Whether you're in pursuit of your first job or you have 20 years of experience under your belt, a smart job search requires much more than whipping up a resume or filling out an application. Randomly applying to jobs or companies without understanding what you truly want can lead to major disappointment when you’re unable to articulate your motivation in the interview, or even worse, could lead you to a job that makes you miserable or unsuccessful.
Before you pursue your next career opportunity, follow these four steps to focus your search on the types of roles that are most likely to make you successful and happy.
Step 1: Evaluate your motivators
If you’re currently employed, ask yourself, “What do I like and dislike about my job? Why I am looking to leave?” Maybe you love what you do but feel stifled with lack of growth. More specifically, maybe you’re looking to avoid sales quotas. Identifying your motivating factors will help you search for professions that inspire you and avoid jobs which will make you feel like you’re in the same old rut.
If you’re new to the workforce, ask yourself questions such as, “What subjects in school inspired me? What activities do I enjoy?” If you were the treasurer for an organization and loved keeping the books and dealing with numbers, a job that involves number crunching and attention to detail could be right up your alley.
Step 2: Do some soul searching
If you’re a call center professional, it’s natural to think that you should be applying to other call center jobs because that’s where your experience lies. But if your main reason for looking is that you don’t like being on the phone, it’s unlikely that you’ll enjoy the same role at another company. Instead, think about the aspects of your job that do you enjoy and look for roles that would allow you to transfer your skills and do more of what you love.
Maye you’ve come to the realization that your dream job is something you’re not yet qualified to do. Take a look at what those requirements are. Additional education or getting a job with similar skills that will give you the experience you need could take time, but it could lead to the right career path for you.
Step 3: Do your research
Don’t apply to positions based solely on the job title or company name. Read the job description thoroughly and make sure the core functions of the role align with what you enjoy. Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com provide current and prior employee feedback on many roles and companies. Sifting through that information may help you gain a better understanding of what the job entails, what the company culture is like, and whether either of those feel right for you.
Step 4: Be realistic
Very few people can say they love every aspect of their job. There are bound to be some parts of every role that can be annoying or tedious. The trick is to understand what those are, how often they’ll happen, and whether or not you’re equipped to cope with them. For example, no one likes getting yelled at by customers, but challenging customers are a part of nearly any customer facing role. Be honest with yourself in deciding if that’s something you can cope with or if it will make you want to quit on week three.
Finding a job you enjoy doesn’t have to be a wild goose chase. Do your research. Be honest with yourself about what you want and what you’re good at, and you’ll set yourself on a path for career success and fulfillment.