There are tons of reasons people find themselves searching for a new job. And, believe me, I’ve heard them all!

“I hate my job…”

 “I need more money and better benefits…”

 “I’m relocating…”

 “I need professional development and growth opportunities…”

 The list goes on and on.

But, regardless of why someone finds themselves scouring job listings, there is a method to the madness that will help them land a job they actually want instead of one they feel obligated to take.

Keyboard, iPad and stylusUnderstand Your Why & Want

Understanding your reasons for wanting a new job is critical.

While hating your current job is enough to get you to passively look online for jobs, it likely isn’t enough to get you to really commit to the job application process let alone actually jump ship and start a new position.

Despite complaining about a job, actually making moves to leave can be terrifying!

Sometimes we rationalize staying with what we hate because of a fear of the unknown and a chance that it could be worse. Unless your crystal ball is working, it’s hard to know that in advance…

So, how do you get from “I want a new job” to “I’m ready for a new job”?

This way of thinking is also helpful for those who may find themselves thrown into a job search … whether it’s from being laid off or forced to look because of relocation. You need a job. But, what are you ready for?

Because, when you’re ready for a new job, you are also ready to take on the potential challenges that come with the process.

I suggest making two lists, one for Your Why, and one for Your Want.

Your Why

  • List all the reasons you’re ready to leave your current position
  • If you’ve already left / will need to leave because of other circumstances like relocation or downsizing, list all the things you would have liked to be different with the role and/or company

Your list should be full of specifics. In other words, don’t just write, “I don’t like management.” Instead, really think about the situation and detail the things you don’t like or are unhappy with.
Understanding Your Why will help you craft the next list, which is Your Want.

Your Want

To get Your Want list right, dig into the things you’d need and/or want to make something the perfect job, or ideal work environment.
There will probably be some overlap between your two lists, which is perfect because the goal behind this exercise is for you to start to understand what will make you happy in your next role.
By doing this, you’re accomplishing two important things.

  • You’re giving validity to your job search, and in doing so, you’re no longer passively looking out of frustration or fear.
  • You’re defining your job search requirements.

Once you have Your Why and Your Want nailed down, you’re ready to start your job search with confidence.

Polish Your Skills

While many job seekers have incredible skills and experience, they are also sadly ill-equipped to tackle the demands of actually securing a new job. And, trust me, it’s a grueling, and sometimes vicious, process…

The job market becomes more saturated with qualified candidates every year. And, the unfortunate reality is that slapping some updated job responsibilities on a resume isn’t enough to snag an interview let alone score the job.

My clients range from fresh college graduates to more seasoned professionals, and despite all their abilities, few truly understand what is needed to persevere in today’s job market.

When I first entered the workforce shortly after the 2008 crash, my parents were baffled (as was I) by how difficult it was to just get a response from a job application, let alone an interview…

Long gone were the days of showing up at a company and slapping your resume down on a desk and asking to speak to the hiring manager. While I guess you could still try that, I’m willing to bet it will result in a call to security and not Human Resources. 

And, it’s only become more challenging…

With increased competition, everything about your application has to stand out. While your resume, networking, and cover letters might secure you an interview, you’ll need a polished interview and negotiation skills to help you get an offer you’re actually excited to accept.

You may be perfect for the job (seriously … the job description must have been written for you!), you still need to know how to package yourself so the company is able to see you as their dream candidate.

To do this, I have my clients focus on 4 areas.


In the world of job hunting, your resume is your calling card, which is why it’s imperative for you to make sure yours has the perfect format and content to get you noticed.

From the color and font you choose all the way to the tense you use… it’s all important!

Cover Letter 

Some websites require users to click a button that confirms they’re not a robot before submitting a form or other kind of inquiry. It’s a company’s way of preventing spam.

Since submitting a job application is as easy as clicking a button (literally), I like to think of the cover letter as a job applicant’s version of the “I’m not a robot button.” 

Just having something in the cover letter section will enable you to submit the application, but a well crafted, articulate cover letter is what will get you noticed!

Networking Skills

Have you heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know”?

With 75% + of jobs found through networking, you have to know when and how to develop AND use different types of relationships.

This includes how to approach cold emails, conversations, and maximizing LinkedIn. 

There is an art to cultivating networking relationships that is beneficial and oftentimes necessary for job searching.


Once you’ve done all the things to get yourself noticed by a potential employer, you have to know how to seal the deal. This includes developing a ninja-like interview question answering skills.

It also includes knowing how to navigate post-interview challenges, and, of course, sealing the deal with salary negotiation.

Skill Polishing Resources

 For anyone interested in developing their skills in any of these 4 areas, Therapist Married to Navy readers can enjoy 20% off any of my courses through the end of July 2019. Use promo code TMTN at checkout.

Be Kind

Finding a new job is a tiring and often frustrating process. For most of us, it usually winds up taking way longer than we’d like.

Some research suggests finding a job may take 1 month for every $10,000 you hope to earn in salary. I don’t know how accurate that statistic is, but, at minimum is conveys an important message … finding a new job truly is a process!

And, like most processes, it’s likely going to be full of ups and downs.

You might have days when you feel like you’re on top of the world, ready to take on anything.

You may feel completely defeated and hopeless the following day. You might feel like giving up.

It’s a roller coaster of emotions, and it isn’t always fun.

And, that’s why the best piece of advice I can give anyone embarking on a job search journey, is to be kind to themselves.

Know (and accept!) that you likely will not hear back from every job you apply to. It’s unfair (rude) and it totally sucks!

Even more upsetting, you’ll probably get your fair share of “thanks but no thanks” messages. Those are never fun…

But … if you stick with it and prepare yourself for the journey by not only understanding your needs and wants but also making sure you’re prepared to take on the job search lifecycle with your polished skills, all of that will eventually lead to the right opportunity for YOU.

It’s not easy, which is why it’s imperative that you remember to be kind to yourself and those around you.

This can be extraordinarily difficult to do, which is why I suggest consciously practicing self-care. That can mean a lot of different things to different people, spending time with loved ones, exercising, meditation, etc.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you don’t allow your job search to consume you. 

And, if you find yourself struggling, try to remind yourself that searching for a job is something you’re doing, not something that defines who you are.iPad and journal

What are some of your current challenges with searching for a job or a new career? Do you feel stuck in your current position? Let me know in the comments.

Keep in Touch!

More Career Resources:

  • Get 20% off any of our job search courses during the month of July with promo code TMTN
  • Our resume course is on sale for $15 (normally $24) until July 31. Use promo code EMPOWER.
  • Download our free Interview Thank-You Note Guide & Templates
  • Check out our free Overcoming Impostor Syndrome Mini Course

    Meet the author:

Screen Shot 2019-07-13 at 8.39.05 PM
Alli worked for non-profit, corporate, and start-up worlds for many years. She started to help others navigate the twists and turns of the professional world. As a career and finance empowerer, she shares relatable, actionable, and sometimes witty, strategies to tackle everything from how to find a new job to saving money. She enjoys yoga, working on DIY projects at her new home, and attempting to cook. You can connect with her on Facebook or by email at If you’re interested in more career advice, click any of the above links.
Share this positive message.