What Do I Really Want in My Next Job

Posted by Patra Frame

next jobMany people start a cleared job search by looking for the same job they currently have or that job one level up. Whether you’re deep in a job search or just thinking it’s time to start, take a look at your options.

Are you the same person you were when you took your most recent job? Do you have the same needs, interests? Or have you grown professionally? Have your life and/or work needs changed?

Job search requires curiosity to be successful. You need to decide which ‘You’ is the best you at this stage of your career and interests. Play along to help define your best current self and see what happens to your job search. Take notes as you answer these questions – that will help you incorporate into your job search what you learn/recognize.

What Values are Important to You Now?

Most people have a few core values mixed in with current values. Have you taken the time to look at what your values are and how you will use them in the job search?  Some common values are listed below as a reminder.

  • Achievement – are you seeking a place to accomplish something specific in your career or to grow your mastery of your field?
  • Adventure – looking for new challenges in the work or in a start-up or different opportunities than you have considered in the past?
  • Cooperation – do you value team work and a workplace designed to encourage people to work effectively with others?
  • Creativity – do you want to develop new processes or products, to innovate on an ongoing basis?
  • Development – whether professional or personal, are opportunities to develop yourself vital?
  • Hanging in – do current family care or health issues mean now is the time for a job you can do without too much extra effort or time demands?
  • Integrity – is it important to you to be honest, to live your values, to be in an organization that also values integrity?
  • Money – how important is economic security to you vs comfortable status vs a larger order of wealth?
  • Order – do you seek stability, organization, and established practices?
  • Power – do you want authority or influence over others?
  • Recognition – is respect for your knowledge and contributions or status important?
  • Responsibility – do you prefer to be accountable for results and seek an environment which supports accountability for all?

Now create a list of your own, What values are important to you?

Then pick your top 4-5, at most. These become a vital part of the research you do on potential employers. Do their values match or support yours? Mismatches in values are a common reason jobs go south, and you quit or lose the job.

Basic Competencies for Success

Review this list of soft skills and evaluate yourself on a scale of 1 (weak) to 5 (Highly competent.) Be smart – most people, even high performers, are ‘5s’ on only a few. If you are competent in a skill but not interested in using it, skip that one and move on.

  • ____ Customer Service – desire and ability to understand and meet customers’ needs
  • ____ Interpersonal Skills – ability to deal with diverse range of people effectively
  • ____ Planning – able to organize and plan own and other’s work to meet requirements
  • ____ Written communications – write clearly and effectively
  • ____ Oral communications – speak clearly and effectively, present well
  • ____ Listening skills – listen and understand others effectively, alert
  • ____ Initiative – self-starter, make good suggestions
  • ____ Flexibility – able to deal with change and ambiguity
  • ____ Coping skills – able to handle difficult situations or people effectively
  • ____ Commitment, motivation – long-term view of actions and interest in field/company
  • ____ Problem-solving – able to effectively assess and resolve problems
  • ____ Perception and analysis – able to identify critical elements, analyze needs or data well
  • ____ Teamwork – work well with others to achieve desired results
  • ____ Self-awareness – understand your own needs, behaviors, values, strengths and weaknesses and can use or compensate for them effectively.
  • ____ Relationship-focused – develop and maintain effective relationships with internal and external people and can mend damaged relationships with clients or customers.
  • ____ Resourceful – enlist others as needed, identifies and obtains needed resources to achieve goals.

This list also provides good reminders for writing achievement bullets for your resume. If you see yourself as a 3 – 5 rating on an area, you should include achievements that demonstrate that ability. You shouldn’t waste space stating that you’re a problem solver, for example, but do demonstrate that quality with actions and results.

Assessing Your Work Record

We have talked about values and critical skills that all employers seek. Let’s focus next on what you think about your work.

  • What do you find most exciting about your work in your current or most recent job?
  • What 5-6 specific work activities do you really love to DO in your job?
  • What 3-4 work activities would you prefer not to do in your next job?
  • How would your current boss describe you?
  • How would a peer in your career field and current job describe you?
  • What have you learned in the past year in your field and how did you learn those things?
  • Based on the scope of the work you have done, what types of jobs at what levels do you feel best qualified for?
  • As you think through your work history and achievements, you can begin to assess what and where your next step might be.
  • What jobs interest you?
  • What specific working conditions and environment is best for you?
  • What sorts of people do you want to work with? To avoid?
  • What mission, values, and/or purpose does your next employer need to offer you?

Give yourself some time to answer all these questions and review what they mean for your next job. Use them to start looking at which employers meet your needs. Choose those jobs which mean the most to you now. Then build your job search plan using what you’ve learned. Update your social media profiles and resume(s). Pass your vision of your future on to your connections so they can support you effectively.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 7:17 am

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