When figuring out how to find a better job, rolling up your sleeves and doing the work is non-negotiable. From setting realistic expectations to leveraging your network, the end game is landing a gig that gives you a sense of purpose.
It’s no small thing considering that, according to a BetterUp Labs survey, 9 out of 10 workers would actually trade a percentage of their future earnings if it meant that their work would always feel meaningful.
So what are you waiting for? Here are six tips for experts on how to find a job you love:
- Adjust your expectations
- Do a self-assessment
- Know where to look for jobs
- Tap your network
- Ask for a referral
- Negotiate and be your own advocate
- Plus: 3 signs you need a new job
You may need to tweak your expectations a bit in light of our new normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the job market, and the economy is still feeling it.
“If you’ve never had to apply yourself before and things have always just come to you, know that may not be the case right now because of the world we’re in,” Foram Sheth, co-founder and chief coaching officer at coaching company Ama La Vida, told Student Loan Hero. “If something on average used to take three months, it might now take six months. Setting realistic expectations mentally prepares you and keeps you anchored.”
It also helps keep your confidence intact so that you’ll have the right mindset to persevere if your job search starts feeling tough. A company may not hire you simply because their budget has changed, not because you’re unqualified. Step No. 1 to finding a career you love is getting your head right.
“Now is the time to ask yourself what you’re good at, what you like to do and what you dislike doing,” Robin Ryan, a career counselor and author of “60 Seconds & You’re Hired,” told Student Loan Hero. “There are times where you may be good at something, but that doesn’t mean you like doing it.”
This could be part of the reason you feel stuck in your current job. Tap into those feelings of dissatisfaction to figure out why you’re unhappy in the first place, so the scenario doesn’t play itself out again in your next role. This is key to demystifying how to find a better job.
Part of doing a self-assessment also involves determining if you need to add any new skills to your résumé. Ryan suggested paying close attention to job descriptions to see what kinds of skills and education they’re calling for. Would pursuing some classes or new certifications make you more marketable? If so, get on it.
Finding the right job for you comes down to casting a wide net. Most job seekers lean on LinkedIn, and with good reason — according to Sheth, the platform can provide an inside scoop on recruiters, company culture and more.
“You can see how many people applied there, and also try and add the recruiter to your network and start building up those connections,” she said. “You may find other employees there who are in the role you’re trying to get to. What has their experience been like? How might you be able to network with them?”
You have a little more home team advantage on LinkedIn, but it certainly shouldn’t be your only resource. Getting active on sites like Indeed and Vettery can only set the stage for more opportunities. Working with a staffing firm or headhunter could be another viable option, though Sheth advised to be sure they have contacts in the industry you’re looking to work in. If they do, and they think you’re a viable candidate, they’ll be motivated to find you a job because it translates to money for them.
“If you don’t want to network, you’re not going to find a job very easily, because networking is going to be key for everybody,” said Ryan.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your LinkedIn network and beyond, including folks who are currently doing the kind of job you want. To be clear, straight up asking them to help you find a job is never the way to go. Instead, Sheth suggested inviting them to a virtual coffee date. Frame it as an informal chat where you can learn about their career trajectory and how they got to where they are today. When thinking about how to find a better job, it’s not always about you.
“The important thing here is to build a relationship, not for that person to get you a job,” she added.
You’re playing the long game. If you’ve built solid relationships over time, and have continued to add value to those relationships, those people are going to be more likely to want to help you find work when you need it.
For that initial coffee date, Ryan recommended keeping it to no more than 20 minutes, so they won’t resent you for taking up too much of their time. Come prepared with a 30-second elevator pitch about yourself, along with a few key questions about them.
Afterward, be sure to send them a follow-up email or handwritten thank-you note to show your gratitude, and keep the relationship alive by checking in periodically. Sending a link to a relevant article or giving them a heads up about an upcoming event they may be interested in are easy ways to add value and stay on their radar.
A 2017 SilkRoad Technology report found that employee referrals are the top source for new hires.
“The referral is like the secret weapon to landing a new job,” said Ryan. “That résumé will get looked at if it comes from an internal employee.”
Bumping your résumé to the top of the pile is crucial in finding a career you love. Do you know anyone inside the organization? If not, see if you’re connected to someone who can offer an introduction. Rather than sit on the sidelines, get proactive and respectfully ask for a referral — it doesn’t have to be awkward.
“You have to self-advocate for yourself, and ask simply by saying, ‘Can you think of anyone else I should talk to?’” added Ryan.
Once you’ve got your foot in the door and have moved onto the interview phase, it’s time to speak up and negotiate. That sounds like common sense, but the pandemic has fooled many job-seekers into thinking they have no leverage — not so, said Sheth.
“Let them say no to a salary increase,” she advised. “Your job is to negotiate and put it out there. There’s this notion of, ‘If I can just get a job, I’m lucky.’ Yes, you are lucky, but that doesn’t mean you need to devalue what you are worth.”
If the company is experiencing temporary budget setbacks, consider writing into the contract that they’ll revisit your salary terms six months down the road.
- Your job doesn’t line up with your values. Sheth said this usually shows up as a feeling that something’s just not right. If, for example, you really value autonomy but are being micromanaged, your gut may tell you that this isn’t the role for you. Finding the right job for you requires tuning into your instincts — and listening.
- The “Sunday scaries” are real. We’ve all been there at one time or another. Sunday night rolls around and you’re dreading going back to work the next day. “It feels like you’re pouring from an empty cup because you’re constantly exhausted and there’s nothing you look forward to,” Sheth added. “Sunday nights are scary because you can’t wait to clock in and out. Everything becomes very transactional.”
- The pandemic is threatening your current job. The pandemic won’t be around forever, but the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute projects that 32% to 42% of COVID-induced layoffs will end up being permanent. If you’re concerned that your current job may be on the chopping block next, now is definitely the time to look for something new. Ryan warned that the job market may get flooded with even more applicants once that extra $600 in unemployment benefits runs out at the end of July.
There’s no magic wand for landing your next great job, but there are certain things you can do to up your odds. Clarifying what you want, leveraging your network and advocating for yourself can go a long way in finding fulfilling work.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|2.49% – 11.72%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.30%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|4.13% – 7.39%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 8.24%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 7.98%||Undergrad |
|1.74% – 7.99%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.69% – 9.92%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 6, 2022.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $9 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 09/09/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 4.13% APR – 7.39% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR – 9.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.
5 Important Disclosures for Navient.
6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR).
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).
Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).
Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).