Over the years, I’ve spent over 10,000 hours helping churches and companies find their key staff members. That includes a lot of time interfacing with candidates who are considering a job change. During that time, I’ve been consistently asked what to look for in a next career move.
Most people don’t know exactly what to look for. In survey after survey, around half of all Americans say that they are unhappy with their job. In a study we commissioned recently of fast growing churches, we found that half of all staff members at those churches were open to taking a new job in the coming year.
So how do you find the job that will be a “perfect fit” for you? I’ve developed four questions people should ask themselves when looking for their dream job. In the spirit of transparency, I developed them using my years of work experience, but I’ve used them most recently in response to my kids who are now in college coming to me for advice.
Here are 4 questions to lead you to your dream job:
1. What am I good at?
What are my unique skills? What am I particularly gifted at doing? What are my talents and what am I passionate about?
2. What am I good at that the market needs?
It’s good to have skills in an area, but if you want to make a living at it, those skills have to be monetized. If you’re good at making cash registers, phone booths, or 8 track players, your skills might not be very helpful. Consider the needs of today’s market and look for an intersection of your gifts and what can be monetized.
For example, career counseling centers are saying that STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, and math) are a premium right now. If you have talents in these areas, then you certainly have skills that the market needs right now. Find where your gifts and the market’s needs meet.
3. What am I good at that the market needs and will add value to the world?
Millennials have become known for being a generation that wants to make a difference in the world. They want to work at a place that has a purpose they believe in, a place that will move good forward. At Vanderbloemen, everyone who has come to work with us has taken a pay cut in order to join us. I am told consistently that people take that salary cut because knowing they are working for a greater cause is worth more than a little bit of money.
4. What am I good at that the market needs, will add value to the world, and I will enjoy doing?
When looking for a job, people often forget that they will spend more time at work than anywhere else in their week. They will likely see the people they work with more than their own family members. So no matter the high the pay or noble the cause, if it’s a job that makes you miserable, it’s probably not your dream job.
Every job has some parts that are not enjoyable. But satisfaction, enjoyment, and a deep sense of calling must outweigh the tough parts. If you work in a place that makes you miserable, you’ll end up being a person that’s miserable everywhere else (and to everyone else you relate to).
As you consider these 4 questions, you also make sure you don’t fall prey to these 3 temptations that might trick you into taking the wrong job.
What are other questions that can help lead someone to their ideal job?