Most people know what they don’t want, but the same can’t always be said for knowing what one does want. The top five reasons why employees leave their jobs are all related to things they don’t want or don’t like such as: low pay, lack of career advancement opportunities, feeling disrespected at work, childcare issues, and lack of flexibility. These, amongst a plethora of other reasons, are the motivators that drive people to search for a new job. The problem in this approach is that when job seekers are solely motivated by what they don’t want in a job, then they fail to identify what they actually do want and thus find themselves in a cycle of job hopping that results in a myriad of unwanted experiences. However, a slight shift in focus could turn the tide of the job search in your favor.
Figure out what you like about your current job before searching for a new one. So, you have identified what you don’t like about your current job, but don’t stop there. Dig a little deeper. Write down as many things that you can think of that you do like about your current job. Then tailor your job search towards roles that entail tasks, responsibilities, and a workplace culture that you like.
Reflect on what you liked about previous jobs. Before you start editing your resume, highlight job tasks and responsibilities that you liked from your previous roles. Ask yourself if there is anything that you miss about a previous role and if it is, then take note of that and prioritize it in your job search. As you reflect on what you like about your current job and what you liked about previous jobs, you’ll begin to identify what you actually enjoy doing in the workplace.
Find the missing piece. The next step is to research roles that fill in the gaps. What do you want to get out of a job that you aren’t receiving in your current role and haven’t received in previous roles? This is where the importance of asking the right questions comes into play. The interview is not just for the hiring manager to identify if you’re a good fit for the job, it’s also an opportunity for you to identify if the job is a good fit for you. The interview is a critical time for you to identify if the role you’re interviewing for will fill in those gaps that other jobs didn’t. During the interview you should ask questions related to your missing piece. If workplace culture was missing for you in previous roles then ask clarifying questions to identify if the workplace culture at this new role will be a good fit. If higher pay, advancement opportunities, creative freedom, or flexibility was your missing piece, then ask clarifying questions to fill in the gaps. In order to avoid repeating past mistakes, you must change your approach so that you don’t find yourself in the same job with a different title.
Identify and honor your non-negotiables. It is understood that in an imperfect world we may not always receive what we want. Unfortunately, because we have this understanding many of us tend to settle for the first or safest opportunity that is offered to us before we actually consider if it’ll be a good fit. A practical solution for determining if a job will be a good fit even if it doesn’t check off all of your boxes, is identifying your non-negotiables. When searching for a new job it is important to advocate for yourself and prioritize your needs. Know what you can tolerate and don’t compromise on your non-negotiables. Don’t be afraid to say no to something if you know it’s really not a good fit for you. The right job will align with your personal needs and values without you having to compromise. It’s okay to be willing to compromise on some things, but negotiating your non-negotiables isn’t compromising, it’s settling.
Job seeking can feel intimidating when your search is aimless, but intentionality is the gift that gives your search purpose. Many people prioritize their experience over their desires when it should be the other way around. Although constructing your resume by tailoring relevant experience and skill sets in order to present yourself as a good fit for the role is important, the first step should be to identify what you actually want. Knowing exactly what you want and tailoring your actions towards what you desire will prevent you from repeating past mistakes and help you find a role that will actually improve aspects of your life.
This article was written by Infini Kimbrough
Infini Kimbrough is a writer and eclectic artist who draws inspiration from a wealth of sources. When she’s not writing she’s at AMC theaters with a large bucket of popcorn, catching up on the latest Marvel premiere.