If you want to have a successful career, you need to start thinking and acting selfishly–but not too much. You should always be looking out for yourself first and foremost because if you’re not, who will? But then again, if all you ever do is think about yourself, what kind of person does that make you? By reflecting on these questions, you can apply the same wisdom to your job search. Answering them honestly will help you understand how you’re living your life and what choices you need to be accountable for.

If your potential employer gets the sense that your goals are only self-serving, do you think they would want to hire you? Most likely, the answer is no. Though these questions might seem philosophical and unimportant to your life right now, they are actually very essential questions to ask before accepting a job offer.

To maximize your work situation, you need to understand the yin and yang of the employer-employee relationship. Finding the equilibrium between nurturing yourself and attending to your employer’s needs will ascertain how successful, content, and fulfilled you are at your job. You have to think about what skills you can bring to a potential employer that will benefit their company, but you also need to take care of yourself. It’s up to each person to do the research required to make an informed decision about where they won’t work.

In my role as a career coach, I help people identify how their interests and skill sets fit with the needs of different areas in the world. This can be for purposes such as College Admissions or Employment. I cannot overstate how important it is to become known as someone who can resolve issues, develop solutions and work well with others. Having said that, it would be wrong of me not to mention the other side of the story.

There is an overwhelming problem with individuals not using their full potential at work and poor job market matches. Countless people become disgruntled with their jobs because they did not fully understand what the position would entail when they accepted the offer. In most cases, this could have `e easily avoided if more information was known upfront.

The consulting firm Accenture conducted a poll with 2013 grads, and the results showed that 34% of respondents were willing to take the first job they were offered. The number of participants who said they felt the urgency to accept sheds light on how widespread anxiety is among those looking for jobs. Many job candidates think it’s presumptuous to have personal criteria in their job search, but this hurts both the candidate and the employer. By having specific criteria, candidates are more likely to find a job that fits their needs and is a better match for both parties.

Take Stock of the Big Picture

With the current economic state, it may seem foolish to tell job seekers they should be picky about where they work. The graduating class of 2013 has been hit hard by unemployment, with the rate for college graduates being higher than it has been in over 20 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. CNN dubbed them the ‘Boomerang’ kids: 85% of college grads moved home in 2012. In recent years, it seems that job candidates have become more reserved when looking for work.

Here’s Some Encouraging News

While job candidates must be prepared for the competition they will face in the market, there is no need to feel discouraged. The median estimate in a recent Bloomberg survey predicted 4.02 million open positions. Despite the current state of the world, some companies are still hiring. It is more crucial than ever to have a plan for getting hired so that you can be fully prepared when interviews come up. Instead of fixating on what you CAN’T do right now, focus on what WILL make you happy in the long term and look at ways to use your skills effectively.

The job market is abundant with positions that are a perfect marriage of what you desire and what the world needs. It is at this crossroads where your passions will be reignited, leading to both an increase in productivity and engagement at work. Come to terms with who you are and what you want. Mix a little realism into your aspirations, and go after jobs with an attitude of positivity while also having firm boundaries regarding what the company can do for you as well as what they need to offer for you to take the position. Be discreet in terms of what you share about your personal needs. The following is something to keep in mind as you look for a job. It’s not necessarily what you should bring up during an interview. As the old saying goes, “Hold your cards close to your chest.” See: ‘how to ace any interview‘

5 Things To Know Before Accepting Your Next Job Offer

  1. Your boss’s management style. Your boss has a much greater influence on your happiness at work than most job candidates realize. Do your research and learn as much about him/her as possible before accepting a position, as this person will determine the key elements of your job satisfaction.
  2. What you’ll need in terms of salary and benefits. Determine how much money you need to make each month to cover your living expenses. You can calculate this by using salary.com as a reference point for what people with similar experience and qualifications are making in the marketplace.
  3. Job duties that will be interesting or challenging.
  4. Company’s culture. What is the company culture like? Do they encourage creativity and innovation, or is it more formal?
  5. Growth opportunities.

