If I asked you to describe your ideal car. . . assuming no limits. . . how would you describe it? Most people can describe their ideal car in great detail-from the make, model, features, and color, to any accessories to how it would feel to be behind the wheel. When I ask people to describe their ideal job, however, most people are far less clear. They may describe one or two attributes, like how much it pays, and/or the job title. That’s it. If you were shopping for your ideal car, it would be easy to find because you could eliminate the thousands of cars that weren’t a fit. You would focus exclusively on dealerships that offered the car that ‘fit’ you. It’s the same with finding your ideal job. . . if you can’t describe it, you won’t find it. It’s as simple as that.
Finding your Ideal Job requires a unique job search strategy. Focus and clarity are the first, and MOST IMPORTANT, pieces of this job search strategy. And, in my 15 years of experience (as an HR Manager, Hiring Manager, and Career Coach), most people get stuck here. The fact is, a clearly focused job search is much more successful than a broad one. Having a clear plan for the job you are after will result in a job weeks to months sooner than casting a ‘broad net’.
Yet, many people still fear that by being clear and focused they are excluding themselves from other possibilities. The “but" I hear on a regular basis is “I don’t want to limit myself". However, by being general and ‘open’ you create a problem for hiring managers: They Don’t Know What You Want From Them and They Don’t Know How They Could Use You!
And, as a result, you create a problem for yourself: you don’t get interviews and you don’t get hired! As a job seeker, your ‘job’ is not to ‘find work’. Your job is to make it easy for work to find you! The easier you make it for a hiring manager to hire you, the better things will go. It’s that simple. Hiring managers are busy. If you make their job easy in the interview process, they’ll want you—yesterday!
As I’ve emphasized, the first step is to get clear. Get clear on what you want, what you won’t live with out (non-negotiables), and what you bring to the table. You must also get clear of your self-limiting beliefs, thoughts, and actions. Let’s start with 20 questions to get you clear on what your ideal job looks like.
WORK CONTENT: Describe work that excites, engages, and inspires you
1. What is the nature of your work?
2. What kinds of people, products, or services are you involved with?
3. What knowledge, skills, and experiences are you using regularly on the job?
4. In what ways are you growing, learning new knowledge, skills or abilities as a professional in your field?
5. What percentage of your work is new, challenging, energizing versus routine, boring, or “old hat"?
WORK RELATIONSHIPS: Describe the kinds of work relationships that motivate you, stretch you and bring out your best
6. What kinds of customers or clients do you serve?
7. What do you do in addition to serving customers or clients?
8. What is the leadership style of your direct boss?
9. What kinds of leadership or management activities are you involved in?
10. What type of co-workers are you working with? A team? Are you autonomous? Interdependent? Job sharing?
WORK ENVIRONMENT: Describe those work settings where you see yourself motivated, satisfied and performing at your best
11. What are the working days and hours?
12. Where are you working? Office, home, on the road, offsite, etc. . .
13. How are you learning and training for your position?
14. What is the career progression you see for yourself?
15. What is the overall mood or tone of the workplace?
REWARDS & RECOGNITION: Describe what makes you feel valued, keeps you contributing and confident
16. What income are you earning?
17. What kind of pay plan are you on? Salary? Hourly? Commission? Combination? Bonus?
18. How will you know when you are successful? How will success be measured?
19. What are you recognized for?
20. What other benefits (financial and non-financial) are you receiving? i. e. , Vacation, holidays, discounts, services, etc.
Bottom line: take the time to be singularly focused and clear in your job search. You can run two (maybe three, but it’s a stretch) simultaneous job searches. You’ll need to do some of the exercises in “The Ultimate Guide to Landing Your Ideal Job" twice and prepare a job search campaign for each type of job. But if you really are equally interested in two different fields or types of positions, then create a clear and focused plan for both, rather than diluting both by trying to combine them into a general search.
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© 2006, Shawn Driscoll, Succeed Coaching & Development. This article is provided courtesy of Shawn Driscoll, Career Success Coach and owner of www.succeedcoaching.com. Professionals: upgrade your work life today! We provide products and services to help you succeed at work, in business and in life. Sign up to receive your free Success Wise ezine—and get success tips, inspiration, and resources to skyrocket your success—at www.succeedcoaching.com.
Career Success Coach Shawn Driscoll, of Succeed Coaching & Development is a certified coach, speaker and the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Landing Your Ideal Job". As an expert on career transition and the art of reinventing yourself she can teach you how to take control of your career and create your ideal work-life. To learn more about her classes and programs and to get your FREE Career Accelerator Toolkit, visit http://www.succeedcoaching.com