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What are the 3 most important job search parameters?

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Planning for new Opportunities
This article is based on the free eBook "Planning for new Opportunities"

Being a jobseeker can be very stressful, because there are so many things you need to do. Most people approach the task in a fairly disorganised manner and just muddle through.

This is why it’s worthwhile spending some time identifying the more general parameters for your job search before you launch into actual job-hunting.

The overall parameters are: pay, geography and working hours. Considering these factors will help you focus your efforts on applying for jobs that suit you. Let’s take a look!

Wage expectations

Most of us work to earn money so we can pay the rent or mortgage and other fixed expenses. It’s therefore important that you think about what kind of wage you expect and what you need to earn as a minimum.

Try to work out your fixed costs. Could you perhaps cut down on some of your outgoings for a while? You might want to ask your bank for help in drawing up a budget. Then work out exactly what you need to earn so it all adds up each month.

Some jobs – particularly in the public sector – have very specific wage grades determined by collective-bargaining agreements, so there isn’t much room for personal negotiation.

In the private sector, on the other hand, it’s often possible to negotiate various allowances on top of your salary. But if you go to an interview without doing your homework, you run the risk of finding out that the wages on offer are far too low for your outgoings. If you are invited to an interview, make sure you know what wage level to expect.

Do your homework on the potential pay

In other words, it’s crucial that you do your homework on the potential pay for the job concerned. If you are member of a trade union, it will be able to furnish you with wage statistics for various jobs. Or you can seek out the union representative in the workplace and ask how much you could reasonably demand as a starting salary.

Once you have worked out the average wage and found out what somebody with your experience would be paid in the workplace concerned, you can work out how much to ask for. Before you go to the interview, you should work out three figures:

1) Your first offer, which is a bit higher than you hope to end up with

2) A wage that you would be satisfied with

3) Your absolute minimum acceptable salary.

Once you’ve drawn up your budget and know what you need to earn to meet your fixed costs, you’ll then work out these three figures and keep them in the back of your mind during the interview.

You’ll have to work out those three figures each time you go for an interview, because wages may vary from workplace to workplace – even if the work is the same.


Geography is an important consideration when looking for a job. You need to decide which parts of the country you’d be willing to work in. A good way of narrowing down the geographical area is to estimate how long a commute you are prepared to put up with.

It’s also important that you assess how mobile you are. Do you have access to a car, or are you dependent on public transport? If we say one hour each way – how big does that make your geographical area? And what if you put that up to one and a half hours — how big a catchment area does that give you?

Ask yourself: “If the right job turns up, am I willing to invest in a car if it’s the only way to do the job?” Or if it turns out to be difficult to get a job in your area, are you willing to invest in a car and therefore increase your mobility and the geographic range of your search?

Answering this question will quickly define one of the main parameters for your job search.

Working hours

As well as geography, think about how many hours you’re prepared to work in order to strike the right work-life balance. This is particularly important for single parents, for example, or families with children where the partner works at certain times, so it’s your job to pick up and drop off the kids.

Do family commitments mean that you can only work during the day? Or are you also willing/able to take evening or night shifts? Are weekend shifts an option? The ability to work unusual hours is often an advantage over others who are only able to work the day shift.

You also need to decide how flexible you are able to be. For example, will you sometimes be able to turn up earlier or work later? It’s important to decide on all of these things before you start submitting applications.

Good luck with your job hunting!

If you want to learn more about searching for a job, have a look at the free eBook “Planning for new opportunities” written by EmploymentCare.

Download “Planning for new opportunities” right now