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5 Questions to ask yourself before beginning your career search

As the Lifesciences industry in Ireland continues to flourish, career opportunities are ample. With over 8,400 new jobs to be created in the industry over the next five years, this is an opportune time for candidates to consider making their next career move (EGFSN report, 2016).  However, in a market where many leading Multinational and SME’s are competing for the same talent the recruitment process can seem daunting and challenging for candidates.

Candidates are now faced with the challenge of comparing and contrasting internal career routes with a variety of other roles available in the external market. With so much choice how can a candidate be sure they are making the right move at the right time? And that the role and company is the right fit for them?

Here are some quick questions to ask yourself before beginning your career search to help establish what you’re looking for:

1) What are my long term career aspirations?

Think about what you really want long term from your career, this may not necessarily be a direct movement up the career ladder but instead a lateral move into a new area that could lead to new and exciting opportunities for learning and development.  When considering your career goals research trends in the industry and areas of growth to establish potential career paths.

2) What opportunities are available to me in my current company? Are these in line with my long term goals?

Assess what current and upcoming opportunities are available in your current company and compare them with your long term goals, it should quickly become clear if the two are aligned. Consider both technical and people management routes and establish which would be the best option for you.

3) What is the most important factor to me (salary, career development, location, work life balance, company culture etc.)?

Consider what factors matter most to you in your next career move, are you willing to take a drop in salary to secure a role which will allow you to develop new skills, would you relocate for an increase in salary? Is work life balance a key consideration for you at this time? Divide your priorities into three categories:

Needs- Areas you can absolutely not compromise on, this may be location, salary, permanent/contract roles etc.

Wants- May represent certain benefits such as pension, bonus, healthcare or company culture and work life balance, career development etc. these are elements you would be very slow to compromise on.

Likes- Are areas you find beneficial but would be willing to swap in order to gain your wants and needs for example gym membership, education assistance programme, flexi-time etc.

By dividing your priorities into these categories you can assess new roles and consider if they will tick all of the boxes across your wants and needs sections.

4) What elements of my current role do I excel in? What areas am I keen to gain more experience in?

Map out the elements of your current role, conduct a SWOT analysis in line with your career objectives.


Strengths- What skillsets are most aligned with your long term objectives, how can you continue to develop these?

Weaknesses- What experience or training are you missing that could hinder you in securing your dream job? Are there training courses you could consider? Is there a stepping stone career move you could make that would allow you to gain these skills?

Opportunities- What opportunities are available in your current workplace? Are these in line with your objectives? What opportunities are available outside of your company?

Threats- What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for roles? Is the demand for the things you do changing? Does changing technology and trends threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?


Once complete assess your analysis and consider how you can manage any threats and weaknesses and capitalise on strengths and opportunities. Perhaps there is internal training you can avail of that will help you secure that dream job and reduce your weaknesses. Threats will highlight if your career goals are in line with market demands and what challenges you may face in your career search. While strengths will enable you to identify how you can “sell” yourself to potential employers at interview and opportunities will allow you to target your career search in a well thought out manner.

5) What am I looking for in a company culture? What environment do I perform well in?

Before approaching a company in regards to a role consider the impact of company culture on your engagement and performance in the work place. There are a few steps that can be taken in order to research a company culture to determine if it could be a potential match:

If you know someone working in the company, speak with them and learn what it is really like to work there what are the pro’s and the con’s.

Discuss the company culture with a recruiter, assess if people they have placed with this company previously have excelled internally, what has the turnover been like? Are contractors extended or made permanent? Are previous candidates enjoying their role a few months on from joining the company?

Research current employees of prospective employers on LinkedIn, what has their career growth been like, do people stay long with the company?


In summary, once you have explored the above steps you should be ready to begin your focused career search, speak with an experienced recruitment specialist in the sector and discuss your long term career aspirations, your needs, wants and likes in your next career move and the ideal company culture you are seeking. By using the above checklist along with the recruiters expertise to make an informed decision before pursuing a role you will limit any opportunity for an underwhelming job offer or unsatisfactory career move.

Author: Katie Moloney.

Katie is a Senior Talent Consultant specialising in talent acquisition for the MedTech sector. To get in touch with Katie to discuss your career click here



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