How to Find the Job You Really Want

How to Find the Job You Really Want

“When I grow up, I want to… *crickets.*” This is one of the hardest questions to answer.  It seems like no one is working in the field they earned their degree in anymore.  Who knows how long a career in a certain field will even last?  With all the positions you’ve held, what has your career path even been?  And how do you find the job you really want?

It starts with knowing what you like.

Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the middle.  For every single position, write the things you liked in the column on the left, and write the things you did not want to keep doing in the column on the right.  Aim for two or more bullet points on each side for each position.  I recommend you focus on the job itself, although coworkers and your boss likely played a large role in your enjoyment of the position.

Now that you know what you like…

Use this list to craft your resume.  Each of your bullet points on your resume should focus on the aspects of the position that you liked.  Make sure you exclude or minimize the things you did not want to keep doing, because it won’t bring you fulfillment to keep doing them.  (You may still have to do them, but you don’t want that to be your focus.)

Is there a position open that you can think of that contains any, most, or all the aspects you liked?  Or can you find one after a quick job board search?  Great, go get it!  You know exactly what to apply for.  That was easy.

For the rest of us…

Pass your resume around, and go talk to people.

Don’t just apply for a bunch of unrelated jobs.  Remember, you know what you liked about your prior positions, so you’re aiming to find a position that’s in line with those qualities.  Keep your focus!  Every position you apply for and every interview you attend deserves your full attention, which you can’t give if you’re applying for random jobs left and right.  No one wants to hire a desperate candidate.

Feel free to work with recruiters, who will certainly have plenty of people to pass your resume along to. (I met a recruiter at my college career fair who worked with me to land my first job.)

When you pass on your resume to hiring managers, they will have a good idea of what jobs would be good for you and what positions are open.  They may be able to make recommendations for you.  (I found my second position that way.)

When you network, bring up the things you like.  Ask about positions that are opening up in your area of interest.  Talk about opportunities.  Don’t be afraid to talk to managers about their experiences and how they ended up where they are.  As you are talking to people about things that you like or want, they may have ideas for your career, or they may even be able to craft a new position just for you.  (That’s how I found my third job, which was created with my skill set in mind.)  Even if they don’t have anything specific in their area, they may be able to refer you to someone else.

You never know where you’ll end up as long as you are open to new opportunities.  Worst case, you land somewhere you aren’t happy with, and you start your search over.  It’s not the worst thing to have tried and failed.  In fact, it’s far worse to not try at all.

You’ll know you found a job you really want when…

It doesn’t feel like work.  There are almost always some aspects of a job that you won’t enjoy, but that’s why you are paid to do it.


More Career

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Know Your Worth: Negotiate Your Salary

The First 90 Days

One Reply to “How to Find the Job You Really Want”

  1. I can’t agree more with the advice to talk to managers about how they got where they are. That exact conversation got me into a new position within less than a year (and I got sent to a leadership conference!). Put those feelers out there! And yeah, there will always be aspects of your job that you don’t like, but as you point out, that’s why you’re paid for it.

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