Is 2014 the year for you to start your dream job? Are you ready to spring out of bed in the morning excited to go to work? It is possible to find your dream job, but it takes some work. Normally, the “work” you think about in the job search process entails updating your resume, Internet searches, and networking activities. But before you immerse yourself in the details related to the job search process, it’s important to take a moment to look inside yourself.
Do you know what you do best? Can you concisely capture the what distinguishes you from your peers? Do you have a realistic idea of what your “dream job” looks like and what makes you preeminently capable of that type of work? Do you know what makes you happiest – at home and at work?
Regardless of whether these questions stumped you or were easily answered, taking time to think about what makes you unique can boost your self-confidence prior to launching an employment inquiry. Similarly, a better understanding of when you were happiest in the past can lead you to happiness in the future. I recommend that clients do some self-evaluation prior to diving-in and sending out updated resumes by looking at the following four sources for information.
1. Review past performance reviews.
If you have old performance reviews handy, take some time to review the comments of your past employers. When were your superiors most pleased with your work efforts? Under what circumstances do you excel? Are there particular tasks that draw out your best performance? Possibly, a certain work setting or a group dynamic played a significant role in drawing out the best in you. Consider the many variables that played a part in the high-points of your past positions including: the people, the tasks, the time frame, and the complexity of the work that helped to highlight your greatness. Your past reviews may also shed an objective light on areas of weakness. Time heals all wounds and (if you are like me) you may have a deeper appreciation (i.e., less defensive persepctive) of what job duties were not a forte after some time has passed. Steer clear of such tasks when looking for your dream job.
2. Assess which times in your life have been your happiest times.
Did you love being in college or newly married? Maybe your favorite time is now! The only person who can make these judgments is you. Reflecting on what elements have made you happiest in the past (a regular exercise routine, calmness at home, an active social life) can give greater insight into what you expect from your dream job. Some people are happiest when their life if extremely busy while others like a calm routine. Your dream job will need to accommodate the things that you value most – whether that be family, income, autonomy, routine, or risk-taking.
3. Take the StrengthsFinder assessment.
Go to www.gallupstrengthscenter.com and complete the 177-item assessment. It’s less than ten dollars and well-worth your investment. Even if you don’t complete the first two suggestions listed here, make time to take this assessment. Your results will serve as light posts as you try to define your dream job. Do you crave an environment where you can connect with others on a personal level every day or would you prefer to singularly think about about the long-term needs of the organization? The StrengthsFinder tool will serve as a mirror to your inner self. Just like it is hard to see something on the tip of your nose, it is sometimes hard to see our internal drivers clearly. Investing 25-minutes in the survey-taking process will re-affirm your understanding of yourself and give you a new appreciation of your greatness.
4. Contact a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach
As of this writing, there are 28 Gallup-Certified Strengths coaches across the world. I am proud to be one of the first to have crossed this threshold. There are numerous benefits that result from the coaching process – too many to relate here – but suffice it to say that clients gain a new understanding of their strengths that would have not been possible without receiving one-on-one guidance.
The short video below is of Kim, a client I coached for only 3 sessions. Kim explains why coaching works and shares her personal story. Kim came to me not understanding why her “strengths” made her strong. She left the coaching process confident and ready to face the interview process.
Kim found her dream job. Are you ready to?