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Finding a job that fits
If you want to get your career off to a flying start, it's important to get a job that's 'right' for you. It's tempting to apply for anything and everything. Don't. Make sure the job's a good fit for your skills and interests to avoid the pitfalls of heading off in the wrong career direction.
Defining your ideal job
Picture your ideal job. Is it indoors or out? Do you like working closely with others or more on your own? Are you a thinker or a doer? Do you want 9 to 5 or something more flexible? What kind of money do you expect?
Make a list of likes and dislikes, things you want and don't want in a job.
Weighing up the options
It's unlikely you'll land your ideal job at the start. However making good choices can get you closer to the career you dream of. Knowing the differences between a job, a career and a calling helps.
Basically there are three kinds of work:
- A job. Work that simply allows you to earn money and pay your way no more no less
- A career. A series of jobs that take you closer, step by step, to where you really want to be long-term
- A calling. Making a difference to the world, doing the right thing, and having an impact.
Narrowing down the choices
If you just want a job to pay the bills, then you're looking for a job. Before applying ask yourself if it's that kind of role. Can you turn up, clock on and off and have no risk of work demands outside working hours?
If you want a career, ask yourself if this job will set you off on the right path. Does it offer training and development that progresses your career goals?
If it's a calling, consider if the role appeals to your wish to make a difference. The financial rewards are likely to be less but the personal satisfaction could be more.
Knowing the kind of work you're after will help you find the right job for you.
Checking out employers
Employers want to know if you're a good fit for their organisation. So it makes sense for you to ask yourself if they'll be a good fit for you.
Check out their website to find out things like what drives them, the kinds of people that work there and the nature of their work culture. Look under headings like 'our philosophy', 'our history', 'vision and mission', 'our people', 'what we do'. If there's a media centre, you could check press releases for negative and positive news.
Use your network to find people who know the company through working there or knowing someone who does. Ask them for honest feedback, good and bad.
If you need help working out if they're your kind of workplace ask someone who knows you well what they think.
The deal breaker
You've done your homework and you need to weigh up the pros and cons to decide if the really is the job for you. Ask yourself what aspects of the job will make or break the deal. Will more money make up for an organisation that doesn't seem to have a very good reputation? Does its values and goals make you happy enough to accept less money?
Finally, try saying out loud: 'Hi, I'm .... and I work at....'
How does it make you feel? Hopefully positive? Afterall you're going to be saying it a lot if you get the job.