Job hunting can feel relentless. It involves a ton of energy, both emotionally and physically, and requires a good amount of perspective and awareness. When you're in the depths of a job search and it's perhaps been going on for a while, you might feel a certain amount of desperation creeping in, especially if you've been out of work for some time due to treatment and recovery and you are feeling the financial pressure.
However, it's important not to let any desperate feelings cloud your judgement and making the decision of whether to take a job or not. Much like the company needs to evaluate and like you as the candidate, it's a two way street. You as the applicant should be taking measures to be sure the company will be a good fit for you and your needs. As cancer survivors some of these factors may include benefits, flexibility, and culture, to name a few.
The Job Network highlights three strategies for assessing what a company will be like to work for and how to tell if it will be a good fit for you.
Look for positive signs. Take note of the process of interviewing. Was the HR experience smooth and clear? Were the initial communications professional and pleasant? In your interactions with employees, did you get a sense that people were engaged and happy to be there? These can be important factors to consider as you get closer to an offer.
Look for red flags. Similar to taking note of positive aspects, did you notice anything that feels a little off? Does it feel difficult to get a straight answer to your questions? Does there seem to be an attitude from employees like they're not satisfied or an air of frustration? Workplaces will always have some level of stress but does it feel like something more serious? Trusting your gut instincts on these types of observations can help save you a headache later on and a realization that you recognized but ignored these issues before accepting the job.
Do your homework. There are plenty of ways to find out about a company's values and environment beyond just looking at their mission statements and any type of positive press about them. Googling a company can bring up information like articles, past and current lawsuits, and other information that might shed some additional light. Websites like Glassdoor have real-life reviews from employees who are willing to be more honest due to the anonymity aspect. Using your networking skills ad LinkedIn presence can help you to connect with people at the company that can provide insight on some things that aren't totally obvious or apparent.
Following these steps can help you to make sure you're exploring companies that will not only provide you with a job, but satisfaction and a positive professional experience. Though it can take some time, it is worth seeking out employment that checks off the important boxes.
Below are some Cancer and Careers resources that can help with the job search:
- Our Balancing Work & Cancer Webinar Series. In particular our two recent sessions, Job Search and Career Change, can be found in our Video Archive and provide great tips on the practicalities of looking for work and how to make it a more successful process.
- Our Job Search Toolkit is a comprehensive toolkit that helps with each phase of the job search from resume and cover letter writing, to interviewing techniques with a special look at resume gaps and disclosure, as well as understanding health insurance and benefits.
- Take a look at the Exploring Your Options section of our website. Here you will find articles focusing on job-hunting after cancer treatment, finding meaningful work, and more!
- Use the Ask a Career Coach Program to pose questions to our career coaches that can help you further identify what to look for in potential employers and how.