Top 5 Tips for Your Job Search in 2016

As we ring in the New Year here at CFW Careers, we’ve been reviewing what we’ve learned from our candidates about the job market and interview process these past 12 months. From getting the most out of your recruiter experience to finding a company that meets your needs (Beer on tap? Check! Career advancement potential? Check!), we’ve compiled a short list of key lessons for your job search in 2016.

Below are our top 5 tips to know about the job search going into the New Year:

Photo by Rawpixel Ltd/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Rawpixel Ltd/iStock / Getty Images

 1.       Know how to use your recruiter.

As we noted in a blog post this summer, recruiters are an invaluable resource as you navigate the interview process. From advising on what to wear to how to prepare, your recruiter should be able to seamlessly guide you through the entire interview process. Just keep in mind: not all recruiters are created equal. Be sure your recruiter has your best interests in mind and that you aren’t just a walking commission check.

Shameless plug: At CFW Careers, we view our partnership with you as a career-long advisory. Thus, we listen to your interests and requirements, and do our best to only present you with positions that we believe you would love and excel at!

 Pro Tip: The best recruiter relationships require transparency. A deep understanding of your interests, skills, and goals will allow your recruiter to act as a trusted advisor to you, helping you to make smart decisions throughout your entire career.

Stephanie Kronenberg, Executive Recruiter

 2.       Know how to get into tech.

With the seemingly endless perks that come with working in tech, it’s no wonder that the tech industry is the hottest place to be. Just remember that there is more than just one way to join the world of free beer on tap, fully stocked kitchens, and challenging and rewarding professional growth. As we noted in October, You Don’t Have to be a Coder to Get into Tech. Indeed, sales and account management roles offer the same benefits without requiring knowledge of coding. Rather, you can tap into your people skills, applying your product and industry knowledge to challenge and forge relationships with new and existing customers. Bonus: Sales is the most direct path to the C-Suite.

Pro Tip: BDR (Business Development Representative) or SDR (Sales Development Representative) positions are an exceptional entrée, opening the door to working in tech and learning sales. An ideal BDR position will include a fair amount of mentoring, giving you the opportunity to see how a senior seller does their job. And wherever the tech sector goes in 2016, you’re gaining baseline sales experience- the quickest career path to greater earning potential and business leadership.

Cynnie King, President

3.       Know who you’re interviewing with.

Never forget that the interview process is as much an opportunity for you to vet your potential employer as it is a chance for them to vet you. As a potential employee, you should begin investigating the company before you take the initial interview. Check Glassdoor, ask your network, and do a little research to get an idea of the company’s Employer Brand. Based on what you learn through word of mouth and by way of your studies, combined with your personal experience in the interview process, you should put together a clear and specific understanding of who this company is, and whether or not you could see yourself working for them.

Pro Tip: It’s your responsibility to investigate as much about the company as you can.  This will allow you to evaluate whether it’s the right fit for you.  This may be reaching out to people you know currently employed there, reading articles featured about the company, talking to a recruiter, etc.  Taking a job has many implications, and it’s important to assess and ask the questions that matter most to you during the interview to make sure the company’s values align with your own.

Eugenia Neri, Executive Recruiter

4.       Know what you need from a mentor.

One of the biggest questions that we’ve heard time and again this year (and notably, in previous years as well) was how to get a mentor. We addressed this very topic in our May blog, Follow the Leader. After interviewing several professionals who had experience both as mentors and mentees, we learned many things. Key takeaways included: have specific goals that you want to achieve or obstacles to overcome with the help of your mentor; be flexible in your definition of a mentor—sometimes mentors aren’t above you in title, but rather individuals with different knowledge and experience that you need help acquiring; and remember that your mentor doesn’t necessarily have all of the answers—they simply share their own experience and provide a sounding board for your concerns and questions.

Pro Tip: Before talking to anyone, sit down and look through your accomplishments, strengths, and career over the past few years. Shaping your experience and setting quantifiable goals will make any conversation you have with a mentor, or potential mentor, far more valuable.

Charlie Russell, Senior Executive Recruiter


5.       Know what makes a job right for you.

When you are looking for a job (or simply debating the merits of staying in your current job), it’s important to know what you need. A good job is about more than just money (although, admittedly, that’s an important factor!). A good job is about stability, flexibility, and career growth. The things you need from your next move can, and probably will, change from what you needed from your previous position. If you are working 14 hour days, you might be ready for a job with a 40 hour work-week. If you now have a family, perhaps the 5-person start-up companies suddenly seem a little scary and you’d rather opt for a large, stable company. If you’re in an industry with a ceiling, perhaps you are looking to make a shift that allows for greater overall career growth. The bottom line is that money isn’t everything. Success should include many factors that add up to the life you want to lead.

Pro Tip: Money isn’t everything. Year after year, for over 40 years, we’ve found the number one predictor of happiness in one’s job is how much you like the people you work with.

Rachel Fagnant-Fassler, Vice President

 For career advice, or to partner with us on your career search, email us at: