Getting a job is a simple set of steps. How hard can this be? Create a resume and cover letter, search for jobs, apply for jobs, interview for jobs. Voilá! Accept a job offer!
Oops. Not quite so simple. Take a step back.
The steps sound simple, but if you’ve begun taking the steps, you already know that each step opens the door to more questions and decisions. For instance:
- How will you know what skills and interests to list on your resume or job application?
- How do you decide which jobs to apply for?
- How do you come across well on interviews?
- What if you get into the job and it’s not at all what you like?
You will probably have many jobs in your life. A job is just one piece of your larger career.
If you want to find a job that leads to a fulfilling career, it’s important to create a career and job search plan that works for you. Your plan starts in one surprising place: knowing yourself.
The key to getting a job? Knowing yourself
People like to say that they just “fell into” their dream job or that they were in the right place at the right time. But in my experience, luck has very little to do with it.
What does have a lot to do with it is having the ability to articulate your strengths, stay nimble, and jump when opportunity comes calling.
When you know yourself, you’re able to:
- Be open to and take advantage of opportunities
- Introduce yourself to helpful people who can guide you based on your strengths and interests
- Put yourself in settings where you can be successful
In other words, your best superpower in a job search is self-awareness.
Knowing yourself creates a unique process to follow for all your future job considerations. It’s a tool that will prepare you for making decisions about careers—even ones that don’t yet exist.
Why self-awareness? Because when you understand yourself, you can:
- Position yourself: Let’s say you find a job that sounds interesting. To get that job, you need to be able to tell an employer why you stand out, why the job is a fit, and why you’re perfect for their company culture. You can’t do that without first understanding your strengths, values, and skills.
- Find satisfying jobs: When you know yourself, you’ll have a better understanding of what sorts of jobs will bring you personal and financial rewards, and you can avoid mismatched jobs and unfulfilling work.
- Develop your career: This isn’t solely about getting a job right now. By knowing yourself, you’ll have a unique process that you can follow for all of your jobs in the future. This is a lifelong tool that will prepare you for making decisions about careers—even those that don’t yet exist.
3 essential (and surprising) steps to getting a job
You’re still new at being an adult! You’re still in the process of becoming who you were meant to be so increasing your self-awareness is a process.
Here’s how you can foster greater self-awareness and kick off a successful job search.
1. Identify your strengths and values
When I was eight years old, I watched the butchers at the grocery store use some sort of tool to seal meat packages. They would pull the clear plastic around the meat, flip it a couple of times, seal the package with an ironing tool and toss it into the bin. I thought the tool was so cool.
Does that mean I wanted to be a butcher? Of course not! But it showed me that I’m naturally curious about how things work, and that gave me a greater understanding of myself.
Many young adults have had a similar experience. Just because you like playing with LEGOs doesn’t mean you should pursue a career as an architect.
This is why it’s so important to understand your strengths, skills, and values. As a career guide, I help young adults look for targeted jobs, careers, and fields based on their goals and natural strengths.
By understanding what you’re good at and what you want from a career, you can apply for jobs that match up with your interests and vision for your life.
2. Understand your trifecta
This is where your personal trifecta comes into play. You want to look into jobs that will:
- match the skills you bring to the table
- be fulfilling
- meet your financial needs and goals
This might mean pursuing a different path than you initially envisioned, but it’s the best way to secure a job that supports your long-term goals.
3. Start setting goals with benchmarks
Start with a goal. For example, if you want to try out a specialty within a career, you may look for a paid internship or an entry-level position to get a feel for the work.
But say you already know what path you want to take within a career, AND know a company where you want to work. Then, you would look for opportunities to network and connect with people related to that company.
The bottom line
Getting a job isn’t as simple as writing a resume and applying for jobs. To find the right job, you need to know yourself. That means understanding your strengths, identifying what would make a fulfilling career for you, and setting goals to achieve that type of career.
Is it time to start making decisions about your future? Get in touch now for a free 20-minute introductory call to see if we’re a match.