The Secret Weapon To Job Search Success? A Job Wish List

March 15, 2022 Catherine Tacopina

When there are plenty of open roles for you to choose from, your job search may seem equal parts exciting and overwhelming. You may think the best strategy is to cast a wide net and apply to every role you’re qualified for, but this approach could backfire quickly. Not only can it leave you feeling unorganized and distracted, but worse, it can lead you to apply to jobs you’d never really consider an offer for.

If you get far into the interview process for these roles, this can be a huge waste of time for you, the employer, and other individuals you’ve partnered with in your search. To prevent this from happening, it can be helpful to create a job wish list before you dive headfirst into your search. Continue reading to learn more about what a job wish list entails and why you should make one:

What is a job wish list?

The goal of a job wish list is to keep you focused on roles that meet your overall goals and personal and professional needs. Some things you can include on this wish list include:

Career goals

Outline what you’re hoping to accomplish in your career, and ask yourself whether each role you are applying to can help you achieve these goals. Having these goals on your job wish list will help you keep the bigger picture in mind throughout your search.

Non-negotiables

What are the things you aren’t willing to compromise on, regardless of how great the job offer is? In this writing activity, document your list of deal-breakers. Whether that is a long commute or lack of work-life balance, make sure you get everything on the table. At the same time, you’ll want to write down your must-haves. Whether that comes down to certain job responsibilities, the schedule, or company culture, be upfront about what you’re looking for.

Compensation + benefits package

What are you expecting in terms of compensation with your next role? Beyond the target salary, also consider the full package including elements like benefits and other unique company perks.

Target companies

If you have companies in mind you know you want to work for, be sure to include them in your job wish list too! While you shouldn’t limit your search to strictly these companies, understanding what they have in common can help you hone in on other companies that could meet your needs.

Why should you write a job wish list?

Having a job wish list will not only help you discover your own priorities, but it will also help you stay honest during your job search. Still not convinced you need one? Here are some specific ways a job wish list can help you in your search:

Keeps you focused

A job wish list will help you stay focused over the course of your job search. With this list, you can easily reference whether or not a job opportunity matches up with your priorities. If the role doesn’t meet your needs, you can quickly move on to the next opportunity on your list. Not only will this help you stay focused, but it will also prevent you from applying to jobs that aren’t the right fit for you!

Helps you communicate honestly with your network

As you begin to reach out to your professional network about your job search, you’ll likely be asked what it is that you’re looking for. By having a job wish list, you can easily and confidently communicate what it is that entails.

If you choose to work with a recruiter, being prepared with a job wish list not only shows them what you’re looking for, but it also helps them streamline your search! Since they have established relationships with a variety of companies, they can use your wish list to see what open roles would be the right fit for you.

Prevents you from accepting the wrong offer

If you don’t stay organized or focused throughout your search, you run the risk of taking a job not aligned with your needs or clashing with the company culture. Since you may not be happy in your new role, you could find yourself looking for your next job much sooner than you anticipated. Having a job wish list can help you avoid this type of misstep.

For more job search tips + insight on today’s job market, check out our 2022 Future Of Work Report!

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