienced enough to be able to complete the job, but not so experienced that you are overqualified and might leave quickly.   

  • What level of education and experience are they looking for? It is helpful if your education is equal to or exceeds the requirements for the position.  
  • Does your resume list this items that spell out your success for this position? If not, you will want to update your resume to outline your strengths that will be necessary for this position. Use the language in the posting whenever possible.
  • Do you have a copy of your current job description, and have you compared it with the new position you are seeking?  The comparison will provide you with insight to the areas where you may not have experience.  You should be prepared to discuss the difference in your resume and the job description for the new position during the interview.
  • If the company is new, will you be satisfied with a lower salary at first until you are able to prove your value in this new company? It depends on how much experience you have in the field and what salary you need to get.  On the other hand, this can be an opportunity for you to “begin at the ground floor” and play an important in this company’s success. Balance what is important to you and the opportunity this company presents.

Step 3. Identify challenges in the new position

Before you accept the new position consider what challenges you may run into.  You may have to work additional or late hours, travel, or take courses to bring you up to speed with others working in the same role.  Your first step should be:    

  • Consider what you are looking for in this new position and how it is different from your current position.
    • If you are currently in a similar position, how does this new position compare in terms of skills needed, working environment, and goals of the work.
    • Are you looking for a challenge because your current position is boring, or are you looking for a higher salary?  The interviewer will likely ask you why you are interested in the new position and why you are leaving your current position, so prepare answers.
  • Are there changes associated with the position that could have a significant effect on you, your family/significant other, or your finances, such as the need to take additional coursework, change in working hours or travel? If so, plan for them and discuss with affected others.
  • Do you know the salary range for this position?  If yes, how does that compare to what you are currently earning?  If you are offered less than what you are currently earning can you financially accept the low offer?
  • Consider what you can identify as your accomplishments in your current position and challenges you experienced.

Step 4: Prepare for the interview:

There are important areas that you should review when preparing for the interview.    

  • Prepare to address standard interview questions, including: Tell us a little about yourself, what interests you in this position, what are your five year/long term goals.
  • Prepare to discuss your current position and why you want to leave it.  The interviewer may be trying to determine if you are just looking for an increase in your salary or if you are truly looking for a new challenge in your profession. Never say anything negative about your company or position, and use this as an opportunity to build a connection with the interviewer about your interests in their position and their company.
  • Be prepared to ask questions about the position.  You should have at least one question, otherwise, the interviewer may think that you have not reviewed the job description and aren’t very interested in the position. You may want to consider questions could address the work culture, the supervisor’s approach to leadership, what would they want to see to know the person in this position is successful, or the company’s approach to mentoring new employees.
  • You may be asked in the interview if you want the position, or “what would it take” for you to accept the position. Are you in a position to accept or decline the offer? Review all aspects prior to going to the interview. It’s also okay to say that you’d like to consider the opportunity. A great response is, “When do you need an answer?”
  • Be energetic and confident in your presentation, and focus on why you are the best person for the job.

Preparing appropriately for an interview is a great way to learn about the company, the position, and even yourself. Practicing answers to questions you expect will help increase your confidence, and ultimately, help you get the new job. Good luck!