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A Step-by-Step Guide To Finding The Right Job

The great thing about the 1970’s book: What Color is your Parachute? was that it freed job seekers up to examine their options. For a great many talented employees, some of whom had never even thought that a job could be meaningful before that, work was only a four-letter word.

Today, we’re more comfortable with the idea of letting our imagination take wing – to actually do what resonates for a living.

However, understanding that it’s possible and transforming the concept into reality  – well, those are two completely different things.

What about you? Are you doing what you want to be doing?

If not, how can you find out what that is?

Better yet, how on earth can you make the jump from whatever it is you’re scouring the job listings for, now – if you’re not excited about the possibility of finding that job –to your dream job?

Whether or not you’ve ever read a single book on helping you do what you love for a living, when you snag that (almost) perfect job, you’ll know it in a heartbeat.

How Will I Know The Job Title That’s For Me?

Really, it’s not necessary to know what to call what you’ll be doing.  Not yet, anyway.  That comes with time, when you’re a seasoned expert and you want to delve into other realms within your chosen field.

What do I mean? When a career feels “right”, even an entry level spot is light years away from the job you are just going through the motions in.

And your ideal job may be a combination of different job listings!

OK, I’m Psyched. What Do I Do?

Start by making a decision to stop whiling away the time. Make time work for you, instead. How? By working towards utilizing the skill sets you enjoy using – the ones you’ve trained for AND the ones that come naturally – and by doing a little brain tapping to find out which vocation makes you feel happiest.

And even if it’s only PART of a job that makes you feel most fulfilled, jot down that skill set.

Then Google it. Read up on it.  And, most important, make a list of the jobs that use that ability.   Put the internet to work for you!

“But I Went to School for Nine Years Taking Irrelevant Courses!” 

Aha, my friend, there’s the rub. Not ALL of what you studied was irrelevant or not enjoyable or you would likely not have completed the courses.  Pick apart what you LIKED about those courses.

Nine times out of ten, we tend to go to school to study subjects that interest us, and for which we have a passion. If that wasn’t the case with you, read on:

“But I only want to make money,” you might be thinking. “To take care of myself and of my family.”  That’s perfectly natural and laudatory, but rather than settle down in a cubicle for a nine-to-five job doing so, if getting a job as a forest-ranger-in training would make you look forward to getting up in the morning, why not focus on the latter?  You’ll be a happier camper all around (which will make your family happier) …and you’ll make good money doing something you love.

“I may not be any good at it!” might be your next concern.  No worries.

If you’re doing something that resonates in your soul, your superiors and associates will soon reap the rewards of your dedication, and of your contributions, as you roll up your sleeves and become a terrific team member.

“Sounds good,” you’re saying.  “But that’s all pie-in-the-sky.  How am I going to switch from my clerical job to a forest-ranger-in-training, and is there such a thing?”

We understand your frustration.  Now let us ask you a question. How do you tackle any important goal?  You think it through and approach it step by step.

The Steps You Need To Take

We’re not saying you will snag a forest-ranger job right away, so don’t quit your day job, as they say.  However, keeping the idea foremost in your mind is the first step.

Next, consider doing the following:

  1. In your quest to stay true to your ideal job situation, gather empirical evidence.  Make sure the job is for you.  How?  Perform a hands-on assignment by a) volunteering at your ideal job site; being of free assistance to a person who is doing exactly what you’re considering doing for a living; or b) in the case of a real job opening, if you have any actual experience under your belt – even if it’s only remotely connected —  ask the employer to take you on as an unpaid employee for a week. Can’t afford that much time without a paying gig?   See if you can set it up for a few days.
  2. Have you ever considered taking one of those five-minute career quizzes? They’re right on target, for the most part. Google : Career Quiz, Free, and go to town – take as  many as you can call up. There’s nothing like learning what floats your boat.
  3. Did you get three different answers as to your ideal job? Weave together what appeals about those three answers. For instance, were you told you’d do well as a teacher, a computer tech and an aid to the elderly?  Think outside the box. Search the job listings for a job as a teacher of basic computer skills in assisted living facilities. Play around with how you can combine the different jobs so you’re doing a more generalized job (which is always in demand) in a more specific field.
  4. It might be worth your while to scout around for a competent, inspiring vocational counselor or career coach.  Search your local university’s job boards or place an ad in your community paper (as there aren’t many career counselors who advertise; they get clients through referrals).
  5. When you do find a few jobs you really want to interview for, make sure you do your due diligence on the company. Online forums are fantastic tools for job hunters; you’ll learn more about a company’s culture by reading reviews from folks who work there than you will by sifting through the info on the company’s site.  DO, however, check out the business’ website. It’ll give you an in-depth look at everything from who the company’s investors are to what the CEO’s mission is;

A good hiring manager is zealous about answering a potential employee’s questions. Bring a list of questions and don’t be afraid to whip out a pad and pen, to start taking notes.  You’ll be glad you did when you’re reviewing the topics you covered, later on, as you’re trying to decide whether to work there or not. Also, the fact that you’re taking such an interest in the company will go over well.

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