1. Plan – Have one. You might think this was a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people drift into a job just because it’s there and stay just because it’s easier than looking for something they would actually enjoy doing. So, put your thinking cap on, sharpen your pencil, polish your resume and put the word out to your pals. It’s a lot easier to get where you want to go with a plan, a little help and some directions. Make your list, choose your goals and plot your path. This isn’t going to be written in stone (or blood), so you can (and should) stray from or adjust the plan when you review it periodically. To get started, there are three questions you need to answer: What do you want to do? What already qualifies you to do it? What else do you need to become qualified to do it? If you need help with this step, check with your local college, public library or look online for help.
To get you started, a wealth of information may be found at: http://www.khake.com/page51.html
2. Passions – This might be the most important consideration of all. Do you care about the job you would be doing and/or the industry in which you would be working? Even if you’re looking for your first real job, give this one some thought. If you think football is stupid, you probably won’t be happy as a sportscaster. And, if you’re a vegan, it’s likely you’ll be unhappy working at a slaughterhouse. If you’re going to spend at least a third of your life pursuing something, shouldn’t you really (really) care about it? If you can’t work up a pretty good level of enthusiasm, you might want to ask yourself, is this really the job for me or should I keep looking? Some questions to ask yourself: What are you good at? What are your hobbies? What do you do that makes you lose track of time? What types of things do you read? Discover the things you care about before you set out on your career path.
Websites to help you discover your particular passions:
(Three of the four tests are free)
(The test is free but you must first provide personal information and click to skip 5-6 ads and decline special offers throughout the test and in reading the results.)
3. Personality – Is the job going to be compatible with yours? Will it be personally fulfilling in some way or is it just going to be a way to pay off the mortgage and put food on the table? This is related to the passion you might feel for your job, but it’s also about your unique, individual needs – the ones that transcend the basics. Make sure you examine yours carefully – What do you need to feel a daily sense of accomplishment? Would you rather build or demolish? Do you need to be around people or do you prefer the company of animals? Do you like to draw on the walls or line up your pencils by color, sharpness and size? If you don’t feel as if your needs are being met, even if you’re not quire sure what they are, you’ll not only hate your job, you’ll end up hating yourself and, often, your co-workers, friends and family. You can succeed at a job you hate, but will it be worth the cost to your peace of mind and the other elements of your life?http://similarminds.com
Check, too, with your local college for career assessment tests, which are usually free of charge and assess your personality, traits, values, interest, attributes, skills and educational level. They then interpret the test results and provide a list of jobs that are a good match for you, along with recommendations for training and further educational resources.
4. People – We all know some. Talk to them, text them, email them, leave them voice mail messages. Stop short of stalking them because a restraining order won’t help you, but don’t be bashful. Find a way to work your job search into conversations without becoming a bore. Ask your people to not only keep their eyes and ears open, but to open their mouths and tell people they know about what an asset you would be to their company (without asking them to lie). Who knows how many job openings are beyond reach for the general public because they’re snapped up by a friend of a cousin’s sister-in-law’s grandfather, who happens to be a Dream Jobs R Us company president? Employers are, as a rule, much more comfortable hiring someone they feel they already know, like and respect based on the word of someone they do already know, like and respect. And remember, too, you may be in a position to help a friend find their dream job someday. Some people call this networking. That term combines three simple concepts – 1.) Don’t burn bridges, 2.) Do unto others and 3.) To have friends, be one. If you’re a decent human being and a good friend, people will almost always return the favor.
You’re almost ready, but you’re not done yet.
Pondering the Possible Positions:
5. Progress – If you’re like most people, you’ll probably like to feel as if you’re making some. Will this job help you or hold you back? You’ll need to know what your goals are, of course, before you can assess whether or not you’re meeting them (but you’ve addressed this already in your Plan). Even with a lateral move, there may be something the job offers in the way of progress. Be open minded. Will you be able to learn something new along the way to further develop your career? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a step up or a step down, as long as it offers a chance to move forward in some way.
6. Potential – Is there not only the possibility, but the probability of promotions or lateral moves to keep the job fresh and challenging? Is the only promotion available a geographical move to an upstairs office? Are the filing cabinet drawers the only things that have moved laterally in the last 30 years? What kind of reputation does the company have in the community? Will future employers be eager to have you or will your resume accidentally get sucked into the shredder?
7. Perks – More and more companies are offering more creative and unusual benefits in order to attract quality employees. Does the company you’re considering have any and what are they? A generous retirement package? Multiple types of insurance? Daycare facilities? Discounts at the corner candy store? Flex time? Nap time? Time off for good behavior? When you know what’s important to you (which you now do thanks to all the assessment tests you’ve taken) you’ll know what to look for.
8. Pay – Obviously, you need to be able to pay for the basics. Beyond the basics, examine what you need to be happy in life. Maybe a library card and a bus pass is more than enough for you, but maybe the vacation mansion in Florida and private school for your six children make up your list of “must-haves.”
http://www.payscale.com/ This website will calculate average salary for your occupation based on detailed information you provide
For more general information, go to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/home.htm (Wages, Earnings & Benefits)
9. Place – Corner office with a view? Around the corner? In a corner of your living room? Where is it, and where do you want to be? Will looking at a brick wall all day make you want to beat your head on it, or will a beautiful view be too distracting to get any work done at all? Will a two- hour commute cut into family time and make you cranky? Or will you appreciate the “me” time to listen to books on tape or entertain yourself with all the stupid things other drivers do while they’re supposedly driving? www.findyourspot.com Take a short quiz and this website will figure out (geographically) where you’d be happiest.
10. Pride/Prestige – Let’s face it, there are jobs that are perfect in every way but one; we’re embarrassed to admit we do them. Yes, you can call a garbage collector a sanitation engineer, but that really only fools your mother. How important is it that people admire and aspire to your position? Only you can answer that question. You may be take pride in a job well done, no matter what it is. In that case, the prestige rating would be your least important consideration. But if lawyer jokes really bother you, or if you want to be an astronaut just to impress women, check out this article: http://www.usatoday.com/educate/college/careers/Hot/5-24-05.htm
11. Principles – This isn’t always easy to assess, but you’ll want to do your best to avoid working for an Enron if you can. Does the company have high moral and ethical standards? Are they well respected in the business community and in your neighborhood? Ask questions. Check their website. Google them. How do they generally treat their customers, employees and stockholders individually and in comparison to one another? Is there a disgruntled employee website with a membership that’s growing faster than their profit margin? Have they made the “Worst Companies to Work For” List? Private sector or non-profit, make sure the company not only has a mission statement, but that they routinely and consistently live up to it. If the company promotes animal torture, and casually destroys the environment in the name of progress, and these things make you cringe in horror, this company might not be right for you.
12. Purpose – Last, but not least. Will your job have one? Will you know what it is and will it coincide with the one you have for your life? From farmer to spinner to zoologist to artist, we all have our own path to pursue to personal happiness and job perfection and getting there should be part of the fun. By keeping the “P” factors in mind, and using the additional resources, I hope this helps you discover not only “what color your parachute” is, but how to pull the cord before you hit the ground. Good luck and please feel free keep me posted about your perfectly amazing new job!
What Color is Your Parachute 2008 – A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters & Career Changers; Richard Nelson Bolles
The Elements of Resume Style; Scott Bennett
Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters: 400 Unconventional Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Landing Your Dream Job; Jay Conrad Levinson, David E. Perry
The 250 Job Interview Questions You’ll Most Likely Be Asked….and the Answers that Will Get You Hired; Peter Veruki & Peter Venki
201 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview; John Kador