Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Sounds like a far-fetched dream? It’s more doable than you think. In fact, you don’t even have to settle for a job you like. You can find a job you love so much that Mondays feel like Fridays — here’s how to approach the process and maximize your chances of waking up excited to go to work.
“One of the clearest indicators you have found a job you love is that you feel a sense of purpose at work. In other words, your work is more than just a job; your work is a calling. Another clear indicator you have found a job you love is that there are few things you would rather be doing than work,” says Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, and Career Coach at Caffeinated Kyle.
While the premise of feeling that way at work is appealing, you can’t expect to find a job you love overnight. It’s a strategic process that takes time and energy, says Elliott.
And if you think it’s unreasonable to be picky during a global pandemic, think twice. “There are constant ebbs and flows in the job market. Regardless of how the job market looks, you deserve a job you love,” he says.
“While the global COVID-19 pandemic temporarily slowed hiring, the job market is booming again. As you look for a new job, take note of the industries such as high tech, delivery services, healthcare, and education that fared well through the economic downturn.”
1. Get clear on what you want
Before jumping into your job search, Elliott suggests creating a list of what you are looking for in your next role. Get very specific about your ideal scenario.
“Write out everything you need, want, do not want, and cannot have in your next job. This is important to do before you launch your job search as it helps you avoid shiny object syndrome when an exciting organization comes up that is out of alignment with your needs and values,” he says.
2. Build a list of target companies
“Many job seekers make the mistake of setting their eyes on a single company, then disregarding other equally great companies. While it is fabulous if you land a role at that dream organization, it is helpful to broaden your scope and consider similar companies with shared values.”
Lacking inspiration? Check out the “pages people also viewed” section of a company’s LinkedIn business page to discover organizations that weren’t on your radar. Or use websites like Glassdoor and Built-In, which regularly compile lists of great places to work.
3. Leverage the power of LinkedIn
Your list of target companies is a starting point. But you have to conduct your due diligence and dig deeper to find out whether a potential employer could provide what you’re looking for. According to Elliott, reaching out to people who already work at your target companies is a great next step to learn more about different cultures:
“This can be as simple as sending a LinkedIn message asking for 20 minutes of their time to share best practices. This is an important step as you want to ensure the internal company culture matches the external employer branding.”
4. Have strong boundaries
What do personal boundaries have to do with finding a job you love? “Regardless of your company or position, a major component of loving your job involves the creation of healthy boundaries. It is difficult to love your job if your boundaries are repeatedly being broken or flat-out ignored,” says Elliott.
It’s important to be intentional about developing and effectively communicating your boundaries with potential managers, colleagues and direct reports right from the get-go, which also means during the hiring process.
5. Do the inner work
Landing a job you absolutely adore also starts from within. Because if you’re looking for a company or role to fill a profound, inner void, you’ll inevitably look forever.
“Much of the work is internal. If you find yourself unhappy in your current company, ask yourself if it is the company or something else. In speaking with my career coaching clients, I often find that their unhappiness stems from factors such as lack of confidence or poor boundaries that are beyond their current company’s control.”
So take the time to reflect on the areas of your fulfillment that you do have control over and how you can intentionally address them.
6. Focus on relationships instead of applications
“While there is increased competition to find a job right now as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, avoid the mistake of spending all of your job search efforts on job applications,” says Elliott, who advises clients to network with at least five people for every one application sent out to ensure they are investing in building relationships with decision-makers.
“Given that a majority of jobs are landing by way of networking, you want to focus a significant portion of your job search on relationship-building.”
7. Quality over quantity
You’ll also want to avoid applying for every job you see. While it may seem like a numbers game, quality over quantity will yield better results as far as finding a position you absolutely love.
“While the mantra quality over quantity has always rung true during the job search, it is particularly true right now with more competition than ever before,” says Elliott. You’re better off spending time targeting companies and personalizing each application in-depth than firing off a dozen resumes and generic cover letters.