According to statistics, only 20% of Americans feel passionate about their jobs. A changing job market, more restrictions for career growth, and a more competitive environment are all factors that play a part in this reality.

Given that we spend most of our awake time working, this is one of the most important decisions of adult life. Unfortunately, even with the help of counselors, most people will end up in the wrong place. If you are seeking a new job or even considering a career change, there are a few things to factor in before you make the final choice.

Prepare Yourself

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You can get noticed, stand out among the pack, and stun your employer through your resume, right? So, you cannot create one randomly and apply on a job with a poorly crafted resume or cover letter. Unless they are well written reflecting your aspirations and skills and formatted accurately, they are going to be garbage only that can never hold the attention of any employer, no matter how competent and skilled you are.

Regardless of the career path of your choice, you’ll need a good resume and excellent cover letters. Experts recommend that you create specific resumes according to the position that you are applying to, so make a list of your areas of interest and create a resume for each of them.

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For example, if you apply for a job in operations, update your resume to highlight your experience and knowledge in that area. Remember that most hiring managers will run a background check before making a decision, so get ahead and learn what they may find out.

To do so, visit a site like CheckPeople. Within a few minutes, you’ll get a comprehensive report, including public records and even information from your social media accounts. This will allow you to correct mistakes or get into damage control mode in case you find conflicting information.

The Best Position

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What would you define as a dream job? A very common mistake reported by career counselors is not having clear expectations. Make a list that includes:

  • Scope of work
  • Schedules
  • Are you looking for client-facing roles, or do you prefer to be “behind the scenes”?
  • Do you prefer individual work or do you thrive as part of a team?
  • Salary
  • Benefits

Regardless of the position, another important factor is the company. A toxic work environment can have important consequences for your wellbeing. Think about factors such as company size: while some people can find big companies exciting, they be overwhelming for others.

Another very important factor is company culture. If you hate fraternizing with your colleagues and dread pot lucks or other similar events, avoid companies that encourage them. It’s better to have a list of what you want before you start your search, and only apply to jobs at companies that meet your criteria.

Build Your Professional Network

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Professional connections can be extremely helpful in terms of choosing the right position. The best way to know more about an interesting company is by talking to someone who already works there. And, professional networks increase your chances of getting hired. Attend lectures, seminars, and other events around your career of choice, and actively participate.

Again, you cannot bump into someone and get a job luckily. You have to prepare yourself, impress people, and influence them smartly so that you can achieve professional prosperity by networking. For this, you have to find the key contacts. Here lie the benefits of joining professional organizations, events, job clubs, etc.

You get the chance to get acquainted with the people having similar professional interests and meet the icons in the conferences or meetings organized by these organizations. Also, you get a platform to showcase your talent and leadership quality. Thus it opens up a vast opportunity to get in contact with the employers and employees of the companies you want to work with and get hired.

Another very effective networking tactic is volunteering and attending local meetups. It gives you the opportunity and friendly environment to know and work with a lot of people offering the chance to improve or polish your skills.

Stay Open to Possibilities

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Developing your skills in the sector you aspire to flourish is a fabulous way to open up new possibilities as only your skills- a combination of professional and communicational proficiency are going to talk for you in the long run. If you are a newbie, you have to grab opportunities to enrich your skill in your preferred sectors.

Flexibility is very important in a constantly changing job market. While you need to have clear expectations, your chances of getting a job that’s exactly what you want are slim. Think about the bigger picture and ask yourself: Is this a stepping stone towards a higher-paying position?

Will this position help you learn more about the career you are passionate about? Will you meet people that can help you reach your goals? This does not mean that you should take a job you hate or accept a position from a company known for its toxic environment. If you do so, you’ll end up quitting, and it can reflect badly on your resume.

Ask for Help

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If you are able to pay for a career coach, they can help you identify your passions and create a rock star resume. They will also help you identify good opportunities and prepare you for your interviews. If money is an issue, a good idea is to find a mentor. It can be someone already in your network (for example, a former boss or teacher), or you can use programs such as LinkedIn Career Advice.

Because you never know when you may find yourself job seeking again, consider:

  1. Always give proper notice before leaving a job, and keep all interactions professional.
  2. Keep learning. Take advantage of training opportunities and networking events.
  3. Avoid job-hopping. Many different positions in a short period can be off-putting for hiring managers.