Finding the Job for You
It’s not so much about passion as it is finding a place you can get excited about and applying yourself. If it’s a fit, you’ll know and thrive. If not, you’ll move forward better prepared.
Establish Your Criteria
You have had enough life experience to identify things you like to do, things you want to do, things you’re good at doing, and their opposites. Use this knowledge to formulate criteria for your job selection.
Your priorities may change over time, but focus on the here and now and consider how the choices shape your job search.
There are many factors to weigh when considering a job. Here are some of the criteria you might consider:
Job function – What are the tasks that comprise your day-to-day work?
Location – Where’s your office, how’s the commute, do you want/ need to relocate?
Benefits – What’s the salary? Is there a health plan, retirement plan, or tuition reimbursement?
Size– is it big and established or a start-up. Will you work alone or as part of a team? Will you learn independently or be trained? Do they have an established position in their industry or a new name?
Stability – Are you in a position to take some risks? Do you have debts or obligations which constrain your flexibility? Will you need to move or travel?
Mission – Is a mission-driven organization important to you? What kind of community impact (if any) are you looking to make?
Culture – Does the organization share your values? How diverse is the staff (in age, gender, race, background, etc)? Is the environment formal and buttoned up, or more casual and relaxed? Are employees working long hours and super stressed or encouraged to have work/life balance?
Advancement – Will there be room for job growth and advancement? Do they offer professional development opportunities?
Autonomy – What does the organizational structure look like? Are you being left to your own devices, or getting consistent hands-on management.
"I came to Doug with misguided ideas of an easy route; access to a powerful circle of references. He refused to let me off that easy. He told me exactly what I needed to hear. Doug gave me the guidance, motivation and wherewithal to find my own path and diligently pursue it."
A Word About Compensation
Compensation plays a critical part at this stage of your career. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so it’s important to craft a preliminary plan that meets your own needs. Begin with a budget:
Estimate your monthly cost of living. Be thorough and include the essentials; rent, utilities, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, debt. This personal budget will determine how much you’ll need to make and what kind of job you can afford.
Budgets are extremely personal and there is no formula. Job decisions and spending requirements can be adjusted to meet what you can do or what you prioritize to meet your goals.
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Only when you know how much money you need and what you earn, can you start to think about saving and/or investing.
"I wanted to share a quick update with you that my boss went ahead and honored a merit-based raise before my six months arrived! AND they decided to do it retroactively. Thanks so much for your advice, Doug."
Research Your Options
There are tremendous resources available to find out about industries and companies, for profit and non-profit. Job sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Simply Hired and CareerBuilder are some of the better known but there are many and many more which are industry-specific. Find them, explore them.
Find industry matches and look at the best performers. Who has the best products? Who has the best mission? Who grew the most or is winning awards. Would you rather work for the current winners or help a struggling business?
Research the size and strength of organizations. Large established groups will have more stability, but potentially more hierarchy and bureaucracy. Small start-ups might give you more flexibility, but there is certainly risk involved. Think about what appeals to you, and which might better suit you.
Find out about an organization’s reputation – what are they known for? If the reputation is currently negative, how are they combatting this? Do you see a commitment to positive growth and development?
Look into pay and benefits. If your ideal organization only offers unpaid internships, can you find a way to supplement this? If you need medical care or family leave, do they provide it? Money should never be the sole motivation for taking a job, but financial negligence can hurt you in the long run.
"Thank you so much, Doug for the kind words and all of your support and wisdom over the last several months. You have been an invaluable ally in this process. I am very grateful to have you on my team! I will absolutely stay in touch."
Take Your Best Shot
Once you’ve committed to a job, be resolute in your decision and be committed to making this first step a valuable learning experience.
Work hard every day to learn the role, do it well, work well within your group and be curious about the business beyond and around you.
Be bold. Take risks. You don’t have a lot to lose, and it’s the only way you’ll grow.
Leave nothing to chance you can control. This process begins and ends with you. You dictate your own direction, take the wheel and go for it.
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