Although Valentine’s Day has come and gone, there are many people out there still looking for love…in all the wrong places – and this includes where they are trying to build a career.
The fact is, whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’re looking to move on from your current position, finding the right job can be confusing and stressful. And while many will tell you to “follow your passion,” having some structure around finding a job can make a significant difference between finding a job you simply tolerate and one you absolutely love.
There are so many different factors that go into each job offer. From benefits to responsibilities, to career advancement opportunities and industry focus areas, there’s a lot to consider. To make things even more complicated, research suggests that people are remarkably bad at predicting how they will feel when doing something in the future. It’s actually common to find someone who started out thinking they would love their chosen profession, only to wind up disliking it. It truly is a challenge to know what you want to be, if you haven’t actually worked in the role…and it is rare to find someone who’s job has turned out exactly as they planned.
While there is no perfect solution, below are five tips to help you down the path toward job satisfaction.
- Know Your Priorities – Everyone has a different set of priorities, based on where they are in their career. Some focus on compensation while others are inspired by acquiring new skills and experience. As you evaluate jobs, make a list of your criteria (ranked most important to least). Think hard about about what truly motivates you and weigh that against your options.
- Map Your Personality Traits to the Job – One of the single most important aspects of a job is personality alignment. Take an honest look at the types of things you enjoy doing and align those to the role you are evaluating. Most every job calls for a set of skills unique to that particular role. For example, if you are evaluating a finance role, hopefully you enjoy numbers, you’re organized and are detailed-oriented. Or, if you are thinking of a sales and marketing role, you should ideally be a creative writer, while finding comfort in social, fast-paced environments. Taking time to identify the personality traits that best map to the job being evaluated will be well worth your while.
- Get to Know the Company Culture – If you are going to invest a lot of hours into working for a company, take a close look at the company culture. Consider the types of employees working there, the nature of the work environment (casual or corporate), flexibility (e.g. work from home, vacation options, etc.) and – most importantly – values. Your comfort level with the company culture will make a significant impact on your ability to thrive. And if the company values do not align with your own personal values, think twice.
- Evaluate for Long-term Satisfaction – Searching for the right job takes a lot of time, so in making your decision, think carefully about the type of career path you can expect from taking a position at a prospective company. Does the company focus on employee growth and development? Are there promotion opportunities? Is the company in a high-growth industry? These are all questions you should ask yourself, if job hopping is not your thing.
- Take your Time – Relationship experts will tell you to avoid rushing into a union of any type without thinking things through. The same holds true when exploring a relationship with a new company. Think carefully about what you want out of it. Reflect on what truly makes you happy and ask yourself questions that will help get you there. What topics do you enjoy talking about with friends? If you could have someone else’s job for a day, what would it be (and would it be similar to the one you are considering)? You would be amazed at what a little soul searching can do to crystallize a career decision.
Finding the right company fit can emulate the same feelings many may have experienced this past Valentine’s day: excitement, joy and intrigue with regard to what lies ahead. Don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to such an important decision. Consider the points above and not only will you find yourself potentially in love with the role, but feeling really lucky…just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.