For many people, simply finding a job can seem impossible. There’s the long, hard search, the application process, and the nerve-wrecking rounds of interviews. And after all that, there’s the fun that negotiating your salary and, well, actually working entails. And between all the stress that comes with finding a job, taking the time to make sure you find a job that you’ll love and enjoy can fall by the wayside.
It’s important to note that being able to prioritize enjoyment when it comes to finding a job is a massive privilege for most people, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. By keeping a few main things in mind during the job hunt, you may be able to land a job that you’re that much more likely to keep for the long-run. Plus, the benefits to your mental health are endless. If you’re currently on the hunt for a job (or you might be in the near future), consider these tips from experts on how to find a job you’ll love.
Continuously take stock of your current job & ask yourself key questions.
Before you do anything else, career expert at Monster.com Vicki Salemi, says to take stock of your current employment situation and assess everything. This is how you’ll know what you’re happy with, what you’re not, and what to change.
“You can ask yourself and continuously take stock of your job situation because it may alter for the better (or sometimes the worse) at any time,” Salemi tells. “Do I feel engaged, do I enjoy what I’m doing? Do I enjoy who I work with and the company I work for and what they stand for? Do I feel respected and feel valued, recognized?” Salemi suggests. “Am I provided with the ability to not only do my job, but have the ability to grow and learn new skills? Am I paid fairly? You may love your job, but if you’re underpaid — despite loving your job — there are potentially better jobs out there that you both love and get paid well to do.”
Ask yourself how you find meaning in work.
The bottom line for many people in terms of work satisfaction is whether or not they are fulfilled by their job on a daily basis. This can mean a lot of different things to different people, but experts like Heather Monahan, an entrepreneur and the author of Boss In Heels, say it really just comes down to a few main ideas.
“I will never forget a conversation that I had with an editor on my old team,” Monahan tells Woman’s Day. “She told me that she felt she didn’t have any meaning or purpose in her work. When we dug into the specifics, she revealed that while she loved editing and felt alive and in flow when she did it, she didn’t relate to the types of proposals and decks she was creating for advertisers.That was a lightbulb moment for her, and she realized she wanted to create decks and sales materials that involved charity work and helping others. That simple realization allowed us to pull her into those kinds of projects, and suddenly she felt she had much more meaning in her work.”
Monahan’s advice? Assess your own day-to-day job. “To apply this to your own career, take a look at the work that you are doing. Do you derive purpose and meaning from it?” Monahan says. “ Is there a way to pivot the work to make it more meaningful? Or is it time to find a new type of work all together?”
Be specific about what skills you need for your dream job.
The first step to finding a job you’ll love is knowing what your ultimate dream job is. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and get that exact job, but you should think about the aspects of that dream job that make it so appealing to you. What specific things do you want to be doing? What skills do you need to do those things?
Andif you don’t have a ton of experience in the field you’re interested in, don’t panic. According to CareerBuilder’s Chief People Officer Michelle Armer, employers are interested in a variety of skills. “While you may not be able to figure out every skill required before stepping into a role, focusing on building some of your core skills is a great place to start,” Armer says. “Take into account that your soft skills may carry more weight than your technical skills. In fact, a CareerBuilder survey showed that 80% of hiring managers said soft skills are equally or more important than hard skills when hiring candidates, and the top skills they are looking for include the ability to be team-oriented, attention to detail, and customer service.”
Read job descriptions thoroughly.
Do you typically see a job title that looks promising and immediately want to take the job? Consider doing a little more research next time and thoroughly read the job description before accepting the role. Knowing as much as you possibly can about the proposed position will help you avoid being in a situation down the road that you weren’t expecting when it comes to your responsibilities or work environment.
Armer recommends not only carefully reading the job description for the job you’re interested in, but also checking out job postings for similar roles to see what skills are required across the field as a whole. It will also give you a good idea of what duties you’ll be expected to carry out.
“Job posts usually include a list of required skills, so use that as a reference point,” Armer says.
Look at the office when you go in for an interview.
If you do manage to land an interview at your dream job, make sure you take a good, hard look around the office. You might learn more than you think about company culture — something that can greatly affect job satisfaction.
“When you go in for an interview, take a look around the office. Are employees showing a sense of personality at their desks with pictures and decorations, or is everything black and white? Are workers engaging in conversation with one another, or is everyone sitting in silence with headphones?” Rhiannon Staples, CMO of HR Management software company Hibob, says. “These signs can indicate how comfortable employees feel expressing themselves, and can also shed light on employees’ interpersonal relationships.”
Check out the company on social media
Go to the company’s social media platforms and check things out. Are they active and engaging? Or non-existent?
“What types of photos or articles is the organization posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram?” Staples says. “Are executives creating content about the culture or company achievements, or are they uninvolved? While social media can’t tell you everything, it’s a good place to conduct preliminary research, and a place Hibob found that 19% of candidates will look.”
Talk to former & current employees.
The best way to gauge what a company is really, truly like is to talk to people who have worked there or are currently working there. To be as happy as possible in any given role, you want to know what to expect, and doing your research through former employees is a great way to make sure that’s possible.
Staples suggests using sites like Glassdoor to get honest opinions of the company, or talking to the person who referred you for the role. “You’ll be more likely to get an unfiltered opinion if you ask outside of the formal interview environment,” she says.
Attend networking events regularly.
The best way to find out about exciting career opportunities is to spend time around people who are doing the jobs you want to do. Enter: Networking! Even just one networking event a month could be the difference between finding your dream opportunity or not — especially if, as Staples suggests, you’re doing it thoughtfully.
“Work on crystallizing exactly what you want from your next role so you can communicate it clearly during the networking process,” Staples says. “If you can explain what you’re looking for directly and succinctly, it will help your connections point you in the right direction or give you sound advice as you embark on your job search journey.”
Never hesitate to apply to a job you think you might like.
Although reading a job description thoroughly is important, it’s also important to not hesitate if you think it might be a job you love. Remember, applying for a job is not accepting a job, so why not take a chance?
“Apply to jobs as soon as you see them online! Don’t hesitate,” Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster.com says. “I’m a former corporate recruiter and can attest to pulling job ads as soon as an offer was accepted by the candidate, so you can’t assume a job you see online that’s absolutely perfect will be there tomorrow or even over the weekend. Make it a priority to carve a few minutes to apply the same day you see it.”
Insert keywords into your resume
When you’re building your resume, sprinkling in strategic keywords throughout can be the difference between an employer noticing your resume and skipping right past it. This concept might seem complicated, but the practice is actually fairly simple, Salemi explains.
“This is a simple hack to find the job you love,” Salemi says. “For instance, if you’re a recruiter looking for a new job, you may want to use a few different words on your resume like recruiter, recruiting, talent acquisition.” This is crucial because when companies are looking to fill roles, they search through their resume database using similar key terms to find the perfect candidate, Salemi explains. Some companies will even look through their database of resumes for potential candidates when new jobs open up — and before they’ve even posted the job online — and you don’t want to miss out on any potential future opportunities.