How to start looking for a job?

You can do a lot to get closer to your career goals after university, or even before. You can be successful if you know what counts as success for you.

You can do a lot to get closer to your career goals after university or even before. Getting a degree is just one of many possible building blocks for success. Moreover, success is a subjective concept: it means something different to everyone. You can be successful if you know what success means to you. If you know what is important to you and what are your preferences, you will be satisfied with your achievements. In life-course planning, you can make a proper plan by understanding the opportunities ahead that you will face and assessing the consequences.

First step: clarifying the important questions within yourself

Even with careful planning and timely preparation, a commitment to a profession can cause a lot of anxiety. This situation is also known as a quarter-life crisis, and most of the graduates face it when they leave the university. It can be easier to get through this period if the difficulties -, that come with it – don’t catch you unexpectedly.

The path to a job is complex, it is a multi-stage learning process. Everyone will have different, specific aspects, priorities, and motivations when it comes to job search, but we all follow more or less the same steps in the process. 

Take time to prepare: get to know yourself, your starting positions, your expectations, your goals, and your vision. Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses!


Where can you search?

Once you have clarified all of these things, you can start looking for job advertisements. You can find open job applications in several places. In addition to online sources (e.g., advertisements, newsletters, job portals, job search aggregators, social networking sites, employers’ websites), you can also find out about job opportunities from specialized service providers (e.g., higher education career offices or agencies, school cooperatives and associations, counseling companies and programs, job center, youth information offices, municipalities, employment agencies).

To find out more, you should also visit career-related events (e.g., professional days, job fairs), because in many cases you may also meet experts (e.g., CV counseling, pilot interviews, questionnaires, coaching training, presentations).

The so-called hidden job opportunities that are not advertised can be found primarily through your circle of acquaintances, professional forums or from the employer’s website. Taking into account the job experience, the majority of the employees have found work through hidden job opportunities, the ratio of hidden-open job opportunities is approximately 80-20%.


Think about these before submitting your application

Before submitting your application, find out what the employer expects from potential candidates. These may be more or less strict conditions, but they may also be non-mandatory elements that are an advantage in the selection process.

Think through the tasks about the position, what competencies are required to fulfil them. Consider what your employer can offer you. Find out the technical details (e.g., method of application, the form of documents to be submitted, deadline). Find about your potential prospective employer (employer’s website, circle of acquaintances, thematic platforms).

Consider which advertised position is in harmony with your expectations and your skills so well that you consider it worthy to apply. When preparing your application package, keep your prospective employer’s point of view in mind.  

Take into account the industry, the sector and the size of the company you are applying for. As you may encounter different selection methods depending on the industry, the sector, or the size of the company.

Think about whether you are proud of your application material: would you hire yourself if you were the employer, based on the documents you have prepared? As long as the answer is no, do not send your application.

You can apply for more than one place at the same time, but keep in mind that if you are applying for more than one job, you also can apply effectively with materials specifically prepared for a job.

After submitting the application

Upon receipt, your application package will be considered on the basis of a preliminary set of criteria based on the job responsibilities, profile and organizational culture of the company.

Before you are called for an interview, you may also be contacted by phone to check some aspects more accurately (e.g., language skills). The interview itself may consist of several sessions, depending on the employer and the position, and may be supplemented by additional selection methods (e.g., professional tests, competency questionnaire, assessment center), as the employer aims is to obtain as much  reliable information and impressions as possible about the candidates.

As the successful interviews draw to a close, the salary requirements and options are discussed and then the contract is discussed as well. You can also prepare for this by studying the relevant legislation.

In the job interview, ask when you will be notified of the decision!  If you haven’t been notified within the agreed deadline, take the initiative, call the company, and find the interviewer. If you were not chosen, take the opportunity to ask in which areas you did less than expected.

Looking for a job is a job in itself, and at the beginning, you develop a great enthusiasm: you believe that you will soon find a job that will challenge you and be interesting. However, rejections and negative experiences can quickly dampen enthusiasm. Be prepared for your job search to drag on, taking 2-3 months on average.

However, you can also gather useful experiences with rejections and negative experiences, from which you can take advantage of new applications. If you fail at first, do not give up, you can learn from every single time and soon your time will come!


What else should you consider before accepting a job? 

In the workplace, you usually start with a trial period that protects you and the employer as well. The integration process (organizational socialization) will begin, during which you learn the stated and hidden rules of the organization and can integrate into the employee community.

Your work environment will be an extremely important part of your everyday life, it can affect your mood and your satisfaction with your work. You will only meet the working environment up close for the first time after you’ve started work. It is worth collecting information on this topic as well, – as far as possible – (e.g., during the job interview), to prepare for what can you expect if you get a job.

Think about how important it is for you to have access cards, a modern-designed metal-glass office building with access cards and new, fast working tools! The easiest place to satisfy such desires is in multinational companies. However, expect that there is a highly regulated life at professional and comfortable desks. Multinational companies have lots of internal policies: dress code, coffee breaks, confidentiality, use of the elevator, etc. You may need to follow a clear desk policy or wear a long-sleeved shirt in the summer.

In small and medium-sized enterprises, you can find relatively well-equipped offices hidden in romantic tenement houses in Pest. The mood there is mostly determined by the personality of the boss.  Everything from internal communication through workflows to customer management and administration will be shaped by the manager’s vision and personality. In the first place, you need to make sure whether the head of the company and her/his ideas are sympathetic to you or not.

Public servants and those who work in schools can expect the worst office conditions on average – with exceptions in all sectors, of course – although fortunately there are fewer and fewer old, eye-wrecking monitors and rattling PCs. In general, work organization has been characterized by methods that have been proven for decades. Even though this sector has attracted a relatively large number of young people, those who are in it are often forced to cope with the fixed attitudes and methods in the system. Dominant mentality, organizational dynamics are often different from the trend of the 21st century.

There are also differences in working hours. It is fashionable today to work long hours, check emails at midnight, and even sacrifice weekends at the altar of work- usually without compensation. While this was special in the past and most common to multinational companies, today it is also common to small and medium-sized enterprises. In fact, it is also starting to infiltrate the public sector, but here we can usually still relax after working hours.

There is a difference between small and medium-sized businesses, and multinational companies in the overwork. Because when it comes to the small and medium-sized businesses, all colleagues fight together for the survival of the company, because they know, if they fail, everyone will be on the street.  At the multinational companies, there is no such direct link between the work and the global survival of the firm in Hungary, so the overwork of the employee is a personal struggle to stay and rise.


The career planning process will not end with integration or with the end of the probationary period. It is important to pay attention to finding your place, challenges, motivation, development opportunities later in your work too. If you cannot find the abovementioned challenges, you should be able to detect the signs in time and take actions just like looking for job expansion, job change, further training or even new projects