You may be a student, employee, or entrepreneur, but regardless of your current position, you most likely want to work in a job that you truly enjoy. Getting bored of your occupation, workplace, or co-workers is commonplace in the modern workplace - studies show that nearly 87 percent of all professional employees are disengaged at their current job. There are countless job positions and listings out there, so where do you start? How do you know what you want? Do you just apply to a bunch and hopefully end up liking one you get accepted to? The next How To: Backlight article is exactly that - how to know what you want in a career and how you’re going to get there.
1. Write down your core values.
To some extent, every person has their own core values that they swear by as soon as open their eyes in the morning all the way up until they fall asleep at night. You may not realize it, but there’s certainly some type of consistency in the habits you form, in the hobbies you enjoy, and the work that you do. Even the way you sweep up a floor can reveal your core values.
Knowing what you truly desire and the few values you live by makes finding the right job a lot easier. For example, you may value the ability to having flexibility in your schedule and how you conduct your work. Many corporate jobs, especially finance, revolve around set schedules and not much flexibility, which is fine for some, but not for you (at least in this example). Look outside of your comfort zone or outside of the scope you had in mind - many times, start up companies offer amazing amenities and an opportunity to make a real impact, and that may be what you value.
2. Think about how you spend your free time.
One could argue that hobbies and activities outside of the workplace or classroom are the things that make us truly unique - so they should make a difference when considering a job. If you had a free day, how would you spend it? Some companies value physical activity, some value getting outside and relaxing, and some value team relationships - so consider the little amenities that you could be involved in.
Also, think about the other employees at the company. For example, if you work at an running shoe company but despise running, you’re probably not going to be happy being around runners all day. If you love snowboarding, you probably love talking about it as well - the essence is, surround yourself with people you’ll enjoy being around. You’re going to spend a lot of time working, collaborating, and being physically near them, so it should factor into how you choose your career.
3. What job would you do for free?
If money was of no object, what position would you enjoy so much that you’d do it for free? Although it may not be an actual job, there are most likely jobs out there that allow it as an extracurricular. For example, if you love to run, Apple’s new headquarter building has a running trail throughout it - employees run on their lunch breaks and off hours. If you love to nap, it’s becoming popular to have nap pods and places you can just take a break at the office.
4. Write down your vision with achievable goals.
Take a step back and look at your life at a macro scale. What do you want to be doing in the next 5 years? 10 years? If you have ambitious thoughts (which is completely healthy), think of a few major milestones necessary for you to get there. Break it down systematically - if you need to get to a certain GPA to even be considered for a job out of school, that’s your first step. If the company you want to work for has a complex working environment and atmosphere, read up on it. If you need to have specific skills to be considered for a position, figure out how to learn those skills if you don’t already have them. Every dream can be broken down into simple steps, it’s just attacking it at the right time and with the right mindset can your work bring you what you really want.
Don’t think too hard about it - this simple exercise of writing out what you really want, the steps to get there, and how you’re going to fulfill those steps, can really lead you to success. There are absolutely going to be hurdles and unexpected changes in course along the way, but you should expect that. Keep an open mind, a full heart, and a positive attitude and nothing should be able to stop you.
If there exists a job that seems like your ideal position, set a goal to get hired and work toward it. Learn everything about the position, the company, and the people working for it. Build your resume and LinkedIn profile to fit the position’s requirements. Talk to your friends and family about it. Get as many connections into the company as possible and start to build your presence there internally through your connections.
When looking for jobs online, search something you may not think of when looking in a job. Maybe you’re gung-ho for working at a startup, but are struggling to find one you really enjoy. Maybe the structure of a large company isn’t what you want, but is something you need to start your own company later on. Keep an open mind and talk to people across the spectrum of jobs - you never know what you opportunities you’ll stumble upon.
You can also narrow down your search based on your location. Similar to picking a college, you have to consider the things outside of the actual reason you’re going there - like the nightlife, surrounding culture, weather, or political climate (if these things matter to you). Whatever it is, consider every aspect of your life if you were to get the job. Would you have to relocate? Would you have to pay more taxes? Would you have to buy a heavy-duty winter jacket? Imagine your life working at this job. If it intrigues you, continue to set that goal and work toward it.
While searching for your soul (and career), you might need a resume along the way. If you’re anything like I was, you probably have no idea how to write your own resume. Check out Backlight for resume help - it’s a service that uses cutting-edge AI to optimize your resume content and custom resume templates to leave an impression on recruiters. Every other resume writing service out there is either way too expensive or doesn’t improve your content. Pick Backlight and make a lasting impact on those you want to impress.