Questions to ask yourself before applying for a job

Don’t apply to another job until you’ve asked yourself these questions.

Let’s face it — the job search can be a frustrating process. And job applications? Before you spend another minute filling out yet another tedious online job application, ask yourself the following questions to make sure it’s worth your time.

It is not recommended to apply for a job when you fall well short of the job requirements - I can tell you it will not be successful. The client or recruiter may ask why a candidate that is currently holding a waiter role is applying for a vice president position with an international company, when they do not have the clear background or foundation yet to carry out the duties of the role.

1. Does the role fit into my long-term career plans?

Whenever possible, be strategic with the job positions you apply for. Each job should be a stepping stone towards your ideal career goal. When evaluating a position, consider if it will help you build the right skills for your end goal. Even if you’re searching for a job just to work to help pay the bills, look for opportunities that would allow you to work in your target industry or expose you to a field you want to pursue long term.  If you’re already established in your career and seeking full-time work, consider if the job plays to your strengths or will help you fill any skill gaps that are holding you back from getting ahead. While no job is perfect, do you find the majority of the job description to be enticing? Don’t apply to a job you know will leave you feeling bored, unmotivated, or just plain frustrated.

2. What do I enjoy most about my current role?

Consider the things you love about your job and put these things top of your wish list when looking for a new role. Maybe you’ve formed close working relationships with your colleagues in an open office environment or you relish your company’s international business trips. It goes without saying, then, that a new job without these benefits may well affect how much you enjoy going to work each day.

3. What can I offer? What is my USP?

Rather than just reeling off a list of positive adjectives, such as “hardworking” or “conscientious”, which, quite frankly, anyone can do, think instead of some concrete examples at work where you showed the qualities employers look for. Was there a time when you really added value to your company? What sets you apart from all the others applying for this job?

4. What do I want from my career?

Do you want promotion, development, a better work-life balance? Thinking about this carefully will allow you to pick and choose the most appropriate roles for which to apply.

5. What skills do you want to develop and what experiences do you want to gain in the next five years?

Focus on the skills you wish to hone and experiences you wish to develop further. If international travel is right up there for you, for instance, don’t waste time on applying for jobs that will keep you in one place.

6. Are promotional opportunities and progression important to me in a new role?

If they are, ensure you focus your search on organisations and companies that can offer you the best chance to fulfil your potential. Normally an international Hotel company will have this ability as these are property opportunities world-wide. If you’re not so bothered about climbing the career ladder, you can afford to be a bit more open to a range of job possibilities.

7. What am I willing to be flexible about?

Consider which elements you think you could be more flexible about in order to get the job you really want and those which definitely aren’t. Sometimes a step back, or what we call a sideward step, can and will lead to a step forward in the long run to getting within a hospitality company that will offer greater career development.

8. What benefits are most important to me?

Many companies offer fantastic perks, such as a company car, gym membership, private healthcare, F&B allowance, travel allowance or even something as simple as a clothing allowance to make their employees feel valued. Think carefully about how much these benefits mean to you and how you would feel if you lost them.

9. What salary am I aiming at?

Be realistic when thinking about your salary expectations. Look at what the salary levels and brackets in you chosen profession are so you are not looking to secure a salary level that is, in general, unobtainable. Also consider whether you would be prepared to take a pay cut to secure that ideal job, but do make sure you can afford to take the financial loss. In the same way, know your worth and don’t be afraid to aim for more highly paid jobs if you have the required skills and experience to accommodate it.

10. What kind of company culture would suit me best?

Do you enjoy working for a structured large organisation with processes and procedures or smaller, more dynamic companies where you can develop your own practices and procedures? You need to think what best suits you. Would you sink or swim in a high-pressured, high-stress environment? Would you be bored in a gentler-paced job? All of these are important questions to consider.

11. What kind of work environment makes me most productive and fulfilled?

It may be that you thrive in a team, open-office environment or like the idea of spending the day working on your own. You know yourself best, so do take your working style into account when looking at new roles. Being comfortable and happy in the way you work is the best way to maximise your output and reach your potential.

