The holidays are over and the New Year has begun. Will 2014 find you in a new job? Many people start looking for new employment because they feel undervalued at their current job. And others are looking after being down-sized in this economy. Whatever your reason may be for looking for new employment, take time to define your ideal job.

The least effective way to network when looking for a job is saying, “I’m looking for anything.” This statement doesn’t give the person you’re talking with enough information to help you. It also makes you sound desperate (even if you are desperate, remember don’t let them see you sweat).

To begin defining your ideal job, here are seven questions to think about in order to better articulate what you want:

1- Which industry am I pursuing?

You may decide to stay in your current industry. Or you may decide to branch out into a new industry. If you’re moving into a new industry, take time to list your transferable skills. These skills can be used in any industry – for example, sales, marketing, accounting, management. Also, practice your response when asked why you are switching industries.

2- What type of role am I targeting (e.g., entry-level account representative, sales manager)?

Be realistic. If you are considered “over-qualified,” practice your response to this issue. Also, be prepared to explain how this role fits into your overall career objective.

3- What responsibilities should my ideal job have?

Not all job titles are the same. For that reason, it’s important to read job descriptions. A “Relationship Manager” at one firm may have additional responsibilities than the “Relationship Manager” at another firm. When determining the responsibilities for your ideal job, read job descriptions from jobs that interest you.

4- What companies do I want to work for?

Identify the top 10 companies you would like to work for. If you don’t have a list of companies you’re targeting, then Google your industry and location. This search will help identify companies you may want to consider.

5- Where do I want to work?

Are you willing to relocate? If you live in a large metropolitan area, do you have commuting limitations?

6- What is my acceptable salary range?

Use your current income as a guide. If you are looking for a pay increase, define how much you want. Some job descriptions state pay will commensurate with experience. For this reason, it’s important to know your target salary range.

7- What type of benefits do I want?

Benefits include paid time off (e.g., sick time, vacation, holidays), retirement savings (e.g., 401k, pension plan), health insurance (e.g., medical, dental, vision), etc.


Answering the above questions will help you clearly define your ideal job. Use your answers as a checklist when evaluating job opportunities. Realize no job opportunity will meet ALL of your requirements but having a list will help keep you focused.

When networking, share answers to questions 1 through 5 in a short, succinct statement (responses to questions 6 and 7 are more for your information when evaluating opportunities). For example, you may say,

“I’m looking for a [insert role] opportunity in [insert industry] with [insert company name] in [insert location].”

Because you clearly defined your ideal job, when people you’re talking with ask follow-up questions regarding your job search, you’ll be prepared to answer.

Finding a new job is hard work. Remember to stay PEF (positive | enthusiastic | focused)!



Niv PersaudNiv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Her firm bridges the gap between financial planning and coaching. As a Transition Consultant, she offers sage advice in all aspects of life – financial, personal and professional. Niv does not manage money and does not sell financial products. Her services include spending plan development, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”