Top 10 tips on what to consider when applying for a job


Looking for your first career job can be daunting and a tricky journey to navigate.  The job description might seem like the perfect fit, but there is so much more to consider when applying for a job.

As you embark on your career journey, it’s crucial to approach job applications strategically. From culture to career progression and from location to company values, these are all things to consider when finding the right company for you.  

Here are my top 10 tips on what to consider when applying for a job:


Company culture:

A company’s culture comprises the values, beliefs and behaviours that shape the work environment. Are you looking for a place that’s very corporate and global or alternatively independent and more informal?  Understanding what you want is a great starting point when it comes to researching the company – from reading its mission statement to employee reviews on platforms like Glassdoor and observing how the company presents itself on social media. During interviews, ask about team-building activities, communication styles and decision-making processes. Remember, finding the right cultural fit can significantly impact your job satisfaction and performance.


Growth opportunities:

Not everybody wants to climb to the top of the career ladder, but most of us are keen to find opportunities to progress, so it’s important to consider companies that invest in their employees’ development. This includes formal training programmes, tuition reimbursement for further education, mentorship programmes and clear career progression paths. During interviews, ask about how the company supports employee growth and examples of internal promotions. 


Job responsibilities:

Thoroughly analyse the job description and ask for clarification on any vague points during interviews. Understanding the job role fully will help you decide if it’s a perfect match for your skills and career goals. It’s also important to know how your performance will be measured and what success looks like in the position.


Salary and benefits:

While salary is important, don’t overlook other benefits. Health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, parental leave and professional development budgets can significantly enhance your overall compensation. Also consider CSR policies and opportunities to volunteer in the local community. 


Location and commute:

The mantra for buying a house is location, location, location.  The same applies to your job.  How many times are you expected to be in the office every week and how easy is the commute, as well as the cost of travel? A long or stressful and expensive commute can negatively impact your work-life balance and job satisfaction. If remote work is an option, clarify the company’s policies and expectations around it.


Industry trends:

Research the industry’s growth projections, technological advancements and potential challenges. This will help you understand the long-term viability of your career path and identify skills you may need to develop to stay competitive.


Company stability:

Investigate the company’s financial health by looking at how long it has been established, annual reports, news articles and industry analyses. An established and stable company can offer more job security and resources for employee development.


Work-life balance:

We spend most of our time at work, so understanding the company’s expectations regarding work hours, overtime and availability outside of work is a must. There are not many jobs that are 9-5 these days, so you need to make sure that the company’s expectations align with your personal life and long term career goals.  Don’t be afraid to ask about flexible working practices in your interview.


Team spirit:

Try to meet potential team members during the interview process. Ask about team size, structure and collaboration methods. Understanding the team dynamics and your potential manager’s leadership style can help you assess if you’ll thrive in the environment.


Skills development:

One thing that is a certain in life, is that change is inevitable. Nothing stands still and neither are the skills you need to develop your career and remain relevant in this fast paced changing world.  When considering what company to join, consider how the role will help you build both technical and soft skills. Look for opportunities to work on diverse projects, learn new technologies and develop transferable skills like communication, problem solving and leadership. These skills will be valuable throughout your career, even if you change roles or industries.

Ultimately, no job will be perfect but by prioritising what’s most important to you at this stage of your career and by using these considerations you should be able to make an informed decision.

Considered applying for a role at Zonal?  You can find our latest job roles here.

And if you liked this blog then you might also like to read our top tips on what to do next after leaving education.

If you are interested in a career at Zonal please click here.

Picture of Catriona Dick

Catriona Dick

Head of Human Resources