10 April 2015
Finding a Job That Fits

Maybe you’re unemployed. Maybe you’re just not happy with your current job. Looking for the right job means taking a long, hard look at your professional goals and values, not just grabbing the first opportunity to get a paycheck.

Even the best, most prestigious job gets to be routine after a while, and enjoying your work may be just as important as your take-home salary. So, how do you find a job that fits your personality and your goals? How do find a job that’s a good fit?

Start by defining the kind of work you enjoy. How? Consider completing an online survey or taking a class at your local community college to determine the kinds of work you’d enjoy.

We tend to enjoy work we do well, so if you have fine motor skills, you might enjoy working in electronics, or maybe watch repair – jobs working with little pieces in little places. Or, maybe you’re a “big picture” thinker. You want your ideas and opinions to matter. You want to be heard, effect change, and enjoy the satisfaction of doing a job you like, doing it well, and getting paid for it.

Start by analyzing your skill set – the things you do well – when deciding whether a job is a good fit for your professional strengths. Perform a critical self-analysis of the skills and intangibles you bring to a job. Make a list of your strongest personal assets. These are the basis for professional strengths.

Then, make a list of your professional limitations. Be honest with yourself. There are business activities at which you excel and those better left to a co-worker. Know which is which with a detailed inventory of hard-earned skills acquired on the job. Put it in writing to make it “real” and tangible – a picture of the “professional you” in list form. Click here for more ideas.

What’s the paycheck? A big paycheck isn’t the only reason to accept a job offer, but it doesn’t hurt, either. Consider your current circumstances. If bills are piling up, you may have to take the job for the paycheck, and, over time, you might be able to shape the job to suit the way you do things.

Salary matters. Paying bills matters. But, if you hate going to work every day, chances are you’ll be looking for another job sooner than later. Weigh the paycheck against your financial needs. Then decide whether the job suits you.

If possible, avoid taking a job or position you don’t want just because the future is uncertain. Better to be uncertain than stuck in a job you settled for because the bills were piling up

Company management and practices may affect your decision to take a job, or wait for a better fit. If you come from an open corporate culture and move to one with strict guidelines, daily work time sheets, and similar policies, you may not fit in, and that job may not fit you.

What practices do you look for in a prospective employer? Promoting from within? Benefits that show the business values its employees? An “open door” policy with management? 

You can pick up clues during your face-to-face interview. Ask about work procedures to see if you’d be happy working under those conditions. Or, ask for a copy of the employee handbook to review.

If the corporate culture doesn’t suit your work style, you have two choices: learn to adapt or keep looking for a better job fit.

Network like a nut. Join the local Nevada branch of the Chamber of Commerce to meet local business movers and shakers and potential employers. Online, join professional organizations to stay current. Some industry-specific job boards even list current openings within your professional specialty – one that might be perfect for you.

Join community-based service organizations. Volunteer. Do pro bono work. Get the word out, and your name, skills, and generosity may garner the attention of an employer in your service region.

Go to industry conventions, trade shows, job fairs – spread your name around to polish your “brand” and expand that list of potential employers. The more people you meet working in your employment sphere, the more options become available. It’s the Six Degrees of Separation concept. He knows her, she knows him, who knows a company looking to hire you – or someone just like you.

Build a personal website and hand out business cards with the URL in LARGE text to encourage prospective employers to visit your site to see how ambitious and creative you are.

If the job doesn’t fit, say “No, thank you.” You don’t have to take a job, and if it doesn’t feel right, turn it down – even if you aren’t offered the new position. This helps employers cull their short lists to individuals who are interested.

Going to work every day doesn’t have to be delightful, but it should be personally rewarding. It should “fit” you. If it doesn’t, just keep looking.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.


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