How to Create and Manage a Priority List When Looking for a Job


How to Create and Manage a Priority List When Looking for a Job

We all hit moments in our careers when we want to make a change. From where we work to the type of work we do to who we work for, the desire to find a new job is a feeling that most people can relate to.

Conducting a job search takes time, effort, and dedication, and for some people, just the thought of it can be a bit overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.

With a well-organized priority list, finding the perfect job can be easier than you may think.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to create and manage a priority list when looking for a new job.

Make a Short List of Your Top Priorities

Scrolling through open positions on online job boards can be time consuming and frustrating if you do a broad search. To save yourself time and aggravation, make a list of your priorities before you start searching for available jobs.

Priorities can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Salary and benefits
  • Job title
  • Job responsibilities
  • Location/commute length
  • The opportunity to work from home
  • Room for growth and advancement
  • Flexible schedule

Whether you desire a position with a company that has a certain type of culture or are focused solely on salary and benefits, there are all sorts of items that might deserve a spot on your priority list.

Once you have a list of priorities, rank them in order of importance. Then, as you conduct your job search, filter out and narrow your searches to display jobs that meet your top three or four priorities.

Make Sure Your Priorities are Realistic

When searching for a job, you have to be realistic and make sure that your priorities are in line with one another.

For example, let’s say your top priority is to land a position as the CFO of a tech company. Your second priority is to live and work in a small, rural town. Since there aren’t many major tech jobs in rural parts of the country, these two contradicting priorities can make your search more difficult (or even impossible).

If your priority list is full of contradictions, you’ll need to adjust your expectations in a more realistic way.

It’s important to be reasonable about salary expectations as well.

Is your dream job to be an elementary school teacher and your target salary to earn $100k per year?

That’s not likely.

Elementary school teachers in the U.S. earn an average of $60,940 per year, with the top 25% percentile earning about $79,000. If it’s a $100k salary you’re looking for, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment right from the start.

Before you set your sights on a specific salary, do your research. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website is a great place to start your research, as it gives a broad overview of jobs in various industries. For more in-depth insights into salaries, read industry-related blogs to learn even more about how salaries vary based on years of experience, location, and the type of workplace you choose.

Pinpoint Areas of Flexibility

No matter how well-organized your priority list is, the best way to manage it is to be open-minded and flexible throughout the job search process. It’s perfectly acceptable to have some non-negotiables, but if every item on your list is non-negotiable, you may never find the job you’re looking for.

Take a look at your priority list and decide which points you can be flexible with. What means the most? What means the least? What are the items you want versus the items you need?

The job title is one item where you can (and should) always be flexible. Don’t get hung up on having a certain title. Instead, look into the details of the position.

If the job duties are in line with the type of work you want to do, that’s far more important than the title of the role.

While some people work to fulfill a lifelong passion, most people work to earn a salary. It’s reasonable to have a minimum salary requirement in mind, but you’re likely to find more opportunities if you can be flexible with your salary expectations.

For example, if you’re hoping for $75,000 per year but find a $70,000 per year job that hits every other priority on your list, giving up $5k may be well worth it.  

In Conclusion

There’s nothing fun about job hunting, but there is something exciting about landing a brand new position and getting everything it is that you want out of your new job. With a finely tuned priority list and a willingness to be flexible where need be, you can save time and streamline your job search to find a position that’s [almost] perfect for you.  

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