Job Search 101: Top 5 Things to Ask Before You Write Your Resume

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The first thing we probably think about when embarking on our job search is the resume. There’s no doubt that it’s a crucial part of your job search. In fact, what goes into our resumes – and how we articulate them – can be game changers (here’s what to avoid). A resume can get your foot in the door for an interview or forever deny you the opportunity to work for your dream company.

But we need to look at the job search as one large process with many small parts – and there are many you should look at before you even touch your resume. You should do research on where you want to work at first, for instance – or whether it fosters a supportive work environment. At the end of the day, this job search is about you.

So, we’ve done the work for you and identified these 5 extremely important questions to ask yourself before you prepare your resume:

1. Have I researched the company I’m applying to?

The first thing you need to do is research the company you’re applying to, in particular:

  • The company’s mission and vision
  • The company’s values
  • What the company looks for in its talents

By understanding its corporate identity and whether or not the company stands for your principles, you can determine if where you’re applying is right for you. If you’re environmentally conscious for example, then you may want to work in a company that integrates green practices into its operational and business framework.

Knowing what the company looks for in talents can help you optimise the language you use in your resume. If they’re looking for “proactive” people to join their team, then you should choose words that reflect it in your experience. You’re also preparing for your interview –well informed candidates tell potential employers that they’re serious about joining.


2. Does the company prioritise my well-being and success?

Let’s face it – as Millennials and Generation Z talents, our notions of how our work should factor into our personal lives differ from those of our parents. We value flexible working schedules and for those of us starting planning to start families, how long we’re allowed to take maternity leave matters.

You should also be looking for companies that are inclusive and empower you to develop professionally and expand your boundaries. Does the company have upskilling programs for employees or do they contribute towards taking professional qualifications, for instance?


3. Do I see myself working for the company in a year’s time?

Millennials have been labeled “job-hoppers”, because they’re more confident of switching jobs to find the best fit. In fact, nearly 50% of Millennials plan to stay at their first job for less than 2 years. That being said however, applying to jobs can be grueling. You can spend weeks – even months – resume writing, researching companies, networking and preparing for interview. So you should make working at the company you do end up working at somewhat worthwhile!

When applying, you should ask yourself about the long-term benefits of staying at the company. Even if you don’t plan to stay at the company for 5 years, your career should be rewarding and gratifying to the point where you’d want to stay for a little longer than a year to acquire the skills and opportunities you have in mind. Your work should challenge you, allow you to progress, provide you with the opportunity to expand your network and add value to your personal growth, not just your professional development.


4. Are there other career paths I should consider?

According to the World Economic Forum, 75 million jobs will not exist by 2022, while 133 million new ones that’ve never existed before will appear. Advancements in Artificial Intelligence and tectonic shifts in the way we do business are having an impact of the types of skills we need going into the next few decades.

So, forget traditional notions, like ‘If I’m an accountant I need to work at a bank or a large corporation’. When considering your career options, it all boils down to this: keep your mind open. There’s so much you can do with a degree in International Relations other than joining the United Nations. Start your own business, take a professional qualification in finance and add to your skillset. Look at jobs where your skills are valued and can be applied – not just your field of study.


5. Have I used all platform options available to me?

The number of job search platforms seems endless these days: LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Wobb, Jobstreet, Monster – and much, much more. While you should cover the basics, there are many more avenues you may have not considered. Some companies post job postings on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

This is either because they want to cast their net wider or they want to keep it limited to a tighter circle where they know they’ll get quality talent through trusted friends and colleagues. In the case of extremely small companies where they’re not bogged down by strict hiring structures and policies, even applications such as WhatsApp are used. Open your eyes – and go forth!


Related: How to Network for Success: The Do’s and Don’ts


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