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Questions to Ask Yourself when Job-Hunting

Questions to Ask Yourself when Job-Hunting

Ah, Job Hunting.

Looks like it’s time for you to find a new place to work. I’m sorry for whatever your boss said today that’s made you find this article, but the good news is once you have your new job lined up, you’ll never have to see them again. The biggest concern you have right now might be finding yourself in a similar job again that won’t be a good fit, so while perusing indeed, ask yourself a few things you might not be thinking about while you apply to places en masse.

What kind of environment am I looking for?

When job hunting, perhaps the most important thing to consider is the type of work environment you’re looking for. I don’t mean things like restricting yourself to one form of word, such as fast food or sales, but rather the behavior you’d like to see from your manager and coworkers. No one likes a toxic work environment, but what do you consider toxic? For me, that means a supervisor who’s quick to criticize but slow to praise–a lack of positive reinforcement paired with massive negative reinforcement is the fastest way to make me leave a workplace. On a sillier note, if too many of my coworkers are water signs (no offense) then I know I’m not going to last very long there because the compatibility is not going to be there. Of course, these aren’t things you’ll find out before working there, but Glassdoor will help give you a few hints (on the supervisor’s behavior, not the employees zodiac signs.)

Together, we run a no-nonsense office.
I prefer office spaces with a little bit of nonsense, thank you.

What is going to make me feel fulfilled?

You know how they say “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life?” You might not be able to get your dream job right now, but you can get a job that helps you feel important. I was not as fulfilled at my job at a grocery store as I was when I started tutoring; the reason being that I felt my effort was going towards something greater. At the grocery store, I gave people the ability to buy food to feed their families which is nice on it’s own, but while tutoring essay writing, I felt that I was giving students a greater ability to write all the different ways their thoughts can be said. Even if I’m having a bad day, I can walk away knowing I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life, even if it’s only a small one. Do not fail to look for a line of work that matters to you personally while you’re job hunting. If you’re only looking for what pays the bills, you might find yourself job hunting again a lot sooner when you realize the job you took too soon is a drag.

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I'm proud of myself.
This is how you should feel at the end of every shift, no matter how challenging the day was. You have to be able to look back and be proud of yourself for what you accomplished, or else the job will be a drag.

What did I hate about my last workplace?

I think this is the most important question to ask yourself. In identifying what’s truly irking you at your current job. you’ll be able to spot red flags in job listing. It’s no secret that if a job description says “Must have ability to work in a fast-paced environment,” you’re likely going to hate every second you spend there. I personally cannot retain my sanity in any workplace that’s considered “easy.” No job is easy, but jobs like waitressing and stocking items make me want to scream. And they often have. If you have not cried inside of a cooler at a restaurant job, you have not worked a restaurant job. Tip your waiters, they’re suffering. 

As an example, if you cannot stand a job with tedious tasks, you’re probably looking for something that’s more mentally stimulating. I couldn’t stand my jobs as someone who stocked products at a store because I’ve spent years reading and writing about things like rhetorical theory, and have spent longer analyzing books I didn’t understand to gain a broader knowledge in my field. I felt too restless with all of my ideas swarming in my head as I put items on a shelf. I also didn’t like not being able to chat with coworkers–If I’m alone with my thoughts for too long I will lose it.

Think about what aspects of a job you hate, and look for jobs with decreased chances of that occurring. If you hate the small talk that comes with being a cashier but still like talking to customers, consider taking a job in sales. Identifying what factors make a job miserable for you will help your job hunting skills improve as you know what factors to look for that will make you happy.

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Do I like this job? Hell no-- I hate it!
This is what I would say about 99% of the time at my least favorite job.

What will add the most credibility to my resume?

At some point, throughout college, you have to eventually stop taking jobs in random places at whichever store hires you first. If you want to be a teacher, tutoring jobs will be better on your resume than cashiering. If you want to be a chef, restaurant jobs will be better for you than office jobs. I bounced around different career ideas for awhile, and as a result I have a lot of random skills and experience from places that aren’t really contributing to one overall career sector. The bright side is that I have the ability to do more, but it did take awhile to clean up my resume so it would make sense. Be better than me, dear reader. While your job hunting, find a job that will contribute to your dream career path. You can thank me later.

It's pink. Oh and it's scented. I think it gives it a little something extra.
Printing your resume on scented pink paper won’t hide that sporadic job history if you don’t.

How many hours can I realistically handle?

Assuming you’re reading this as a college student, chances are you’re looking for a part-time job. Employers will ask you this during the interview, and this is one question you shouldn’t lie about to yourself or to the employer for everyone’s sake. A part-time job is anywhere between 1-39 hours. As someone who worked a part-time job that booked me for 39.5 hours every week, the money was great but I would’ve appreciated not working that much when I was trying to get schoolwork done and also live my life. If you truly do not believe you cannot work more than 25 hours a week, say your target goal is 15-20 hours a week, because they’re going to add on an extra 5 hours a week anyways so you might as well be prepared for when this starts happening.

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I don't wanna work. I just want to bang on this mug all day!
Also something you could catch me saying at my least favorite past job