We spend nearly a third of our lives working, so taking extra care that your next job is the right fit is important. Your time is too valuable to take a job just for money. Ideally, your next job will be a proper stepping stone toward your career goals.
Consider your next job selection as a two-way street. Just as the employer will think twice (maybe three times or more) about whether you’re a good fit for them, as an incoming employee, you should make sure the company AND position are great fits for you and your career objectives. Ask yourself:
What will make me happy?
Work happiness can mean different things to different people. Many individuals don’t seek the same type of happiness at work as they do in their personal lives. For you, happiness may center around the mission of the company and not the job itself. For others, being happy may rely on the day-to-day work. In most cases, workplace happiness will likely depend on a combination of several factors like the duties of specific roles, the team dynamic, and the leadership/management style.
In the creative industry, it’s important to seek out a challenge, because entry-level positions are essentially apprenticeships (especially during your early-to-mid 20s). Sharpening your skills is paramount. An easy and high-paying job may sound enticing, but remember to choose a role that’s challenging enough to promote growth. Adding and practicing new skills now reels in the big money later.
What is the company culture like?
Every place you work has a unique company culture. Do your research and find out as much as you can about how a company operates. Is it traditional, or is it more progressive and unique? Do the company’s values match yours? How are decisions made? Will working for this company help you achieve your career goals?
Answers to these sorts of questions are easy to find on websites like Glassdoor. Take a look at the company’s reviews and listen to the personal stories shared by current and former employees. If most people have negative feedback about a company, then you probably want to steer clear of it.
What should the next job pay?
Money isn’t everything when it comes to finding the right job for you, but after a while, too little pay and inadequate benefits can start to wear on you. You want your salary to match your experience and what you bring to your next job. You owe it to yourself to make sure your pay and benefits are fair. That being said, some might choose to make a lateral move or even take less pay to do a job that is more in line with their career goals. Whatever the case may be, take your time to help ensure your choice is worth your while.
Will this job get me closer to my career goals?
Make sure you aren’t leaving your current position just to get out. You want to think about the bigger picture, and sometimes that means sticking with a job you don’t like until a really good fit comes along. It is worth it for your career to gain experience in the types of work you want to be doing. If you have that in your current job, think twice about leaving. Always continue to look for opportunities though; being proactive is how people get into the type of work they love.
Having a solid idea of what you want is a good start, but being too focused on a certain job can limit your possibilities and lead to a longer and more frustrating job search, especially in the creative field. Certain jobs may not be exactly what you want, but they will get you to where you want to be. Take that approach at your new job, and improve your awareness of opportunities for career expansion.
Remember, your career can become a series of great jobs, average jobs, and not-so-great jobs if you’re not careful. Doing the work ahead of time to know what you want will give you the best chance to find a position that you believe is right for you.
Krista is a Creative Circle candidate, creative writer and content creator in Los Angeles. Her background includes news, marketing, copywriting and editing. If you are interested in working with Krista, please contact Creative Circle Los Angeles.