Your Target Job/Setting Parameters for Your Job Search

Before you begin your search, know what your preferences are. This will determine the parameters for your job search and help you focus your job search more accurately.

Some job seekers miss opportunities because they set their job search too narrowly, thinking they can only do a job just like their last one. On the other end of the spectrum, others cast a very wide net, applying for all kinds of jobs and are open to working anywhere. The sweet spot is usually somewhere in between, and job seekers find themselves calibrating their search to widen it or narrow it down along the way.

That’s why it is important to invest some time at the front end to identify what you are looking for before you begin.

Start by writing down your target job, i.e. the type of job you want, and the things that are important to you. Writing it down will help you reflect and think critically about what you’re really looking for and what is really important. You can always adjust your parameters later, but we recommend outlining some defined parameters before you start searching.

Here are some important parameters to think about:

  • Target Job – Your target job may be known by different titles across industries, so it is good to conduct your search with these in mind. What other jobs in and outside of your industry are you qualified for? When identifying other jobs you can cross-over to, keep in mind that you have two things you can leverage: your transferable skills and your industry knowledge.
  • Work Hours and Status – Are you only looking for full-time work or would you like something part-time? Will you consider temporary or contract work? Will you be okay working or being on call on weekends? Do you need a flexible schedule?
  • Types of Work – It’s important to think about what types of work you would like to do and what types of work you would be willing to do. Some jobs require spending a lot of time outdoors, traveling, or meeting with clients face-to-face.
  • Location – You likely already have a location in mind, but it doesn’t hurt to write it down so you stay disciplined. How far are you willing to commute? Could you relocate given the right opportunity?
  • Compensation – What is your target pay and what is the minimum salary you would consider? When thinking about compensation, think in terms of a range, instead of a fixed amount. This will give you a lot more flexibility in your job search and also avoid pricing yourself out of a job. It’s also good to think about what tradeoffs you would be willing to make. Would you take less money for a more desirable location?
  • Benefits – Being aware of your benefits needs will help you evaluate job offers, as well as focus on jobs that will meet your needs and expectations. For example, part-time jobs may not offer you the benefits that you are looking for.