Finding Your Job Search Direction in the New Year

Starting off the new year job search doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require some prep work. How can you start applying for jobs before knowing your brand and value in the job market? Whenever possible, clicking “apply” should actually be one of the last steps in your job search following self-assessments, targeting specific companies, researching and networking. 

Here’s how to start before pressing that button:

Assess Yourself

When you understand how your interests align with your skillset, that’s when the magic happens. If you’re still learning how to determine this intersection, use career assessments to help you understand more about your strengths and aptitudes. Resources like My Next Move Interest Profiler can be a great place to start.

My own results revealed mainly social interests, which makes sense given that I enjoy working one-on-one with military spouses and veterans on their job search, whereas my investigative (science-based) and realistic (hands-on) scores were lower because they are not my particular set of skills or interests. We encourage job seekers to create an account with us to access tools like this video that will walk you through a couple more self-assessments and how to analyze your results to help you narrow down what you want to do.

If you are already a Hire Heroes USA client, ask your Transition Specialist how you can take advantage of our network of mentors. They are excited and ready to share their own career specialties and their experiences span a range of industries and these professionals can help you develop more focus or help you brainstorm potential career paths.


Now that you’ve done some soul-searching and discovered more about your likes and dislikes, it’s time to hit the ground running with research. What are some of the key factors that are most important to your professional goals? Develop a list that describes your ideal company size, culture, salary range and locations. Some additional questions to consider: Will you work remote, hybrid or in-person? What will you need to successfully work from home or what would your commute look like? Do these roles afford the opportunity to build your network or needed skills? Is there room for professional growth? Are there any other considerations that are key for you? These details should help you to start prioritizing both the roles and the type of company you’re seeking.

Build a List of Target Companies  

When it comes to finding your ideal position, it’s important to keep an open mind. Don’t get stuck Googling only a few keywords over and over with hopes it will catch your dream job. Remember that two companies may have different job titles for the type of role you’re looking for. On the flip side, the same job title could mean different things at different companies. This is why it’s important to create a list of target companies where you can learn more about how your skills will fit into their structure. 

If you are targeting a specific geographic location, seek out local business chambers, review local business journals and connect with professional associations to learn more about the companies in the area. If you are looking for military-friendly employers, take a look at our monthly Top Jobs Newsletter and create an account for the Hire Heroes USA Job Board.

The Age-Old Buzzword: NETWORK

Once you’ve determined the type of jobs and companies you’re interested in, it’s time to network. If you haven’t created or updated your LinkedIn profile yet, I’d strongly recommend starting there. LinkedIn can be a valuable tool. According to LinkedIn, 90% of recruiters use the platform as their main tool for sourcing candidates. You want to make sure you can be found! Making LinkedIn connections will help you meet new people at the companies you are targeting. Here is a great video to walk you through building connections.

You can also join the Hire Heroes USA’s Junior Enlisted LinkedIn Group, Hire Heroes USA’s Serving Spouses LinkedIn Group and Hire Heroes USA’s Alumni Program LinkedIn Group to connect with professionals who have similar military connections.

Resident of Idaho?  

If you are living in the state of Idaho, there are employment opportunities for you with our partner organization, Mission43.  Mission43 was established in 2016 for Idaho residents and built on three pillars: employment, education and engagement to assist transitioning military and spouses back into civilian life after service.  Mission43 is the only one of its kind in the country.  Whether you are job searching, changing careers, pursuing certifications or just looking for ways to network with like-minded professionals, get connected and check out the events calendar at Mission43

Upcoming events include a hiking series, coffee hours and happy hour. 

I hope this helps you feel less lost in this big ol’ world of job searching. I take comfort in these steps now and recommend them to my clients because I, too, had a point in my career where I felt lost about where to even begin after each PCS. 

May you find your happy place to work. Good luck!

Kyla Hensley is a Transition Specialist with Hire Heroes USA’s Serving Spouses Program. If you’re interested in receiving free career support with Hire Heroes USA, click here to learn more.