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I’m currently on a sabbatical: spending three months in the USA with my in-laws. I’m extremely lucky to be able to leave my job knowing I have the savings to cover us while we prioritise family. However, I am mindful that I need to line something up for when I return to the UK and as such I’ve been poking around job websites and trying to figure out what’s next.
Job hunting is a thankless task. It takes a lot of work to do a good application: customising your CV for the role, writing a relevant cover letter that directly addresses the role specification. Or worse: filling out a form that makes you copy & paste all of your information from your CV into a webpage. And then you wait an unknown amount of time for someone who may or may not get back to you.
However, the pay off for getting job hunting right is huge. Your job is a huge part of your day; finding work that pushes you (but not too much), with co-workers you get along with, in a company that is trying to do something you think is worthwhile? Well, that’s the jack pot!
Here’s what I look for when applying to a role:
- Does the company have a clear, well written and thought through job description? I’ve read too many job descriptions where it’s either blandly generic or a mish-mash of random priorities. A lack of strategic thinking in job descriptions usually means a lack of strategic thinking everywhere.
- Does the company have clear and accessible information about salary, benefits and general expectations? Unless you’re trying to get your first role somewhere, you need to have enough information to know if it’s worth applying. ‘Competitive salary’ does not cut it.
- Is there a named person you can get in touch with to ask questions about the role? If you want to avoid places with high turnover, you want to avoid companies that are too hands-off and systematic with their hiring. Professional is good, but faceless algorithmic hiring processes means nobody at the company is especially invested in this position.
I know that getting the right job is key to achieving my goals over the next few years. I want to buy a house, achieve some stability, re-fill my emergency fund and work on increasing my pension contributions. All of that hinges on finding the right company!