What is most important when choosing a job?
1) Values – what value do you provide and what are the values of the organisation where you would like to work? There needs to be a match. Someone who is going to pay you to complete tasks and be a part of a team needs to know that you will be able to fit in and provide some sort of value from day one. You do not need to be perfect on day one. But you need to be willing to learn. To ask questions. To give things a go and get help when you need it. You need to do a reasonable amount of work in a reasonable time frame so that you are providing genuine value. You need to be grateful for the opportunity even if it is not where you ultimately would like to be, it could be the stepping stone that gets you there. Be nice to the people you meet along the way.
2) Strengths – there will be things that you are naturally good at and things you have learnt that you are also good at. When you know what these are, you have more choices. I am naturally good at accounting but dislike it. I have acquired many IT skills and I enjoy using them. When you complete a course, that is not the end of your learning. You will continue to learn on the job and ideally, you will continue studying for your entire career. It doesn’t always need to be a long course, but micro credentials that keep you up to date can be very helpful.
3) Context – think about your current personal situation and what you need to survive right now. If you have rent and bills to pay, you need to earn enough to make sure you can support yourself. If you have other commitments, you need to allow for them too. Sometimes, you will need to do a ‘job for now’ until your circumstances change and you can move closer to your goals. Sometimes you can take steps towards your future goals whilst you are doing the ‘job for now.’ Other times, you may have enough systems in place to support yourself for a period of time and you can take a bigger risk towards a bigger goal. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t take all the steps you want straight away.
There are many different ways to choose a job. Career Specialists can help you through the use of assessments to help you work out where you may have some significant strengths. There are many career quizzes and personality tests that can help you too. Don’t ever underestimate how much you have learnt by observation from those you have grown up with – friends, family members and people you have spent a lot of time with. This is why you see many children end up in similar careers to their primary care givers – but you will also see many people who are in entirely different careers too!
There are so many options nowadays. In fact, sometimes there are too many options which makes it difficult to choose the right options.
If this is what is happening to you, I recommend that you create a values-based-decision-making framework and when an option is presented to you, you can make a decision based on what is aligned with your values.
To create this values-based-decision-making framework, you need to start by writing down your non-negotiables. The must haves for any job or work. This can include minimum salary, location, work culture etc.
You can then do a brain dump of any and every idea you have ever had or considered (no filtering). List all of your past work experience, voluntary experience and crazy ideas you came up with in the shower.
You can then sleep on it.
Come back the next day and circle the items that are most appealing.
Now, you have a values-based-decision-making framework that is especially tailored for you! When an option comes along, see if it aligns with your values and then start making plans! If it doesn’t, it may be time to move on.
Please remember that the skills to get a job are different to the skills to do a job. So you may need to learn some of those too.
You may also like to find some mentors to help you network and gain referrals and keep you on track towards your goals. You may also need some extra support to keep you focused if people you know feel uncomfortable with the path/s you have chosen. I know for myself, everyone I knew just wanted me to get a full time job. I haven’t had one since I was 29 and yet I have never been out of work!
The world of work is ultimately changing and you will need to keep adapting. So even after you secure work, remember to keep your professional and personal skills up to date and you will be able to maintain a career for as long as you like. The world is your oyster and no time is ever wasted – so enjoy the process and the crazy journey along the way!
Independent LinkedIn and Career Specialist, Author, Educator, Practitioner