Too often, we approach the job hunt from a place of desperation. After all, you need a paycheck and insurance. It’s best to take the first offer you can get, right?
Wrong! Not if you want to grow a rewarding career, anyway. If your goal is to find a job that aligns with your values and plays to your strengths, try this simple hack.
The Career Hack
- Get out a sheet of paper and draw a horizontal line. Now draw a vertical line through the middle. You should have four boxes.
- Label the upper left box with “3 things I like to do at work” and the upper right box with “3 things I don’t like to do at work.”
- Label the lower left box with “3 most important must-haves for my next job” and the lower right box with “3 dealbreakers that would make me leave my next job.”
- Now, fill out the grid! Use bullet points or short sentences—no one is going to see this but you, after all. Take some time to really think about the answers and be honest with yourself. If the work you don’t like to do makes up the bulk of a particular job description, then that isn’t going to be a good fit for you. It’s better to be aware of that now than three months into your new job.
How to Use the Grid
The boxes above the horizontal line are all about you and the ideal career that you’d like to have. Look at what you’ve written and think about how the work you like (and dislike) could translate into an actual job title. Make a list of those job titles—these will be your keywords when you start searching for work online and pinging your network about possible jobs.
The boxes below the line have to do with the company that’ll be the best fit for you. This has to do with company culture—something that many job searchers ignore in their race to secure a paycheck as soon as possible. If the culture isn’t in line with your needs and values, you’ll probably find yourself looking for a new job within a year or less.
As you move forward with your job hunt, keep this exercise in mind. It will keep your priorities straight and help guide you to your perfect career. Good luck and happy hunting!