Things to consider when looking for a job

Before looking for a job, you need to have an idea of what you’re looking for.  Any job you consider applying for should be fulfilling, able to support you financially and fit into your lifestyle.  Once you’ve discovered what you’re looking for, it’s then a matter of knowing where to look for a job that suits you.  There are several aspects of a job you need to consider before you even start looking.  These aspects can affect your lifestyle in a way that can either align or misalign with your values.

Location

Much like real estate, one of the first things you need to consider when looking for a job is the location of the office.  Some of the things you may need to address include:

  • Is there suitable public transport readily available?
  • How long it will take to commute?
  • Do you have to pay for parking?
  • Is it close to other places you normally visit?
  • Can you work from home?
  • Does the office need modifications to accommodate any relevant disabilities?

Salary

When searching for a job, it’s important to know how much money you need to earn in order to cover all of your expenses, which can be achieved by creating a budget.  Another thing that needs to be considered is the market rate for the type of job you are searching for.  There are several websites that provide information about the market rates in different areas of the country, such as Seek and Hays (you may be required to sign up to view some of these).  Alternatively, you can run a Google search to get the salary for a particular job.

The market rate for the job you are looking for should be greater than the total of your expenses.  If this is not the case, you need to either consider reducing your expenses, changing the type of job you are looking for, or consider working more than one job.  If you don’t do this, you may end up in financial trouble in the future.

Employee Perks

A secondary consideration is what type of employee benefits does a potential employer offer.  Some employers may offer benefits, such as:

  • Subsidised health insurance
  • Ability to purchase extra annual leave
  • Salary sacrificing
  • Staff discounts
  • Employee Assistance Programs (counselling)
  • Penalty rates

Registered charities and non-profit organisation may also have access to more generous salary sacrifice arrangements through Fringe Benefits Tax exemptions.  Public service jobs (local, state and federal) also generally have a good level of employee benefits, such as an annual leave purchase schemes and employee assistance programs.

The Employee Benefits Concept Page has information about the different types of employee perks that may be available, and provides examples of how they can be used.

Workplace Culture

The culture of a workplace boils down to how people behave.  Signs of a workplace with a good culture include:

  • High employee morale (happy employees)
  • Excellent communications
  • Support for employees when they are having trouble (either personal or work-related issues)
  • A high level of drive and energy
  • Employees will speak well of their employer
  • Low level of staff turnover
  • A high level of organisation, where everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing

On the contrary, some things you should avoid in a workplace culture include:

  • Low employee morale
  • Bullying, harassment and intimidation
  • Low levels of energy and motivation
  • Employees speaking badly of their employer
  • High levels of employee turnover

It’s important to work for a company that aligns with your values, otherwise you may experience higher levels of stress and lower levels of fulfilment.  While you can ask questions about company culture in a job interview, you can do some research beforehand using the company’s web site, and workplace review websites like Glassdoor.

Field of Work

The field of work boils down to a few different things.  Firstly, is the industry you’d like to work in.  Some examples include:

  • Education
  • Government
  • Retail
  • Legal
  • Service
  • Health
  • Charity

Next, is the job you’d like to be doing.  This will be based on what skills you have, and should align with your values and Ikigai.  Some examples include:

  • Driver
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter
  • Retail Sales
  • Accountant
  • Cleaner

Hours of Work

There are three main types of employee when it comes to the regular hours worked each week:

Full Time

This type of employee works between 36 and 40 hours per week, usually to a regular schedule during business hours.  Some workers might do shift work, which while has a higher level of pay can be more taxing on the body.  Shift workers usually work overnight and/or on weekends, and may have a roster that changes over time.  Full time employees usually get leave entitlements, unless they are contractors.

Part Time

Part time employees work less than 36 hours per week, and may have rostering arrangements similar to a full-time employee.  Part time employees will usually get a fraction of leave entitlements compared to a full-time employee based on the number of hours they work, unless they are contractors.

Casual

Casual employees are a bit like part-time employees, however they receive a higher hourly rate instead of leave entitlements.  Casual workers generally do not have a set roster, and their hours may vary from week-to-week.

On Call

In addition to working regular hours, some employees, especially in the support and health industries, may be required to be on call overnight and/or over the weekend.  This means that they will be “on standby” in case something happens, and will go to work if needed to.  When an employee is on call, they usually receive an on-call allowance plus they will be paid for work they do when they are called upon while on call (often with penalty rates).

Type of Employee

There are four main types of employee, with each having different conditions of employment.

Permanent

Permanent employees have the most stable type of employment.  These employees are employed on an ongoing basis, with no specific end date.  Permanent employees usually have full leave entitlements, depending on the “Hours of Work” category they fall into above.

Temporary

Temporary employees are employed for a specific task over a set period of time.  Unless a temporary employee is granted an extension at the end of their employment period, they will have to find another job.  Often, the recruitment process for temporary employees is less formal than that of permanent employees.  Temporary employees will have similar entitlements to permanent employees.

Contractor

Contractors are a hybrid of temporary employees working full or part time, and casual employees.  While contractors do not have leave entitlements, they receive a higher hourly rate for the work they do.  Like temporary employees, contractors are employed for a specific task over a set period of time, and will have a set number of hours they work each week.  Contractors are generally employed because of a specific skillset they have, such as Project Management.

Casual

Casual employees are a lot like contractors, except they might not be employed for a specific timeframe or have regular hours.  Like a contractor, they do not receive leave entitlements but will receive a higher hourly rate.

Conclusion

Once you’ve got a better idea of type of job you’d like to apply for, and the structure of employment, you can start searching for jobs via job search websites or agencies.  If you’ve found a company that you’d really like to work for, you could also approach them directly to see if they have any jobs that haven’t been advertised yet.