So, you’re looking for a new job. Maybe you’re overwhelmed from your old job and want a new career, or you’re fresh out of college and don’t know where to start. Just take a deep breath, because we’re here to help you navigate the professional waters of job searching. Ask yourself these ten important questions to land a job and grow your career.

What do I want from my career?

This should be one of the very first questions you should ask yourself when starting a job search. What do you want out of your career, and how do you plan to work toward it? You should establish a general knowledge of your goals when job searching. Create a career objective or set professional goals for yourself and keep them in mind when you apply for a position.

What skills do I have to offer?

Are you a specialist in advertising? Can you balance a corporate budget like it’s your business? If you have relevant skills for the job, market them! Soft skills are especially important to highlight, as one survey showed 67 percent of employers would hire strong soft-skilled applicants over those who possess poor technical skills. If you think your talents would help your application, feel free to flaunt your stuff – just make sure they’re true and pertinent to the job.

What skills do I want to improve?

Including a strength on your resume will help you land a job, but improving and learning new skills is the most important part of professional growth. Try searching for career opportunities that will develop your talents and motivate you to succeed. By challenging yourself, you may even exceed your own expectations.

What company environment suits me the best?

If you thrive in a mellow environment, you might work better at a company with fewer employees and a casual dress code to eliminate distractions. If you perform best in a fast-paced environment, apply to businesses that challenge your work ethic and expect high productivity. This also goes for management styles within a company — if you prefer one leadership style over another, search for a job that offers it. You know how you work best, so observe a company’s culture before you accept a job offer.

What is my desired salary?

It might be tempting to accept the first offer that comes along, but doing so without knowing the salary or the benefits could cause financial issues that are bigger than unemployment. Cutting your financial expectations down might be necessary, but if the salary will not make ends meet, it’s best to stay away from it. Stay realistic, but most importantly, know your worth.

Are opportunities for promotions and career growth important to me in a role?

If you desire a company that provides opportunities for professional development, seek it out. Settling for a job in which you feel stuck won’t help your career, and it could even lead you to another job search. Prioritize the goals you want in a new job to reach your career objectives.

Do I have a location or commute time limit in mind?

Think practically when looking at company locations. Avoiding a two-hour commute might be in your best interest if you foresee future overtime hours. Try looking for job locations with search tools or avoiding unrealistic commute times altogether. If the job is remote, understand you might need to invest in supplies or rent office space to meet work output expectations.

Where do I start looking?

Follow your ideal businesses on social media to keep up with their job openings or career fairs they participate in. Additionally, ask around for advice or network in the industry to find opportunities that aren’t available on the internet. If you do apply to the company online, look for notifications to keep up with your application process. Utilizing all resources available to you will increase your chances of landing a job offer.

How do I prepare for my interview?

Since you probably already know what you expect from a job, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with questions to ask the employer before you accept it. Try attending some mock interviews, which can enhance your skills by providing helpful feedback for the real thing. You can’t over-prepare for an interview!

I got an offer – what’s next?

After the company has expressed their interest in hiring you, you should review your contract before you accept the offer to understand your terms of employment. If you have any last questions for the hiring managers, now is a great time to ask them. Since you already have an offer, don’t be shy to ask the questions you didn’t before about the position, such as salary or promotional benefits.

Congratulations! You are now ready to dive into your job search using these questions to guide you along the way. The process might seem slow at first, but being persistent is the key to success. Happy hunting!

Next: Use these tips for landing a job when you don’t have experience, or skim some non-scary networking tips to make some new connections.

Questions to ask yourself when you're job hunting. Tips for landing your dream job