Contributor: Darin Anderson, CPA

My goal for Salas O’Brien has always been that everyone would want to work here, even if we can’t practically offer every single person a position. We want to be the kind of place where opportunity abounds for everyone.

But that raises a question: what kind of a company should you WANT to work for? How do you know if it fits your goals? And how do you get the job you want, once you figure out what that is?

I’ve written this article to help people early in their careers answer these questions and decide what steps to take next, especially in this season of career fairs when graduates are making such important decisions.

Understand What You Want

The first step to getting the job you want is to have a firm grasp on what you are looking for.

It’s important to remember that this is your life and your story to create and tell. What do you want your story to be? Visualize that and act with purpose and intent.

You shouldn’t choose a job just for the money. Although money is important, the opportunity for upward mobility and skill building should take precedence. When weighing opportunities, the one with the highest short-term salary may not be the best choice if taking lower pay for now comes with more long-term opportunities.

It’s also important to spend some time reflecting on your values, your preferred work environment and the type of work that will keep you engaged.

Understand the Company and the Position

After you have a solid understanding of what you want, evaluate the company and the position against your short- and long-term considerations. Some helpful things to ask or investigate include:

  • Is professional growth prevalent in the company? What opportunities for growth would be available to you?
  • How do the company’s purpose, mission, vision, and values align with your personal values?
  • What is the turnover of the staff? Why do people leave? Glassdoor and LinkedIn can provide a wealth of information.
  • What’s the environment like? Does it fit your preferred environment? Does it excite or scare you?
  • Did you like the people you’ve met from the company?
  • How will the company help you build your skills and what skills will you learn? Does it have a formal training program or does it take a more informal approach?
  • What is expected of you in the first two to three years?

Another very important detail you should research is who you’ll be working with and who would be your supervisor. Take some time to read what they have shared and what others have written about them on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. Carefully consider your potential for working well with them, keeping in mind that people don’t leave jobs, they most often leave because of coworkers and supervisors.

Present Your Strengths

If the company and position align with your long-term goals, the next step is to present yourself as the best candidate for their team.

Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are a great fit and a low-risk investment, meaning they have the skills and characteristics to be successful in the role and they are likely to stick around. Companies tend to shy away from candidates who haven’t shown a long-term commitment to success and switch jobs too often. Employers don’t want to invest the time, cost, and energy to train someone only for them to leave soon after they’re prepared to tackle the job and be productive.

When submitting for the position, tailor your resume to highlight the skills that by now you should know they are looking for. To prepare for the interview, carefully craft your key messages, which should include anecdotal evidence of:

  • Your ability to work hard and be productive,
  • Your initiative,
  • The skills you highlighted in your resume, and
  • Your willingness to continue learning.

At the interview, be sure to dress appropriately, show up early, and most importantly, be genuine, relax, and do your best to connect with interviewers.

Having a strong sense of what you want and a good grasp of how that aligns with prospective companies and positions is integral to getting the job you truly want. The investment you make in reflecting and researching will pay off when it comes to positioning yourself as the best candidate.

After the interview, always follow up with a thank you note to the interviewers to leave a lasting, positive impression. Keep it brief but be sure to note specific information shared in the interview about the company and the value you’d bring to the company.

If you’d like to see if Salas O’Brien is a good fit for you, read more about us at

Darin Anderson

Darin Anderson

Darin Anderson is a catalyst for positive, sustainable, future-forward change. A passionate and inspirational leader, he has guided Salas O’Brien through an era of impressive growth to become one of North America’s leading engineering and technical services firms. Darin is well-known for creating an uplifting environment where everyone achieves their personal and professional goals. He serves Salas O’Brien as Chairman and CEO setting the pace as a model for leadership. 

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