I took a class in college that had to do with job hunting, starting from the basics. Interests, hobbies and values being the very first steps we all should be taking in order to find a job that we will enjoy. There is a lot to discover about yourself and your needs in a job that will make you a better job hunter.
I walked into an interview not too long ago with the hopes of landing “the job” and working in a field that I had no experience in. The position was in the educational field which I had been working in for almost a year and I wanted to sell to them that I knew the field. I thought that I could show my interviewers that I would be hard working, a quick learner and that I wanted to take on the challenge of having no previous experience in business/accounting. I prepared for the interview as much as I could. I viewed their LinkedIn profiles, researched the company and visited the job description NUMEROUS times. One of my references even endorsed me with this company, making me think I had the upper hand to other candidates. The moment I got called into the interview room, I should have turned around and left. It didn’t feel right from the get-go, but I wanted to make the best of this interview and I wanted to feel accomplished by landing “the job”. My interviewers asked their questions, I answered and did my best to offer the best responses to their repeated questions. It felt like we were all just going in circles. They were asking the same questions and I was giving the same answers. There were long awkward pauses and it felt…. weird.
As the awkward pauses became increasingly difficult to ignore, I thought Why is this going so poorly? Why are we still doing this? I don’t think I want to work here. I had wanted a job so badly that I almost overlooked the fact that this really wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to disappoint my referencer by not getting the job. I didn’t want to disappoint my family for not making a good living with a good paying job. But my family will never stop loving me and this is not going to disappoint anyone. As long as I am happy, everyone else is happy. Duh Kendra. I almost threw my core value of enjoying my job out the window, in order to have a job and to please others. The “others” being unrealistic thoughts that I created in my head.
If you need a job, then you need a job, but that experience for me truly would have been settling when I aspire for something better. To be happy and get to where you want to be, you really want to understand yourself first. I know that I want to love what I do for a living and that I want to help others. Working with money and big numbers wouldn’t have matched either one of those criteria for me. For you, it might have matched your criteria, and that is great! You should know these things about yourself before you even begin to apply for any position though. Some things to consider about yourself:
- What motivates you (i.e. money)
- Do you want to be in an office setting
- What kind of leadership do you seek in a boss
- Do you like working as a team
- How do you feel about conflict in the workplace
- How much free time outside of work do you want/need
- Are you a people person. Why or why not
- What are your hobbies/interests
For some of these bullet points think about the polar opposite as well. If you can pin point what does motivate you, also try to pinpoint what does not motivate you. You might be able to avoid a situation like mine, where I walked right into a place that wasn’t going to motivate me. I suggest writing these things down for yourself to see a visual of these values. You might not refer back to them, or you might hang it on your ceiling and look at it every night. Regardless, it is always a good tool to know yourself and what you’re all about. When you fill out an application you can then convey your needs better. Then when you get to that interview (because you can get there) you can effectively communicate why you are the best fit.
I recommend anyone to take this step to evaluate their “energizers” in life now, whether if you are looking for employment or not. If you realize that you fear asking your boss for anything (avoiding conflict being something you value), then you might be able to overcome the fear and muster up the courage to ask for that raise you deserve. Self reflection is good for everyone at any stage in life. Of course, I am suggesting you do it with your career, because people rarely think to self reflect in this manner.