What do you actually like about work?
When trying to figure out your dream job, it can be tempting to do just that: conjure up a vision of a fantasy role where every minute is thrilling, the pay is stupendous, and the perks are to die for. But a more effective and realistic approach is to reflect on what you’ve liked and disliked about past roles and use the learnings to inform your next move.
So cast your mind back to the last time you felt fully engaged and fulfilled in the workplace and think about what it was that made you feel that way.
What are you good at?
We all tend to be passionate about the things we’re good at, and in any case without that core ability it’s hard to find a role where you’ll really be able to develop. So take a moment to think about your strengths and weaknesses as honestly as possible.
List out your skillset in as much detail as you can, identifying not just hard skills but also soft skills too, such as negotiation, dealing with difficult people, and time management. If you’re considering a career change, it’s always tougher to convince a potential employer that you are a good fit for the role, so it’s important to have done this work and thought about the transferable potential of what you’re good at.
What do you want to learn?
They say you should never stop learning, and this is especially true in the workplace. No matter what level you are, the key to being fully engaged is to develop professionally and keep learning new things to keep your job interesting.
So do your research and find an employer that invests in their staff. Most employers will make positive noises about investing in the development of their people, but try looking on social media and employee review sites for a fuller picture. And of course you’ll want to ask employers about their training and development opportunities at interview too.
What kind of working culture do you thrive in?
A trendy company with an amazing benefits package can sound great on paper, but if the culture isn’t a good fit for you, you could end up miserable in your job.
It’s important to get a feel for a company’s culture before accepting a job. The working environment and the atmosphere in which employees work can contribute massively to your workplace satisfaction. So think back over your previous roles and ask yourself:
What kind of environment gets the best out of you on a day-to-day basis?
Again, a little digging on social media the careers page of a company’s website and employer review sites can be very revealing about what’s really going on at a workplace, culturally speaking:
What impact do you want to have?
Other than what the company has to offer you, have a think about the effect you want to have on the company. For example, if helping others is a great source of job satisfaction to you, it’s important to know if there is ample opportunity to do so before accepting a new job role.
Depending on your motivation you might consider whether your potential employer offers:
These points might be worthwhile to bring up at interview when you’re asked if you have any questions about the role.
What fits with your current lifestyle?
One other key factor that impacts on the attractiveness of a specific role is where you are at in your own life. A parent of young children, for example, is likely to value financial security and the opportunity to work flexibly, whereas if you’re footloose and fancy-free, you may prefer to take on a role with less security but potentially higher rewards.
To work out if a role is likely to have a good balance with the rest of your life, weigh up all the cons and consider their relative importance to you. Think about things like length of commute, likelihood of being able to leave on time, relative quality of pay and benefits, job security and working hours required.
It can sometimes be tricky to navigate a conversation of this type in interview without arousing doubts about your commitment to the job, but again a little digging around online can usually help you source some honest insights from the employee perspective. Do make sure to read several reviews, though, to get an informed consensus.
Finally, don’t put yourself under too much pressure to find that dream job. It may not come next time around, or perhaps not straight away. But by thinking hard about what really matters to you, you’ll have a better chance of getting there sooner.
Robert Walters offer expert career advice. Contact us today for your latest recruitment needs.
How to select referees
Your referees are very important in your job seeking process. Once you have successfully impressed the interviewer, a good reference from your chosen referees can be the difference between getting your dream job and being rejected. Your future employer will want to know from your referees how you peRead More
Six ways to turn a job rejection to your advantage
No one enjoys getting turned down for a job, and if you’ve done a lot of preparation for a role that you really wanted, it can be harder still to accept a rejection. But with the right mindset, you can turn the experience into a career development opportunity. Here’s how… Ask for detailed feedback TRead More
How to find the right job?
If you've decided it's time to move on, consider what you really want from your next role. Below are a few tips to help you in making your decision. Self evaluation Self-evaluation is critical but often overlooked when you start thinking about finding a job. Take some time to assess what you've learRead More
Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.