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March 2, 2020

Are you overwhelmed by the job search and not sure which companies to apply, or what types of jobs might match your skills best? Rather than hitting “apply” on hundreds of applications across a mixed batch of industries and professions, a more strategic approach to your search will provide a faster payoff.

By asking yourself and considering the following sets of questions, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort when searching for the right job and right company to apply to.

  1. First, start with identifying what’s most important to you in a company. For instance;
    1. Is having a great work-life balance or a flexible work arrangement most important because maybe you’re a single parent?
    2. Are pay and benefits your No. 1 concern?
    3. What about the company culture – are other people happy to walk through the doors every day? Is there a commitment to safety? Do they walk their talk?
    4. Do you want to make sure you are able to grow at one company for the tenure of your career? Does the company have a structure in place to allow you to advance professionally?


  1. Then, think about what kind of industry or type of business resonates with you.
    1. Do you want to create a tangible product, or would you rather provide a service?
    2. Is working outside every day crucial to your happiness, or would you be comfortable sitting in an office, or even traveling to and from customer sites?
    3. Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
    4. Do you want to work for a company that has been around for a while, or does the energy and excitement of a start-up sound appealing?
    5. Some industries operate on more of a 24/7 schedule (for instance Hospitality or Manufacturing).


  1. Additionally, companies aren’t one size fits all.
    1. Does being a global company matter to your professional goals and objectives?
    2. Do you want to work for a public company or a private firm?
    3. How many people would you want to work with directly each day?
    4. Do you want to be a subject matter expert or a ‘jack-of-all-trades’?


  1. Listen to what current employees have to say.
    1. Have you researched the company on Glassdoor or Indeed? These sites are a great resource for learning what current and former employees have to say about their specific experiences – and it’s all anonymous and very transparent.
    2. Check out the company's website. Companies that are invested in their culture and dedicated to hiring the right people will showcase their own employees on their website with stories and testimonials for more transparency.
    3. Consider following a company on Social Media – most companies have a hashtag that employees can use to post their own content about what it’s like to really work at the Company.


Understanding what your “must-haves” or “nice-to-haves” in a company is important to keep you focused during your job search. You can tailor your resume to more closely align with job responsibilities, as well as have more meaningful conversations with recruiters and/or hiring managers during the interview phase. It puts you a step above other candidates when you show that your interest goes beyond the typical, “I applied because I want a job,” that a lot of candidates offer– sharing why the company matters to you shows your potential as a long term employee, and the company is more likely to invest in your career development over time.

Kristi Raines