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How to choose the job that's right for you

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

If you have worked in an administration, marketing, HR or finance role and are actively looking for a new opportunity, you may feel spoilt for choice with so many jobs available. You may have noticed that there are lots of business support roles available at all levels in Oxfordshire and London which is exciting, not least of all because as a job seeker, it puts you firmly in the driving seat. But with choice comes responsibility, so it's more important than ever to map out what you want from your next move. Here are some ideas that might help you to narrow your options and find the job that's right for you.

Make a plan

It may sound like an obvious question to those of you that are super-organised – but have you considered making a career plan? Or a work-life plan? Or any kind of job plan for that matter?

While this may sound like a lot of unnecessary hard work for very little return, in our experience the opposite is true. We find that the candidates who have taken the time to think carefully about what they want and need – for themselves, their careers and their families – are the ones that are most successful at landing a job that is fulfilling and long-lasting.

So what do we mean by a plan?

It's about identifying what's really important to you so that you can assess potential job opportunities against it. Your plan is personal to you so it can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn't have to be an essay; it could just as easily be a few bullet points. What matters is that you've given yourself the space and time to re-evaluate your priorities in the context of your own particular circumstances and have come up with a set of key criteria. These criteria will help to narrow your job search and highlight the opportunities that are right for you.

Where do I start?

Allow time for introspection. It doesn't have to be a dedicated session; it might just be a series of moments when you have a bit of time to yourself and are able to think clearly. You may even want to ask a close friend or family member to act as a sounding board.

Whatever your approach, the following questions may help to guide your thinking when considering what you want to get out of a new job.

1. Who am I and what do I have to offer?

  • What do I have to offer an employer?
  • What skills and experience do I have?
  • What are my interests?
  • What type of person am I? How would my best friend describe me?
  • What motivates me? What makes me want to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Do I like to be with people – and if so, what type of people?
  • How do I behave in stressful situations?
  • What are my values?

2. What do I want from a job?

  • What makes me feel happy and fulfilled at work?
  • What type of work do I enjoy?
  • What behaviours do I expect to see from my line manager/team mates/employer?
  • How do I like to be managed – or manage others?
  • What sort of environment do I like to work in?
  • What makes a great employer?
  • What type of culture do I thrive in?
  • What values do I admire most in a company? Do they need to reflect my own?

3. What do I need from a job to achieve a work-life balance that works for me?

  • Would a full-time or part-time role suit me better? Permanent or temporary?
  • Would I prefer to work at home or in an office – or both?
  • What hours do I need to work to accommodate my personal responsibilities?
  • How far am I prepared to commute?
  • Would I be comfortable travelling for work?
  • Do I have any access requirements or special needs?

4. What career prospects am I looking for?

  • Am I ambitious – or am I happy working at my current level?
  • Is a clear career pathway important to me?
  • What promotional opportunities am I looking for?
  • Do I want to continue to learn new things and develop professionally?
  • Am I looking for training and mentoring?

5. How do I want to be rewarded?

  • What salary would I be comfortable with?
  • What benefits and perks am I looking for?
  • How much holiday do I need?
  • What other ways do I want to be recognised by my team/line manager/employer?

Once your needs and requirements are clear, you should have a much better idea of what to look for in your next role, your next team and your next employer.

When you're ready, why not browse our latest jobs and if we can help you in any way, please get in touch.

About the Author

Kate Allen is the founder and Managing Director of Oxfordshire and London-based recruitment agency Allen Associates and can be contacted at

Read Kate's bio and meet the rest of the team, here.