- Living through difficult times can make us realize life is too precious to spend doing a job we don’t love.
- Start the job search with soul searching, figuring out what you truly want.
- Find opportunities to experiment through freelancing, volunteer opportunities, or internships.
- Sharpen your skills in key areas required for the job you're wanting.
- Tap into your network, and be patient along the job search journey.
We're beginning to emerge collectively from a difficult time as we’ve weathered the many effects of COVID-19. Recently, there have been some hopeful indicators that life may soon return to something resembling normal. Economic indicators are also hopeful. In his March update, Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao asserts: “March’s jobs report is the most optimistic since the pandemic began. The end of the pandemic appears to be in sight as vaccine distribution accelerates, and the economic recovery looks like it’s champing at the bit.”
Living through difficult and demanding times can grow us in ways that we didn’t expect. It can build new muscles, skills, and perspectives. It can refine our focus, enabling us to see ourselves more clearly. It can make us realize that our time here on earth is too precious to spend doing a job that doesn’t truly suit us and that we don’t love.
If you have a job that is safe and comfortable, but that you’ve outgrown, that you find boring or unfulfilling, you may be wondering: does safety constitute fit? Should I give up this comfortable job and risk finding something that excites and challenges me?
Yes! We think that you deserve a job that deeply suits you. There’s nothing like the thrill of fit; here’s what you need to know to secure it for yourself.
Before you can decide what you’re looking for in a new role, clarify how you feel about your current position. Decide what’s working for you and identify where you crave change. Have you outgrown your current role? Is there room for you to grow with your current employer? How do you feel about your current supervisor and your team? What kind of options do you have at your job? Is there a position or another team there that you’ve considered?
Think about your job prospects as an exercise, without worrying about the usual roadblocks. What would you explore professionally if you had the opportunity? Take our quiz: What Job Best Fits Your Life? It can give you a starting point as you contemplate what qualities you’re looking for in a suitable role.
We may be inclined to stay in comfortable but ill-fitting jobs for many reasons. Perhaps our ambitions aren’t well enough defined. We know what we like to do, but how does that translate into a job? Perhaps the job search seems too daunting; we’re not sure our tech skills are refined enough to manage a search or we’re worried about the project of writing a resume or selling our skills through the interview process.
Matthew Warzel, President of MJW Careers, advises: “Have a vision of your dream job. Think of your job drivers. What's important to you? Time, money, benefits, 401(k)s, location, product offerings, company image, culture, values, progressive versus traditional setting, remote versus on-location, passionate project opportunities, etc. Each is different for each person. What motivates you? What's your passion? What can you do that will make you happy in 2 weeks, 3 months, a year?”
Job searching starts with soul searching. Defining and targeting what you truly want fuels the process.
As you think about what fit means to you, know that you may not have the answers right away. What you’re looking for might have changed during the pandemic. Because your already have a job, you have the time to be reflective about your reinvention.
Warzel recommends a full-body approach to the quest: “Be specific in what you want, clarify it, write it down, consume knowledge of it, live it. Recruiters cannot help you if you nor they know what you want to do. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job. The key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer.”
Be patient as you work through tabulating where you are professionally and deciding where you’d like to take that. Keep building as you contemplate your next move.
Warzel advises: “The challenge is that most are unsure of how their skills are exchangeable to other duties. If you're an accomplished professional, it's best to use actual methodologies, processes, skills, or technologies relating directly to the open job description and your experience. These are good ideas for those greener candidates. Also, opt for free experiential learning like internships. Work freelance projects for friends, neighbors, etc., and continuously build your portfolio, skills, and competencies… maybe even parlay that into a side hustle as part of the gig economy.”
Study the job you’re targeting.
If you’ve found a new dimension of your professional skill set, you may even consider refining it further via professional training. Warzel recommends: “Enroll in continuing education courses, there's plenty of free ones out there like Udemy or Coursera, and even some Ivy schools are offering free digital learning programs. Track all these wonderful things you learn. When you seek out academic programs, find ones that can help train and prepare you for your new role while you're in limbo.”
Keep in mind, that you want to both upskill yourself and refine your understanding of the industry. Warzel summarizes: “Your goal is to understand the role and industry inside and out so eventually you can become the subject matter expert. Find some new career job openings and the minimal qualifications in each, identify the possible credentials you may need to better position yourself in this new role, and find online institutions that you can acquire these credentials, and list them onto your resume. Also, find membership groups and industry networking opportunities...this is a wonderful place to gather knowledge from industry pros who can help explain the nuances of your new role.”
A worthy hunt.
Warzel grants that the job search game is slightly different than it was pre-covid. The difference he sees: “More talent. And more solid talent at that. Lots of highly successful or proficient people are trying to find their next career so they can continue on with their career journey.”
Warzel’s advice: “Do not get discouraged. Sometimes it takes creativity, maybe some guerilla job hunting tactics or a network to move ahead of the others.” Be creative, confident, and committed to your search.
And then nail the basics. “You must play the resume game correctly. There is a 7-second eye test that exists, so when you're ready, make sure your resume is up to snuff in terms of content, layout, format, ATS-compliance and overall messaging. Again, keep your head up, if you make enough waves, someone will notice. Tap your network, comment on decision-makers at companies you want to work for and are in your business unit. Reach out to recruiters. Build rapport.” Warzel advises.
A hopeful future.
Finding a job that truly suits you is worth your effort. Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor Chief Economist and Director of Research, assures: “These are challenging times. Yet, we at Glassdoor remain optimistic about the future of work and hiring. America’s entrepreneurial culture has proven to be resilient, adaptable, and innovative in the face of many economic and social crises of the past.”
Search company reviews and find your fit. You deserve it, and you’ve got this.