Don't apply for another job until you've asked yourself these questions. Don't waste your time interviewing for another job that's not EXACTLY what you want!
1 - Does the role fit into my long-term career plans? Whenever possible, be strategic with the job positions you apply for. Each job should be a stepping stone toward your ideal career. When evaluating a position, consider if it will help you build the right skills for your dream job. Even if you're looking for part-time work to help pay the bills, look for opportunities that will allow you to work in your target industry or expose you to a field you want to pursue in the future.
2 - Do I meet the requirements? Am I over or under-qualified? Before you apply for a job, carefully review the job description. Some job postings will include a ridiculously long wish list of qualifications that the company would like the ideal candidate to possess. Your job is to identify which of those qualifications are on the hiring manager's list of must-have requirements. In other words, what are the deal breakers? If an MBA and six years of management experience are required and you don't have these, then the job application is a waste of your time.
3 - What do I know about the company culture? You can possess all the qualifications for a role, but if you don't mesh well with the organization's culture, then you ultimately won't be successful. Consider the work environments of the companies where you've thrived in the past to get a sense of the types of companies you should target during your current job search. Take steps to investigate the company culture of a prospective employer to make sure the job application is worth the effort.
4 - Is the commute reasonable? If you took a position how would you get to work? Would you need to relocate for the role? And if so, are you and your family willing and able to make such a move? Would you be able to take public transportation or would you have to drive? How much would your commute cost you per year? How long would it take you to get to the office? Does the company have a reputation of offering flexible work schedules or telecommuting options?
While you may love the job opportunity, you have to be realistic. First, local candidates usually get preference over those who apply from out-of-state. Employers worry about relocation costs and getting burned by an impulsive candidate who turns into a costly flight risk. Second, the length and cost of your commute must be taken into consideration. Both of these factors have an impact on your quality of life. Make sure the commute is feasible before you apply.
5 - Do I know anyone who works at the company? Studies have shown you're 10 times more likely to land the job when your application is accompanied by an employee referral. Before applying for the position, go through your network to see if you know anyone who currently works or previously worked at the organization. Oftentimes, the online application will specifically ask you if you know someone at the company. I guarantee those candidates get some preferential treatment. Also, if you reach out to your connection, he or she may be able to pass a copy of your resume along to the hiring manager, helping you bypass some of the initial applicant screening processes.
6 - Have I customized my resume and cover letter? Even a professionally written resume may require a few tweaks for a particular position. Take a look at the job description one more time. How does it define the role and its responsibilities? What specific language does it use to state the core requirements? If you possess those qualifications, make sure they are obvious to the reader.
7 - Does my online presence support my career story? According to a study by Jobvite, 93% of employers will search for your social profiles before inviting you in for an in-person interview. Make sure your online presence is consistent with your resume so that the candidate the interviewer meets in person and reads about on paper matches what's online.
Bottom Line: Do Your Research. It can ultimately save you time and put you one step closer to your dream job.