I am in the midst of a major life change. I recently sold my condo that I’ve lived in for more than 13 years and purchased a new home. Needless to say, the process was exhausting and stressful, though ultimately rewarding. During the course of it all, I was struck by the many similarities that exist between the house and job search processes. So, before you begin your job search (or land yourself on an episode of House Hunters), keep these tips in mind.
Decide what is important – What are your must-haves and what is negotiable? For the house hunter, lack of a garage might be a deal-breaker (especially in snowy Chicago winters), but a walk-in closet might be negotiable. The same thought process applies to the job search. Your job search must-haves may include health insurance, paid time off, or a flexible schedule. Next, decide what would be nice to have, but not a requirement – things like a private office or the ability to work from home.
Be realistic – A million dollar home may be out of your reach, just like a CEO position may not be right for your level of experience. Be mindful of your background and experience level and seek jobs that are the right fit.
Location, Location, Location – Realtors chant this mantra, but it is also applicable to the job search. How long of a commute are you willing to endure? While the job itself may seem ideal, consider the impact on your quality of life if the position requires a longer than desired daily commute. Also consider whether you prefer to work in an urban location or whether a suburban area is more your speed. Think through other location-related issues such as parking and accessibility via highways and public transportation.
Consider cost of living – If you are searching for a job in different geographic areas, be aware of what your money will get you. A $200,000 home looks very different in Des Moines vs. Washington, D.C. As a job seeker, be sure to evaluate the cost of living in certain geographic areas, and adjust your salary expectations accordingly.
Don’t be blinded by unnecessary items – We are all guilty of being attracted to bright, shiny objects – like a house with a pool or outdoor kitchen. However, attempt to stay focused on your original list of non-negotiables. The ability to bring your dog to the office or the existence of a foosball table may not matter if you are unhappy with the day-to-day responsibilities of your job.
Decide how long you’ll stay – Like the home-buying process, your job search will vary at different points throughout your career based on ever-changing factors such as your experience, goals, and objectives. Many people make the mistake of looking for their “dream home” from the outset. For many young graduates, an entry-level job where you’ll gain great experience is a perfect place to start – just like a starter home may be ideal for the young professional. Know that you can upgrade your job (and your home) later in life.
So, as I begin to settle into my new digs, I’m feeling more and more comfortable that I made the right decision – the same feeling I hope you will have as you settle into a new job. By approaching your job search like a hunt for real estate, you’ll set yourself on the right path to achieving your career goals.
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