If you’ve been on the job hunt for a while, it can be tempting to take whatever you can get. Unfortunately, many times this simply leads to individuals realizing a specific job “isn’t for them” and quitting – leaving them right back where they started. So, rather than just diving into your next job opportunity without much thought, take a moment and ask yourself:
“What do I really want?”
To answer this question, you’ll need to assess three aspects of yourself: your skills, your interests, and your values.
Your first step when looking for a new job is to look inward, rather than looking at what’s available. Simply put: If you’re not right for the job, you’re not going to last long in the position (through no fault of your own). So, let’s look at what you need to know about yourself before you hand in your next application.
Step #1: Identify Your Professional Skills
Perhaps the most obvious, you need to have an objective understanding of your skills and abilities.
First, assess your technical skills. These are the skills that will help you land the specific and specialized position you’ve been eyeing for some time. Here’s where you need to truly be honest with yourself; if you really aren’t qualified for the job, you’re going to be overlooked without a second thought.
(Note: This isn’t to say that you can’t learn the necessary skills to get noticed. You definitely can – but you might need to put your job search on hold while you attend courses or workshops to do so.)
After that, assess your soft skills. These skills – such as teamwork, diligence, and leadership – are the ones that make you stand out from a crowd. Think back to your past when you may have utilized these skills, and how you could strengthen them moving forward.
Step #2: Explore Your Interests
Taking all of the above into consideration:
Just because you’re good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re interested in doing it for a living. On the other hand, passion doesn’t pay the bills; if you’re not good at something, it doesn’t matter how much it interests you – you probably won’t get very far with it career-wise.
The trick, then, is to determine how to find a “happy-medium” in which your interests at least somewhat align with your skills – enough so that you’re able to grow professionally while not boring yourself to death.
As a rather simple example, perhaps you’re truly passionate about sports – but you definitely aren’t an athlete. However, you do have a knack for writing. In mixing your passions with your skills, you realize you definitely could have a career in sports journalism.
Obviously, this is just one example of many. In truth, the possibilities are endless – it’s up to you to figure out what’s best for you.
Step #3: Evaluate Your Values
One last thing to consider is, ultimately, one of the most important aspects to think of: Your values. Ask yourself what your mission in life is, and what you hope to accomplish through your professional career. All jobs affect the world in one way or another – so how do you want to do it? This will not only help you determine the job or career that’s right for you, but it will also help you figure out whether a specific company or organization aligns with your overall purpose.
Once you’ve figured out what you’re able to do, and what you’re interested in doing, you’ll be ready to think about what you were born to do.
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