12. What size of company do I want to work for?

Try making a list of companies you would like to work for. Working for huge multinational organisations can open the door to fantastic opportunities but then so can working for a small company. What are your priorities?

13. Where do I want to be, career-wise, in the next five years? What are the steps I need to make to get there?

Ambitions are important: they give you impetus and momentum in your work life to strive for future career growth. Think about what you would like to achieve and how your new job could help you do it.

14. How do you want and like to be managed?

Are you happier being trusted to get on with the job or do you prefer a more micro managed approach? Only apply for the jobs that will allow you to flourish in your preferred working environment.

15. Is my CV and LinkedIn profile up to date?

Ensure your details are all up-to-date with your most recent employment and the skills and experience you have gained. A well-structured LinkedIn page especially is a great way to make contacts and hear about new job vacancies. It’s never a good ideal to send a resume that’s not current and up to date.

16. Manage the job search process?

Sign up to your preferred job website and job boards so you receive online alerts. Don’t however use websites that are not specific and targeted to your chosen profession. Social media is a great way of researching companies and finding out about up-and-coming job vacancies. Follow the companies you would ideally like to work for on Twitter, like their Facebook page and take a look on Glassdoor to read reviews from current employees.

17. Who can help me in my job search?

Remember that recruitment agencies are a great way of finding the best job to fit your skills and experience. It also gives you greater exposure to the job market and finding jobs that are not always advertised. Work out where your ideal jobs are going to be advertised and get online to find them.

18. Do I meet the requirements? Am I over or under-qualified for the role?

Remember, “almost” is not in a win/lose situation. The full expression being. "Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Before you apply for a job, carefully review the job description. Then read it over one more time. Some job postings will include a long wish list of qualifications that the company want the candidate to possess. For example if an MBA and six years of management experience is required and you don’t have these, then the job application is a waste of your time and theirs.

19. Pay special attention to the number of years that are required for the role.

If they’re looking for someone with 3-5 years of experience and you just graduated with little to no relevant internship experience, this job is a not a good fit. The same goes if you have 10 or more years of relevant experience. The required years of experience indicate the level of responsibility the position holds and the pay range the company is willing to offer. If you’re over-qualified for the job, you can expect the pay to be less than what you’re accustomed to making. In addition, the organization may assume you’ll get bored in the position and jump ship as soon as a better opportunity comes along.

20. What do I know about the company culture?

You can possess all the qualifications for a role, but if you don’t mesh well with the organization’s culture, then you ultimately won’t be successful. If you have been rejected from a company via an assessment and did not pass, you will more than likely not be suitable for any of their properties. Consider the work environments of the companies where you’ve thrived in the past to get a sense of what types of companies you should target during your current job search.

21. Do I know anyone who works at the company?

You will give yourself a better chance of landing the job when your application is accompanied by an employee referral for that company. Also, if you reach out to your connection, he or she may be able to pass a copy of your resume along to the hiring manager, helping you bypass some of the initial applicant screening processes. However, do not do this if you have been approached by a recruiter about the role as this will create an issue.

22. Have you customized your resume and cover letter?

Even a professionally written resume may require a few tweaks for a particular position. Take a look at the job description one more time. How does it define the role and its responsibilities? What specific language does it use to state the core requirements? If you possess those qualifications, make sure they are obvious to the reader. Highlight the skills that you have that are required for the role.

22. Your Personality Type

There are many things you can learn about your work style from discovering your personality type. Do you have a preference for extraversion or introversion? Do you require a quiet working environment or do you thrive in a bustling environment with more distractions? How your personality type will mesh with colleagues and supervisors plays a part in job satisfaction too.

23 Work/Life Balance

What type of balance do you require? Will you be working significantly more hours than you did at your last job? Will the new position require frequent business travelling or overtime hours?

24. Company Stability

In this economy, it never hurts to dig a little deeper on company growth and financial stability. This can help you determine whether or not you’ll be looking for a new job in the near future, due to the company cutting back its workforce or shutting down altogether.

25.So what else is important, you ask?

That is dependant specifically to your situation, circumstance etc