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Ah, job hunt season is in order. While it can be nerve-wracking, pressure-laden, and stressful—especially for first-time job seekers—life coach and organization development consultant Kitty Dulay-Ferraria says it doesn’t have to be. “It helps to enter the work world with a sense of openness and learning,” she begins. “There’s a lot of insight to be made, not just on the job, but also during the job search.”

Finding a job is the goal, but if you can help it, landing the right job is ideal. Below, she tells us how to go about it, be you new in the work force or a career-shifter:

1. Have a criteria, but stay flexible. While having a target is good (dream job and dream company!), Dulay-Ferraria says it’s important especially for first-time job seekers to remain flexible. “Especially early in your career, don’t be too rigid with your choices. You have limited experience in how the work world works.” It isn’t so much as settling, as it is staying humble. You’re new to this, after all. Reminds Dulay-Ferraria: “You might have your eyes set working for a multinational as your first job, not considering a great local company that may provide the same opportunities for learning and even better promotion opportunities.”

2. Make a wishlist. Have a wish list and rank them—this will serve as your compass, will help you wade through the search, and keep you from just settling and accepting anything. Below are a few questions to ask yourself:

a. What is the nature of the work? Will you be working alone or with a team? Are you office-based or on field? Is it something you absolutely love or something you’re only capable of doing?

b. What is the size of the org? Is it a huge multinational? Does it have subsidiaries? Is it a small startup?

c. How’s the workload? Are people always swamped? Is OT the name of the game?

d. What is the company culture like? Sometimes, the job is exactly what you like, but the culture—office politics, demeanor, values—is whacked for you.

e. Do you like the location of the office? Do you mind having to sit in traffic? Are you up for traveling the distance? Imagine doing this day-in and day-out.

f. Potential for growth. Are you here for long-term, or are you here just to learn and hop on the next career train?

3. Daydream! You can visualize your ideal workday, or daydream on how you’d be 15 years down the line. According to Dulay-Ferraria, imagining these things “can give you clues on what criteria is important to you.”

4. Know what work is for you. Are you there for the money? Is there a bigger purpose as to why you’re pursuing such a career—maybe help and serve others, perhaps? “Knowing what your workview is can help you in deciding what work to pursue,” she notes.

5. Use your intuition. Don’t ignore it when something strikes you as “off” during the recruitment process, or when your radar goes off as you learn about the high turnover rate. These are red flags and could be indicators of what it’s like to be working in the company. The same goes for people already employed: if you’re already hired but something still feels amiss, then take heed. Like they say: If you don’t belong, don’t be long.

6. Get off the sidelines. Stop overthinking, stop daydreaming, and just go for it! You’ll never know all there is about a job until you get your feet wet. “We can make all assumptions about how a job might be and think of all the what-ifs, but if all you’re doing is making your list and not even submitting applications, then…”

7. A great rap sheet is just a great rap sheet. Dulay-Ferraria did recruitment for five years and she lets us in on a secret: “I never took anything on an application at face value—not even tenure.” According to her, it is the job of the recruiters to dig deeper and find out about the candidates and their fit. “If you’ve changed jobs a number of times, I don’t think you have anything to worry about as long as your work ethic is good, your performance has been proven and you’ve contributed in your precious orgs.”

Illustrations: Madel Crudo

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