Burnout and frustration on the job are common, but they can be avoided by learning more about what you’re getting into beforehand. Subordinates will feel far more motivated to work hard and come into the office every day if their boss is someone they can look up to as a role model. A good way to determine how employees in an organization feel about management is by asking them about their immediate boss and the CEO.

The work you get, salary, growth opportunities, and office environment are all things your supervisor typically controls. Being able to connect with them is very important as they will either help foster your creativity or hinder it. Look for a boss who is known to be a great leader when considering which company to work for.

Rather than relying on a company’s management profile, website, and Facebook page for information about what it is like to work there, talk to people who actually work (or previously worked) at the company. This way you can learn first-hand about the culture and what to expect as a new employee.

Use LinkedIn to connect with people who work at the firms you’re interested in; this is especially useful if you don’t have any personal connections. By joining your LinkedIn alumni association group and industry-related groups, you increase the likelihood of connecting with someone who works at a company of interest. By requesting a 15-minute informational interview with a current or past employee, you can gain access to personal stories that will provide insight into what your future could hold. Additionally, the insider knowledge these individuals possess could help you sidestep potential cultural problems at new workplaces which could undermine both your career growth and overall happiness.

To ensure that your next job will be a good fit, ask yourself these key questions during the information interview process.

If you’re on the job hunt, here are some great qualities to look for in your next employer!

  • Builds trust
  • Gives public recognition of others’ accomplishments
  • Puts employees’ needs before his/her own
  • Makes people feel they belong
  • Frequently says, ‘How can I help you?’
  • Gives employees his/her time
  • Gives up perks when it matters
  • Encourages employees to take control of projects and run with them
  • Creates a safe environment; one where employees feel they express their views, with no finger-pointing
  • Is open to creative ideas (employees don’t feel they’re being critically judged)
  • Encourages people with different skills to work together
  • Fosters Leadership: give others leadership opportunities to drive action
  • Encourages taking a risk: allows employees to try new ways of doing things or new projects that no one has tried before
  • Affords autonomy: allows employees to work independently on projects
  • Offers training
  • Offers meaningful work: delegates work that is challenging and interesting
  • Provides space for both social and private time

Five Signs Your Next Boss Could Be a Nightmare

Is known for:

  1. Taking control of all decisions
  2. Assuming credit for other’s work
  3. Pushing hard for compliance
  4.  Expecting others to follow whether right or wrong
  5. Always knowing the answer… gives orders vs. encourages collaboration

Hiring managers want to see that you have taken the time to learn about their company and what they do. They want to know how you could fit in and add value to their team. Show them that you are prepared and excited about the opportunity by doing your research ahead of time. It benefits both you and the company if you can express what you value about the company culture during an interview, as it indicates your emotional maturity. After all, a lot of money and time is put into training new employees by companies. They don’t want to waste their resources on someone who won’t last long, so they’ll be more likely to invest in you if they see that you’re invested too!

Although excellent cultures are found in Workplaces of all sizes, they don’t always pay the most money or have a widely known brand. Keep this in mind as you begin your journey to look for a company that makes you eager to start each workday. After all, it will be you who reap the benefits from being content with your surroundings and co-workers. Consequently, It would be advantageous to do some investigating beforehand instead of simply sending out interview requests.

For the healthiest and happiest work environment, look for companies that invest in their employees’ skills, encourage a collaborative atmosphere, celebrate each other’s successes regularly, and have a collegial culture. These are businesses that groom leaders who will maintain this supportive and trusting environment. Choosing to work for one of these types of companies gives you the best chance to succeed professionally.

Don’t listen to haters who tell you that it’s impossible to find a job you love. The journey might be longer, but ultimately, it’ll be worth it. It is essential to do your research before you commit to a job, so that you can be sure it will challenge you and that your work will have an impact. If you feel happy at work 80% of the time, this is a good sign that you have found a balance between what you need and what your employer needs. By scoping out the marketplace before accepting an offer, you will increase your chances of achieving your career goals.

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