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Sometimes in a job application form, it asks you for the reason of leaving the previous company, and if the reason is to look for a bigger challenge, would it be

  • Seeking a bigger challenge
  • Seeking for a bigger challenge
  • Searching for a bigger challenge

The phrase "Seeking for a bigger challenge" sounds more right and more comfortable to the ears, but maybe seek shouldn't usually be used with a preposition? Google search showed about 11,000 results for "Seeking a bigger challenge" (with the quotes), vs 3,600 results for "Seeking for a bigger challenge" so the first one seems to be more correct according to collective intelligence. Is it more correct to use "Seeking a bigger challenge"?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You want to use "seeking X" of "searching for X". "Seeking for X" is rarely used, except in constructions like "He has been seeking for a dozen years", where "for a dozen years" is a prepositional phrase modifying how he has been seeking, and not what he is looking for.

By contrast you must always use "searching for X" because "searching X" means you are looking at/inside X to find something.

This ngram shows that "seeking a" is more common than "seeking for a", and this Corpus of Contemporary American English search can show you the context in which "seeking for" occurs.

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Whoa, I wish I could upvote more than once. I always have trouble with phrases where some preposition is allowed but totally changes the meaning. – SF. Oct 11 '12 at 19:20

Seeking a bigger challenge.

That's the way you want to word it on a job application. "Seeking for" and "searching for" both connote, to me at least, a much greater search -- for true love, enlightenment, etc.

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so you mean if it is "I have been seeking for true love for years", then it is quite correct? – 太極者無極而生 Jun 23 '13 at 23:51
@動靜能量, I'd say "I have been searching for true love for years." "Seeking for" seems slightly out-dated to me. Have a look at Mr. Shiny's answer, where he talks about "seeking for." – JAM Jun 25 '13 at 2:06

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