Looking for a job you love can be a bit like dating. In order for the relationship to work, both parties need to be upfront with one another about their expectations and see if their goals align. That can be a difficult task though if you don’t know what you want to get out of the relationship. How do you find a job that you can fall in love with if you don’t know where to start your search? We’ve compiled some best practices that will help guide you towards the job of your dreams.
What's your type?
One of the most important things you can do in your journey to finding a job you love is to figure out what’s important to you, and how your job can help make that possible. Some people prioritize work-life balance and others find importance in having a supporting team. The list of items will vary for each individual, but it’s important that you create your list of must-haves for your job search because this will guide you to figure out which roles are your best fit.
We’ve all heard the saying that ‘the key to a successful career is finding your passion’. However, in a Forbes article, Tom McDermott, Founder and Chief Officer at Ignite, explains that passion is only part of the equation, as it’s equally imperative that you find something you’re curious about. For example, someone could be profoundly curious about how houses are built, but not be good with their hands. If during their job search they don’t question what part of building houses truly drives that curiosity in them, then they may find themselves working in construction, when they actually want to explore a career in architecture. Asking yourself probing questions can help you figure out what you're really curious about, and whether or not that passion will help you find success. Not sure about what your passion is? A great way to understand what you love to do is to observe what you tend to do on a Sunday afternoon. This is when the majority of people fill their free time with activities they choose to be doing. If you can find a job that integrates elements of things you already love to do, you will most likely love that job in return.
When Your Needs Met Prospective Jobs
Once you have an idea as to what you want, the next step is to align those needs with a prospective job. Explore what your ideal work environment is and find a job that is able to compliment that need. When looking for prospective jobs, look further than just the job title. Research the company and see what they stand for. Do you align with their company’s mission and do they represent a culture you want to be a part of? If you can’t find this information online then come to the interview prepared with questions to ask that will help you determine if this job is the right fit for you. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you, so make sure that they are asking you the right questions to get a well-rounded sense of your personality and work style. You may not find a job that fulfills every single one of the needs on your list, but this practice will make your job search easier and ensure that whatever job you go with is from a shortlist of great fits for you.
Look for more than what's on the surface.
When searching for jobs sometimes our vanity can take over. People find themselves gravitating to job openings at well-known companies with high salaries, and making whatever resume changes they need to fit into that role. If you continue to chase opportunities based on only superficial qualities, you will find yourself in a loveless job. When searching for a new job, you need to shift your focus away from salary and uncover other opportunities that can help you further your career. A position at a startup may pay a little less, but it provides a higher level of exposure to new business ventures that will help to grow your skill set. Each job has its benefits, so it’s important that during your search you’re looking to uncover all of the benefits that are offered and not get sidetracked by the surface level ones.
Think about your ex (don't worry, this won't take long.).
Looking back and reflecting on your past professional experiences is an excellent way to help you determine what you like and don’t like in your job. This reflection can be related to the requirements of your specific role and even expand to the business overall. Completing this step during your job search will help you build out an accurate view of what you want for your next role, and stop you from following a career path that isn’t for you. For example, many people arrive at a point in their jobs where they’ve grown their skill set and therefore outgrown their current role. It doesn’t mean that everyone’s next step is the same though. After reflecting on past professional experiences, you may find that you didn’t enjoy leading a team and prefer to be an individual contributor. Use this insight to guide your future career path and find out what the best role for you will be.
Confide in the ones you love.
Your friends and family are a great resource when it comes to self-discovery. They know you well and can offer deep insights that you may have overlooked when it comes to your professional career. Seeking out the opinions of trusted advisors is a great leadership skill, as it helps you to manage blind spots you may have within your own career, and even yourself. Many of us have imposter syndrome and because we don't know how good we are, we sell ourselves short. Sometimes friends, family, and even trusted co-workers can help us view our strengths in a way that opens up more opportunities. When meeting with these advisors, ask them questions about your strengths, weaknesses, and even what jobs they think you’d be great at. Their answers may surprise you and lead you on a different path than the one you envisioned for yourself.
The final rose
There are countless benefits behind finding a job that you love, such as an increase in productivity, and it can even lead to a higher level of success in the future. The main reason that you should put in the work to find a job you love though is for you to be happy. Happiness brings benefits to both your personal and professional life. It lowers stress hormones and can improve overall immune systems, and professionally, starting from a state of happiness leads to greater productivity.
It’s important to keep evaluating your current job and determine what truly matters to you. We all change over time and that may make us come out of alignment with our jobs. Find a job that you love, and everything else will fall into place.