10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Applying for a Job

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 26, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated February 26, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

Preparing to apply for jobs within your desired industry requires you to have a degree of self-awareness about your personal values, skills and limitations. By taking the time to determine what is important to you in a job, you can better evaluate whether or not a job is right for you.

In this article, we discuss the importance of asking yourself questions before applying for a job and provide ten sample questions to help you in your job search.

Related: The Essential Job Search Guide

Why is it important to ask yourself questions before applying for a job?

It is important to ask yourself questions before applying for a job as it can help you identify your priorities in terms of distance, pay scale, work environment and desired job responsibilities. It can also help determine whether or not your application materials and online information are presented in a professional way. Use the following questions as a guide to evaluate a job's relevance to you and your life:

  1. How long is the commute and is it reasonable?

  2. How does this fit into my long-term career goals?

  3. What is the company culture like?

  4. Are my resume and cover letter directly tailored to the company and the job description?

  5. Are there any networking connections I have within the company?

  6. Do my social media profiles represent me well?

  7. How do I compare to the candidate requirements in the job description?

  8. Does the projected salary match my standards of living?

  9. Is there room for internal growth?

  10. Are there any educational opportunities I could achieve through this role?

Related: The Complete Guide To Researching a Company

1. How long is the commute and is it reasonable?

It is important to map out the distance from your current place of residence to your potential workplace. Is it more than an hour's drive? Would you have to take additional transportation on a bus or train? Is it far away enough that you would have to relocate and would you be willing to relocate if that was the case?

These are all elements to consider when deciding whether or not the commute is reasonable for you. You should also factor in possible traffic, weather impairments and the amount of money spent on gas to determine if you should apply for a job or not.

2. How does this fit into my long-term career goals?

Placing a job within the context of your long-term career goals can help decide whether to apply or withdraw your application. Try to search for opportunities that are relevant to the industry and career goals you wish to achieve.

For example, a recently graduated English major with an interest in publishing should look for entry-level positions in publishing houses, rather than applying for the first job they find at a bookstore.

It is important to note however that It might be challenging to find the right opportunities, and you might have to work in jobs that do not match your career goals while in pursuit of your desired job.

Related: How To Find the Best Jobs for You

3. What is the company culture like?

You can gain insights into a company's culture by taking a look at its website. Read their 'About' section and mission statement to help create an idea of what they value as an organization. The job description can also provide you with information about a company's work environment.

Phrases such as 'fast-paced,' or 'collaborative team' can allude to the daily work environment. Once you have identified the company's cultural values and work ethic, be sure to compare them with your own. This can help you determine whether or not you should apply for the job.

4. Are my resume and cover letter directly tailored to the company and the job description?

Even if you have a professional resume and cover letter, you still need to make sure that it aligns with the company and job you are applying for. Many companies use keyword features to target similar words and phrasing used in the job description to pick an application from a pool of applicants. To ensure your resume is seen by potential employers, highlight key traits and responsibilities that are expected of the desired candidate and see how you can incorporate them into your application materials.

You should also reread your cover letter to make sure that the company name and the name of the hiring manager are mentioned in its contents.

Related: What Happens To My Resume After I Click Apply? Plus Tips for Success

5. Are there any networking connections I have within the company?

You might know someone who works in the company you are applying to. Any connection, even if it is as minute as attending the same college, can be beneficial to helping your application through the hiring process. See if you can connect with that person or person(s) before submitting your application, as some companies like to hire individuals that are associated with their current employees.

6. Do my social media profiles represent me well?

Before submitting your application, consider looking through your professional and personal social media profiles, even if they are in a private setting, company's can enlist software that allows employers to see your profile. Be sure your professional profile includes your updated resume, portfolio and contact information and take down any material from your personal accounts that you would not want a hiring manager to potentially see.

7. How do I compare to the candidate requirements in the job description?

Asking this question can help you determine whether or not you are applying for a job position that matches your qualifications. Highlight technical and interpersonal skills that you already have and determine if there are any qualifications that you lack, which could affect your candidacy. This will help save you valuable time and apply to the jobs that align with your skill level.

8. Does the projected salary match my standards of living?

Consider the salary you had at your previous job and compare it with a job position's salary projections if they are listed in the job description. If you believe this is your dream job, then a reduced standard of living might not matter to you, but if you know that this salary would not sustain you and the other factors in your life such as bills, childcare or school expenses, consider searching for other opportunities.

Related: Base Salary and Your Benefits Package

9. Is there room for internal growth?

Sometimes the job description will directly state that the position in question could lead to promotions and other career growth opportunities within the company. If this is not mentioned in the job description, consider checking the company website. If your question is still unanswered, this is a great question to ask in an interview, as it displays your eagerness to learn and excel in your role.

10. Are there any educational opportunities I could achieve through this role?

If you are looking to gain additional education in the form of credentials or college-level courses, this is a question to think about before applying for a job. Some companies offer and encourage the completion of continuing education programs such as career certifications or even offer to pay for their employees to complete a degree program.

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