Planning for a new job

Everybody approaches career planning differently. Depending on your personal preferences and how you prioritize a multitude of competing aspects — ranging from start date to desired pay; available hours to health benefits; company culture to commuting time — your planning and search phases may last just days or could span months or even years.

Whether you’re just beginning to consider a new job or have already begun searching open positions, there’s a lot you can do prior to turning in an application that will increase your chances of being happy and successful at work. Mapping out your intentions, knowing what your qualifications are and how they fit into the marketplace are important for establishing realistic goals and will ultimately provide the basis for how you approach applying and interviewing.

Even if you have significant experience, changing factors such as average salaries in a given industry, current unemployment rates and cost of living for your area are important considerations as you work to find a new position. Palmer Group is deeply in-tune with current employment trends and understands what factors and traits are deemed to be most important in the hiring process. Keep in mind that while most employers understand that it is nearly impossible to find the “perfect employee,” they too prioritize their hiring based on a number of factors and work with us to make sure that together, we find candidates that are most in line with their hiring vision.

So before you start your search, make sure to ask yourself what your priorities are. You may find that the answers you come up with can help you stay focused on what you — and employers — really want.

View the Iowa Salary Guide

What should you be earning? Find out with our Iowa Salary Guide. A joint project between Palmer Group and the Greater Des Moines Partnership, we’ve created our most comprehensive guide yet to bring you up-to-date insights and data for hundreds of job titles across Iowa.

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Thinking About Career Planning

It is in your best interest to know the current job market before you apply for a new job. Palmer Group specializes in matching employees and employers to create a perfect fit for both parties, and while much of this work happens behind the scenes after we get to know you, you can prepare yourself by beginning to think about what your new job in Greater Des Moines might look like. Ask yourself the following questions as you search for a position. The answers you come up with can make all the difference.

Think about the types of jobs you’ve had, your relationships with your managers and coworkers and the companies you’ve worked for. Now think of things that exist outside of your job, such as your personal life, your values and how they’ve helped shape your experience. Whether you realize it or not, just about everything you can think of has impacted you and shaped the way you approach work. There is usually a significant amount of overlap between our personal and professional lives, and it’s important to remember that when you apply for a job and work for a company, you are representing yourself as someone with unique expertise, motivations and personal qualities. Your experience belongs only to you. How you leverage it in the workplace will be noticed by those around you.
We all have things we wish we would have done differently if given another opportunity. Getting a new job or following a new career path is one of the best times to set new goals, evaluate areas of improvement or develop a new skill set. It’s also a good time to think about what you did or didn’t like about your last position, and how this could change in a new role. More importantly, it’s about how you can make those changes happen through your own actions. As you plan for your new job, it may help to think about to what degree a particular position or employer will offer what you’re looking for. When you’re ready, Palmer Group will work with you to answer your questions and find something that’s just right for you.
For many people, this is one of the most important things to consider as part of the planning process. Who you work for can impact your resume, your earning potential, your personal life and your overall happiness. There are typically eight main areas that people consider when evaluating their desire or ability to work with a potential employer: industry, experience and/or education required, immediacy of need, pay and benefits offered, distance from home, scheduling, employer reputation and company culture. Knowing how you rank these areas in importance and knowing which areas can be sacrificed for others can help expedite the search process and help you be more satisfied when you start a new job.
If you are planning to take a new job, knowing what others in your role are getting paid on average is a good metric by which to judge a job offer. It’s also an indication of what you might expect to make in the future. There are many things that employers consider when determining pay for a position, with experience being key among them. Palmer Group each year brings together comprehensive data and research on central Iowa’s salary trends in our Central Iowa Salary Guide. Reviewing the salary guide is a great place to start to find out what a person with your experience in your industry makes on average in the region, and can open your eyes to a whole new level of earning potential.
The Cost of Living Index ranks cities based on how much money is needed to live in that area compared to a national composite number of 100. Expenses such as housing, groceries, taxes and healthcare are all used to calculate this number. Comparing this number between cities can not only give you an idea of what areas are more expensive or cheaper to live in, but can also be a good way to judge if a job will pay you enough to allow you to live there comfortably. There are many good Cost of Living Calculators available for free online. If you are planning on moving to a new area, you should include this number as part of your due diligence when searching for a job.