1) Make sure you know exactly why you want to move on before you start looking for a new job. If you don’t, you may find yourself in a similar job and in a position, you just wanted to leave.

2) Find out what you want to do and why. Otherwise, it can be difficult to identify what you are looking for. If you’re unlucky, the job search becomes a gamble, where you may win, but you’re more likely to lose.

3) It great that others are interested in you and giving you career advice, but don’t let them push you into a job you don’t like at all.

4) Don’t shoot with a pea shooter. Identify your skills, shortcomings, strengths and weaknesses to maximise your accuracy in the jobs you apply for. This way you avoid applying for positions that are looking for a completely different person with different skills. If you often enter the “wrong competitions” that you can’t win and get bumped without even understanding why, it’s quite annoying.

5) Think about how you feel about remote working. In some jobs/companies it is desirable, in others not. For some people, it’s fine. For others’, not at all, they want to be in touch with other people. Remote working options increase job opportunities when the commute is difficult, or you can’t find a job in your hometown and don’t want to move. It also makes everyday life easier if you have to drop off/pick up your children from nursery every day.

6) Be active and systematic. There are many methods and sources of information than can help you identify and approach the job target groups that interest you. Only passively following job vacancies in the media will limit your opportunities.

7) Make sure your cover letter and CV are relevant and always tailored to the situation.

8) Prepare carefully for the interview. Get to know the job, the manager, the team, the company. Develop the “story” that you want to present about yourself carefully and practise your interview presentation. You will be more skillful in the interview and less nervous when you know you have done everything properly.

9) Be yourself in the process. Don’t overdo it and say you know everything. They are rarely looking for a Superman/woman, but for a good team member. It is desirable to try to give a good presentation of yourself, but don’t pretend to be something you are not. You may land a job that is for someone who is not you.

10) Be honest. Share your achievements, but don’t take credit for what others have done. You don’t have to advertise your failures, but you shouldn’t lie if asked. If you say you’ve never failed, no one will believe you, and the trust in you may have already been deteriorated.

11) Try to understand what the role, boss, team and company could mean to you and what you could offer them. Think about what you will be asked in the interview and what you will answer, what you might want to ask yourself from the interviewer.

12) Make sure you know your expectations of the job, the boss, the team, the company. Also make sure you understand the company’s expectations of you. If you get the job and later it turns out that both of you had the wrong expectations or perceptions of each other, this rarely bodes well.

13) Think about references in advance, in case you are asked for them. If you don’t want to give the name of your former boss because you didn’t get along, say so. This is not a showstopper. Come up with other names.

14) Do a reference check on the hiring company, e.g. by calling a former employee of the company/unit. I know many people who would have been saved from going to the wrong company if they had checked references.

15) When considering your salary requirement, don’t get locked on one figure. It’s just one factor. Comfort, interesting work, nice colleagues, short commute, career opportunities are also part of the package.

16) If along the way you have doubts that this is not your thing, don’t go ahead. No point in taking a risk and accepting a job you don’t really want and then finding out you were right in your doubts.

17) Don’t take it too personally if you don’t get the job you want. Finishing second or third is not a sign that you are not good, but that you did very well. The differences in the final straight are always very small and only one can win. Always consider reaching the final as a good achievement. Maybe next time it will be your turn. If you often make it to the final but not to the finish, check whether there is anything you could improve or do differently in the final straight.

18) Give yourself time. It is quite normal, though not nice, for it to take 3-6 months to land a new job. If there are a lot of difficulty factors, it can take another 3-6 months. This is also normal.

19) Also make a contingency plan. If you can’t seem to get the job you want right now, and if you’re unemployed or otherwise need to ‘get away’, can you think about being temporarily flexible and doing something else that will put food on the table – and what might that be?

20) You’ve got a new job – congratulations – but you still have some way to go.

Onboarding refers to the process by which a new employee is brought into the company, with the aim of making them feel both welcome and ensuring they get off to the best possible start in their role. This is an important issue for the employer. Ask how this is handled in the company.

It always takes two to tango. The new employee, you, is also expected to have the right onboarding attitude, input, enthusiasm and yes – flexibility. There are no perfect companies/people, so you are bound to come across things that do not fully meet your expectations. With the right attitude, you will find them much easier to offset. With the wrong attitude, with comments like “what old-fashioned systems you have”, etc., it’s easy to get off on the wrong track right from the start.                                  

How we perceive things, situations and people has a lot to do with attitude. When the attitude is right on both sides, both also sense it, and this creates the basic conditions for a successful new working relationship. This is particularly true in the onboarding phase. Invest in this.

21) Sparring: someone needs help writing a cover letter/CV, someone needs help writing a story about oneself, someone needs help figuring out what they want to do, someone just wants to spar about their own thoughts. There are lots of good consultants on the market, from which you can choose the best sparring partner for you. (I myself run career change and career consulting webinars. My own experience and expertise in these areas is focused on middle and senior management, more information here.)

Sparring is like an athlete talking to his coach. An athlete has talent, skills, potential. The coach, on the other hand, can give tips on how the athlete can eliminate technique errors and get the best out of himself. Sometimes just a couple of hours of sparring can clear the mind.

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