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By Audrey Korir

As the year comes to an end, you are finally ready to change jobs.  After all the anxious nights and frustrating days, the decision is in; you need a new job!

Great move! But before you pull out your CV from the forgotten pile and start dusting it off, here are some valid questions you should ask yourself before you embark on your job search;

1. What are you looking for?

Do you want a well-paying job? Are you making a career switch? Is it a promotion? Looking for a new and different challenge in a new working environment?  No matter which of these you decide on, you need to be clear about it. Create a career objective or set professional goals for yourself and keep them in mind when you apply for a position.

2. Where do I start looking?

What companies do you want to work for? Are they suitable? Follow them on social media to get their job openings and to keep up with the activities they engage in.  Social media can shed light on who they are and whether the company culture or values are a perfect fit for you.  You can also subscribe to various job boards to get alerts on the latest jobs being advertised.  Keep in mind that certain job boards cater to different audience needs; some will advertise entry-level jobs while others will focus on senior-level positions.  Narrow down to the job board that suits what you want.

3. What skills do I have to offer?

Are you a specialist in accounting? Can you close a sales deal within 10 minutes of meeting the client?  If you have the relevant skills, market them!  But even as you go listing them ensure that they are true. Don’t put out information that serves only to decorate your CV.

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4. Are you looking to learn new skills?

Improving and learning new skills is the most crucial part of professional growth.  If you are looking for a change or career development, try searching for job opportunities that will develop your skills and motivate you to succeed.  Challenge yourself by venturing into an area that you have not specialized in, you never know you may exceed your expectations.

5. What work environment suits you?

If you thrive better in a relaxed environment, then you might work better at a company with fewer employees, flexible working hours or a casual dress code.  Can you handle pressure and strict deadlines? Then a fast-paced working environment suits you best. Apply for jobs that challenge your work ethic and push you to be more productive.  You know what works for you, so observe the company’s culture and values before you apply.

6. What is your desired salary?

Will it be worth your skills? Is it enough to supplement your financial needs? As you go through the job search process, you are bound to find job descriptions that will ask you to indicate your salary expectations in your application. Take the time to do some salary research, to make sure your expectations are in line with the reality of the jobs you are interested in.

What does the current job market pay for that role?

Your last salary may or may not be in line with what other companies are offering.

7. Do you have a location in mind?

Think practically. Is it convenient in terms of money spent on fare and distance? Will I have to move nearby to spend less time commuting?  For example, if you foresee that the job will require you to work some overtime hours then you will need to avoid it if you know that it will take you two hours to commute back home.

Ultimately, the key to successfully navigating the job search process is knowing what works best for you.  What do you want for your career?  It may seem slow at first, but being persistent is what will get you through.

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