When Thinking About Your Next Job

If you want your next job to in fact just be, ‘a job’, stand in front of a job board; whether online or in some employment centre and pick one off the wall.

If on the other hand you want your next job to be rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful and bring you happiness each day, don’t start your search using a job board. Here are some of the best things you can do to increase the odds you’ll find work that is the right fit for you at this point in your life:

  1. Assess where you are. Young and just embarking on the search for your first job, in your prime and looking to maximize your earnings or are you nearing retirement and looking for a job where you can finish with a flourish or wind down in grace? What you want, need and are qualified for largely is determined with this initial assessment.
  2. Assess your skills, interests, abilities and qualifications. Ask yourself, “What do I want to do that I am qualified to do?” Listing these four categories and then plotting in the information under each heading will—if you do it honestly—give you a solid inventory of your commodities. As for honesty, don’t do this exercise unless you commit to being honest with yourself.
  3. Know your preferences. Big corporation, non-profit, self-employment, cozy environment, start-up or virtual office—what kind of working environment works best for you on a daily basis? Do you relish conversations with co-workers throughout the day or are you more productive and focused when you work in relative isolation? Your personality and general favouritism for being an introvert or extrovert might reveal a decided preference for your environment. Then again, you may have a social consciousness or environmental mindset that would be nice to see replicated in your future workspace.
  4. Commute. Get out a map and plot your geographic limitations. Are you looking for a job on a bus line within 15 kilometres of your home or are you mobile to the point where you’ll pick up and move across the country or beyond for the right job? Factor in family ties, schools for your children, the love of your life, your hopes to see the world over the next 4 years etc. and arrive at what you’re comfortable with in terms of the physical distance you’ll travel to and from work.
  5. Know your motivators. What’s important to you? Money? Experience? Animal welfare? Poverty reduction? Global warming? Land acquisition? Buying a home? Moving out of your parents’ home? Your children? Knowing what motivates you can help you identify what your next job and the income you derive from it will allow you to do or what you could acquire. If you find yourself happiest in your personal hobbies, is there some way you could turn that hobby into full-time employment and get paid?
  6. Give time its due. Time doesn’t stop just because you’re undecided and confused. If you take time off to see the world, add to the family, find yourself, care for someone or just pause from the world of work, Time itself keeps moving. You’ll find your widening gap of unemployment unattractive to employers the longer it becomes, as it moves further away from what they value: routine, responsibility, work ethic and of course any skills get out-of-date as do your references.
  7. Network. Many people have an incredibly difficult time networking because they stick with what and who they know—avoiding with deliberate action introducing themselves to people they don’t—people who can have profound impacts on their future lives. When you speak with and listen to people you don’t know, you have with each exchange an opportunity to learn something and maybe have your interest peaked which can lead you to have the desire to learn more about that subject on your own.
  8. Experiment. With every job you do you’ll pick up what you like and dislike. Whether it’s the style of supervision, an office vs. a factory floor, indoors vs. outdoors or even business vs. business casual clothing, you’ll develop a personal bias for what works best for you. This information can help you determine what you want more of or want to avoid in future jobs.

As you search for your next job, invest some time in researching the company, its employees and most importantly ensure you have a really good grasp on what you would actually do in the job you are applying to. Too often I’ve watched people take jobs they are genuinely excited about and in a very short period of time they lament that the job didn’t come as advertised. This was the case just recently when a young person I know traveled 3000 kilometres to take on a job and she returned less than 2 months later disillusioned and disappointed that it wasn’t at all in reality what she thought it would be.

So you see there’s a lot more to think about in terms of finding the right job than you might have previously thought. Oh and honestly, there are more factors than these to think of which could be of greater significance to some job hunters. My point is, you can hardly expect to find a meaningful job if you just walk up to a job board and pluck down a job posting and announce, “This is the one.”      

Written By Kelly Mitchell

When Thinking About Your Next Job was originally published @ Employment Counselling with Kelly Mitchell and has been syndicated with permission.

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