If the onset of a new year has you thinking about getting a new gig, you’re not alone. According to Monster, more people search for new jobs in January than any other time of year.
So we rounded up career coach tips on how to do it right.
Step One: Get clear on what you’re looking for.
“The first step in any job search is knowing what you want and what strengths you have that will help you do the best job once you are in the seat,” says Judy Billings, vice president of staffing company Robert Half Finance & Accounting. That can include everything from the size of the team you want to be a part of (or lead) to the length of the commute.
Having deal-breakers in mind makes evaluating new opportunities simpler. “Every [prospective role] can stand alone on its own merit rather than being compared to anything other than what’s most important to you,” Billings says.
Step Two: Understand the culture you thrive in.
No matter how much money you’re making, you’ll be miserable if your workplace culture isn’t a good fit. So take note of what you see when researching potential employers and visiting their offices: How are employees dressed? Is there an open floor plan or offices with closed doors?
Career coach Don Maruska, author of “Take Charge of Your Talent,” recommends asking to speak with potential coworkers during an interview (in addition to the hiring manager) for a better sense of what it’s like to work there. Ask questions like: What are the key factors for success? How does the leadership respond to challenges or mistakes? You can also check sites like Comparably and Glassdoor for company reviews.
Step Three: Consider the big picture.
Before accepting a job offer, step back and make sure the role will help advance your overall career goals. Do this even if (or rather, especially if) you’re desperate to leave your current position; jumping from one unfulfilling job to another won’t serve you in the long run. Consider whether there’s room for advancement and opportunities to sharpen your skills—plus anything else that’s important to you.
In addition to simply asking about these during an interview, Nancy Mellard of CBIZ Women’s Advantage suggests researching the company’s leadership team. Noticing their ages and how long they’ve worked there can give you a general sense of typical advancement schedules.