The basics to finding a perfect job

The basics to finding a perfect job

Written by: Komail Mithani

August 17, 2010 4:55 pm 1 comment

By now many of you know that I am actively and vigorously searching for a career, after recently completing my degree in Public Relations. This transitional period from senior year of college to new graduate ready to enter the workforce has been a strong test of patience and optimism. My efforts have got me using every resource I can to start my career, but of course, you knew that.

Coincidentally, during this time, I started reading Tammy Erickson’s, “Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work,” which happened to be a very resourceful book. The reason her book is so helpful is because she addresses how Generation Y, my generation, should effectively communicate with other generations at work, leverage our skills and become successful in today’s workplace. One chapter that really made me think about choosing or passing on a job offer, was chapter 8, “Finding the perfect job.” To be honest, I was very naive to think I knew everything before accepting a new job or career, but I will be the first to admit, I was wrong.

In this post, I wanted to highlight what she says because I think every graduate should know this missing puzzle pieceinformation, even if they decide to not buy her book. It’s information that can make you stand out against other candidates and information you need to pursue. Think of it like a puzzle and you are the missing piece, do you not want to make sure you are a perfect fit? (NOTE: Due to copyright issues I am only going to tell you the most important things she talks about.)

Location, Location, Location

This is more than just the physical location of the company, but also the community, environment, and surrounding areas. When she talks about location, Tammy is asking you to answer questions such as: how inviting is the community to new members, what places does it offer for social interaction outside of work, and what are the chances that you will meet and be in contact with new people. According to her book, “Two-thirds of college-educated 25 to 34-years-olds say they will first decide where to live and then where to work” (Plugged In 144). Think about how you and the community will coexist and make sure it meets your criteria.

Company

The company is the most important thing to consider when accepting or declining an offer. The following are some aspects of a company she asks us to consider before moving foward:

  1. Culture – Ask about what kind of environment the company sets for their employees. How do co-workers interact to get things done and can you see yourself submerged in this culture? How does management promote their unique culture among their employees and are the employees happy? You may try to follow some employees on Twitter to get a feel of what it’s like to work at the company. Make sure this culture is something you can adapt to and thrive in.
  2. Learning opportunities – Does the company provide opportunities for its employees to grow themselves both professionally and personally? What investments is the company making to grow and develop their most important asset, their employees? If you are like me, you want a position that allows you to keep learning and growing and you want a commitment from your employer to provide you an environment for that.
  3. Approval Process – You probably may have not thought about this. What this means is how long does it take for something to get approved in the company? For example, say you had an idea for a new SEO campaign or found a new social media tool you believe your company needs to make a presence in. How long before your idea goes into implementation and how open is the company about listening and executing employee ideas? When you ask questions like this, you get a better understanding of how the company operates.
  4. Time – This deals with all aspects of time such as: vacation time, time spend in the office completing the work required or traveling, and time spent in meetings. Something to consider is that for many companies, now a days, it is more about efficiency than how many hours spend completing a project. Any efficient organization and talented leader will understand how to match work hours spent to get a task done to those actually required.
  5. Money – Understand all aspects of the company’s compensation package they offer you and be certain it meets your needs and priorities. In order to understand what compensation is right for your, calculate an estimated yearly cost of living. This will tell you how much you need to be earning in order to live the lifestyle you reasonable want.
  6. Honest Feedback – Ask about their evaluation process, how often do they give feedback to their employees and what criteria do they use? Another thing to consider is how often a company follows-up on suggestions made during feedback sessions.
  7. Reputation – This may be the most obvious, but sometimes we forget to consider it. What reputation does the company hold in the industry, community, and even amongst its employees? What values and principles do they stand for and are they something you would stand for? Think of a company as a living breathing person, just like you and I. Would you be willing to defend it in a crisis? What causes does the company stand for?

Collegues

A third thing she asks for us to consider, are the people and the managers you will be working with, since you will spend most of your time with them. Here the “About Us” section of a company’s website may be beneficial. In addition, as one of my well-respected PR professor’s, Terry Hemeyer told me, ‘The best way to understand who you are going to be working with is to be interviewed by at least three people from the company.” Make sure you pay attention if one of the interviewer’s will be your boss to understand a little about their management style. You could also use Glassdoor.com, where past and present employees write reviews about the company and positions they hold. In addition, if the company you applied for is adoptive to social media and transparent, you could read employee bios, Twitter streams, or even Linkedin profiles.

The work

The final thing to consider and maybe the most obvious, is the actual work and responsibilites you will have. Does the work concide with your skills, talents and what you want to do everyday? Is the work challenging or something that is boring to you? Remember you will be spending 40+ hours, so make sure the work is something you enjoy and want to do.

In the end, make sure you know your passions, desires, and goals are aligned with whatever career path you decide to choose. This criteria has helped me in my current decision process and I hope it will help you as well. Make sure to check out Tammy’s book for more of her insights for thriving in today’s workplace. Trust me, it was meant for us!