Estimate Time3 min

How to search for jobs

If you’re feeling ready for a new job search, a good place to start could be getting feedback about how you did in your former job—you can find out what worked and what didn’t. Then, take steps to learn from that feedback and adjust going forward.

Next, try to be realistic about your timeline and prospects. A job search can take longer than you might expect, but you can improve your chances by being more open-minded about your next chapter. Being too narrow in your options could make your job search drag on longer than you’d hope.

Finally, keep in mind that a job search is a job in itself, so treat it as such. Structuring your day around a good routine can help keep you feeling motivated rather than hopeless.

Define your job search strategy

When getting started with your job search, expect some upfront preparation—and a little soul-searching. Setting your strategy is a great first step: defining your priorities and goals before starting to look for jobs can only help you in the long run.

Know your priorities

A job search can take anywhere from weeks to months or even possibly years. And the demand for certain kinds of jobs can fluctuate as the economy shifts. Setting realistic expectations is one way to maintain stamina and optimism, while helping ensure you’re spending your time and energy in the right ways.

First, consider your end goal. Why are you looking for a job? Beyond the obvious answer—a paycheck—a job can provide important intangibles like fulfillment, professional challenges, new networking opportunities, and a step up the ladder toward your dream job. Consider ranking these intangibles in order of personal priority. This soul-searching exercise can help you identify the best opportunities for you and your goals.

Knowing why you’re looking for a job, and the qualities most important to you, can help you identify the opportunities with the biggest potential payoff.

Separate your non-negotiables and nice-to-haves

Know yourself—and know your ideal work environment. Think about the characteristics of your ideal manager and team to identify opportunities that’ll set you up for success. You may not be able to truly gauge each of these until you speak with someone about a potential role or get into an interview, but you may be able to pick up clues in a job posting.

  • Do you thrive under minimal supervision or prefer a guiding hand? A job posting seeking a self-starter could indicate that you’re expected to work proactively on your own.
  • How do you like to communicate: a well-thought out email, impromptu chat in the hallway, or dedicated one-on-one time? 
  • Are you energized by a bustling, open setting or do you do your best work in quiet, secluded spaces? If a job posting or website gives any clues to the organization’s culture, you may be able to glean a few hints about the work environments.
  • Are certain benefits a must, such as medical insurance or paid time off? Once you’ve identified any deal-breakers, what additional perks attract you? Things like healthy snacks, a flexible work schedule, and a comfortable dress code can reduce stress and add to quality of life.
All those extra nice-to-haves may be things to consider if you end up with multiple job offers that satisfy your pay and benefits must-haves.

Explore our educational opportunities

Browse our extensive webinars—from small classes and coaching sessions to multi-session webinars.

More to explore

Find jobs at CareersOneStop

Search 1,000s of postings from major job boards.

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.