Whether you’re flirting with the idea of looking for a new job or you’re ready to dive into a job search as soon as possible, one step you should take before you start is to create a must have list and a wish list for your next job. Your must have list will include all of your deal breakers—the things you absolutely need in your next position—and your wish list will include all of your wants—the things you’d really like to find in your next job but could potentially live without if it’s the right position. Why are these lists effective? Here are a few reasons.
1. Focus Your Search: For technology professionals in the current market, a shortage of opportunities isn’t necessarily a problem. However, you need to focus your search and apply to positions that will move you forward in your career and that align with your wants and needs. Making a must have list and a wish list before your job search will help you focus your search on the right opportunities and help you sift through open opportunities a lot faster.
2. Keep You From Applying Just Anywhere: An easy trap to fall into is feeling like your job search is taking too long, so you simply start applying anywhere and everywhere. The problem is, any old job won’t keep you happy for very long. But a job that aligns with your must have list and has a few of the characteristics from your wish list will keep your career on track and keep you from having to start another job search right away.
3. Communicate Your Priorities to a Recruiter or Your Professional Network: When you know what your must haves and your wishes are for your next job, you can easily communicate these to trusted members of your professional network and a recruiter. They’ll be able to recommend any opportunities they know of and they’ll be more likely to recommend an opportunity that’s a great fit for you.
4. Helps You Avoid a Career Misstep: No one wants to end up in a job at a company whose culture clashes with their personality. No one wants to end up in a job that’s a dead end when they could have growth or training opportunities. But, these common career missteps happen because people go into their job search a little too blindly. Having your lists by your side will prevent you from making a dreaded career misstep.
5. Pulled In By the Right Culture and Perks: Companies offer flashy perks or advertise their great culture to pull in top technical talent like you. But, if you know what is on your must have list and your wish list, you won’t be distracted by shiny perks like a slide in the office and forget to get the 401k match you really need.
Make a list of must haves for your next job and make a wish list too! These should encompass company culture, your daily responsibilities, growth opportunities, benefits, salary, and whatever else you prioritize. This will help you evaluate job opportunities so you can make the right move when the right opportunity appears.