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8 Tips to Get a Better Job

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

Do you find yourself dreading a new workweek? Maybe you’ve lost the passion you once had for your work?

Not to worry — you’re not alone. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, less than 50% of workers report being satisfied with their current job. If you’re part of the half of the workforce that’s unhappy at work, you might be using your job to just get by.

But it’s often a short journey from a lack of engagement to lackluster performance.

Sure, it’s natural to have bad days now and then. But if you truly don’t enjoy your job, your best move is to work toward getting a job you can feel successful in.

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8 Tips To Get a Better Job

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When you want to find a better job, there are certain steps you can take to make it happen.

Here are proven tips to help you find a job you’re passionate about and — hopefully — a company and career you love as well.

1. Take Inventory of Your Skills and Interests

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Knowing you want a new job isn’t the same as knowing which position you want. If you start randomly pursuing new roles because you think you’ll like them, you might end up in a poor job fit again.

When you need clarification about the direction you want to take, first devote time to the career discovery and planning phase.

Start by listing your skills and interests to see where they overlap. It’s essential to be honest about where your skills position you for success.

If significant gaps exist, fill them with certifications, volunteer experience, or even degrees, if possible. Be honest about the time it will take to get to your desired level. Perhaps the job you need now is a few steps under your target, but if it’s moving you in the right direction, it’s still a worthy goal.

Remember to look beyond your hard skills. Explore job postings and roles matching your soft skills and personality type. You’ll be able to communicate what makes you the perfect candidate as you progress through the hiring process.

And you might find that when you land an unexpected role matching your talents, you’ll enjoy it more than you anticipated.

2. Research Companies, Rather Than Jobs

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Pursue companies that mirror your values to narrow your search. Seek out organizations with a strong culture fit and a mission that aligns with yours.

Remember that pay isn’t the only factor in your long-term success. In a recent Gallup poll, employees reported that work-life balance and the opportunity to use personal strengths were also crucial.

Start with a list of companies you admire, then move on to companies with products you use or companies you follow on social media. If you still need to decide what companies to pursue, consider any companies your friends work for and love.

Beyond that, start researching job postings and cross-referencing with reviews and news releases until you find one that seems like a good fit.

As you pursue your research, you’ll be able to narrow your list to ideal target companies.

3. Leverage Your Network

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If you haven’t already, it’s time to start building connections. While any networking relationship is generally good, it’s even more beneficial to network with professionals in your target industry and at your target company.

If you’re shy or introverted, you’ll need to fake it until you make it and find unimposing ways to reach out. That might mean volunteering for a nonprofit and interacting less directly.

Perhaps crowds are intimidating, but you can comfortably talk one-on-one. In that case, informational interviews might be perfect.

Then, once you’ve made a connection, maintain contact through direct networking and interacting in LinkedIn groups. As you get to know them better, sharing that you’re on the lookout for a new role becomes easier.

4. Create an Organization System

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As you enter the application stage, you need to create a system that helps you stay on top of your applications. A simple Google sheet is a great way to keep everything handy.

List details like:

  • The date you applied
  • Where you found the job posting
  • A follow-up date
  • Names of hiring managers and recruiters

5. Create Profiles and Resumes That Stand Out

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It might seem counterintuitive, but more is not always better when it comes to resumes. Instead, invest time in creating a resume tailored to each role you’re applying for.

That doesn’t mean starting from scratch every time. Instead, weave keywords from the job posting throughout your cover letter and resume.

And if you haven’t already, you’ll want to do some research to get a feel for the company culture and an understanding of the hiring manager’s needs. You can use that information to build a LinkedIn and social media presence that supports your resume.

When the hiring manager compares your resume to your LinkedIn profile — and they will — you want them to find a cohesive career story.

6. Practice Thoroughly for Your Interviews

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Do you feel like you work better on the fly? Are you graceful under pressure? If so, you might be tempted to attend the interview and have a conversation without preparing.

But chances are you’ll get bypassed for another candidate who has done their homework. This is especially true if you’re looking for a stretch assignment or career move.

Instead, connect the dots for the hiring manager to help them see you as the best applicant. Be prepared to discuss the company, industry, and role with clarity.

One of the best gifts you can give yourself is mock interview practice with a professional.

Perhaps you have a friend or family member who is routinely involved in hiring. Ask them to conduct a mock interview with you. Even better, meet with a professional career coach to help polish your responses.

7. Follow Up Post-Interview

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A lot of job search standards have changed over the years. But the need to send a follow-up message isn’t one of them.

Sending a thank-you note is still a best practice, and sharing or clarifying additional information can help you stand out.

In fact, you may send two or three follow-up emails over the following weeks.

For your initial follow-up email, ensure you thank them for their time, restate your interest, and reinforce the skills that set you apart from other candidates.

8. Prepare To Negotiate Your Salary and Benefits

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Even though it generally feels awkward, you should be ready to negotiate your salary. Otherwise, you might take a lower offer that leaves you resentful throughout your employment.

Know the industry standard and consider other benefits that would balance out a lower salary.

A flexible schedule or the ability to work a hybrid remote schedule might entice you to accept a job at the lower end of your salary range. If you’re eager for the position, other considerations include PTO, vacation time, and stocks.

Regardless of what you’re negotiating for, approach the conversation with data and a clear goal to respectfully request what you’re worth.

Land a Better Job — and Fast

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Follow the previous steps, and you’ll find yourself moving toward a job in which you can find fulfillment.

Ensure that you don’t burn bridges when you leave your current role, and remember to set new goals once you’ve started the new position.

Before you know it, you’ll be building a career you feel good about.

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