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What's the best job for me?

Career Exploration The Hiring Process The Local Job Market Success on the Job

Question:

How do I decide what’s the best job for me?

Answer:

That’s a big question, and a great one!

So many job seekers start their search either unfocused or in panic mode: they’ll take anything, so long as they can get it right away. Ironically, this leads them to appear desperate, which is a great way to put employers off. It’s great that you’re trying to discover what job is best for you, and not just plowing blindly ahead.

The first step is to know yourself. Of course you already know yourself, but think of it now in terms of the professional you. For instance, among your skills may be expertise in cake decorating; but do you want to do that for a living, all day every day? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But if not, don’t list it on your résumé, save it for a hobby.

Create a list of what you must have in your job. For starters:

  • How far are you willing to commute?
  • Are you working around someone else’s schedule (child, spouse, etc.)?
  • What’s the least amount of money you can accept?
  • What skills do you want to use? What skills do you want to avoid using (even if you’re very good at them)?
  • What benefits do you need (e.g., health insurance, time off, paid training)?
  • What kind of environment (physical and social) do you need?
  • What kind of supervision motivates you to do your best work?
  • Are you able/willing to relocate for the perfect job?

Once you have that settled, you’ll need to learn about the job market.

  • What companies do the kind of work you’re interested in?
  • Where are those companies located?
  • Whom do you know at those companies? (Remember your social networking contacts as well as the friends from real life.)
  • Do those folks like their jobs? Do they think you’d enjoy working there?
  • Which of those companies offer the things on your list above?

This is just a start. You’ll want to personalize all this information, but that won’t be hard as you continue to think about it.

You may want to attend the FCWS seminar, “Career  Assessment.” This is online testing, with an instructor, that will give you information about your aptitudes, interests and values. (It can also be emailed to you to take at your convenience; ask at the Resource Desk.) The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator will also be helpful; it’s given monthly at the Business and Employment Center. You can get more information about it online as well.

The best way to find out about companies is to network. Start out by talking to your friends and family; then get them to introduce you to others who do what you think you want to do. You’ll get an accurate picture of how various companies do their work, and which ones would be good fits for you. You can also attend the “You Want to Work Where?” seminar offered by FCWS.

Congratulations on your decision to put some time into this important decision. It will serve you well.