Three Keys to Finding a More Satisfying Job
If you’re not happy with your job, you’re not alone. Over seven in 10 Americans are so dissatisfied with their jobs that they’re either actively pursuing new job opportunities or constantly thinking of doing so, a survey by Mental Health America and The Faas Foundation found. Low pay, low recognition, lack of support from supervisors, and tension with co-workers are some of the main drivers of this widespread dissatisfaction. This negative attitude toward work has a tangible impact on workplace performance. Over half of workers say they do the bare minimum required of them because they feel no real connection to their job, and 16 percent actively complain to co-workers and dampen office morale, a Gallup poll shows.
If you’re stuck in a job that makes you miserable, it may be time to think about looking for a more rewarding occupation. Here are three keys to finding a job that makes you happy.
Create Your Criteria for an Ideal Job
During job interviews, employers will typically ask you how you define your ideal job, as a way of evaluating how well your needs align with theirs. You should be asking yourself the same question when you’re seeking a more satisfying job. In order to answer this, one important question to ask yourself is what you’re passionate about. The top reason workers seek new jobs is because they feel bored with their current position or they don’t find their present job challenging enough, a Korn Ferry survey found. A closely-related question is asking yourself what you value. Korn Ferry’s survey showed that another reason workers leave their jobs is because they don’t feel their employer aligns with their personal values.
Of course, salary is a major consideration. Consider what salary level you would need in order to live a lifestyle that you would find more fulfilling. Other elements of an ideal job to consider include what type of skills you have that you would enjoy using, whether you would be happier working in an office or at home, and whether you would prefer working under a supervisor or running your own business. If you need help answering these types of questions, consider talking to a career counselor at your school or your local labor department or taking a career aptitude test.
Check Your Qualifications
Once you have an idea what type of job you might like, an important step to take before starting your job hunt is to evaluate your qualifications. You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by making sure you’re qualified for a job before applying for it. You can research the qualifications for different types of jobs by using a resource such as the Labor Department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.
For some positions, you may find that you need to earn a full degree in order to get the type of job you’re want. In other cases, you may be able to bolster your resume by taking a certification course. You can pursue continued education through local college resources, or you can look into distance learning options such as Penn Foster’s online certificate programs.
Develop a Job Hunting Strategy
When you’re ready to begin your job hunt, you’ll have more luck if you use a smart job-hunting strategy. One smart move is to get help from professionals. A professional recruitment agency such as Robert Half already has contacts with potential employers, putting you in a better position to find the right job more quickly. They can also help you identify gaps in your qualifications, improve your resume, and practice your interview techniques.
Another winning job hunting strategy is to search websites of potential employers, says recruitment agency Pro Staff. For instance, Amway includes postings for job openings on its website, along with additional resources to help job seekers and entrepreneurs. Other proven ways to find jobs include joining professional associations that offer career resources, visiting job fairs, and sending cover letters and resumes directly to employers who interest you, says Peter Vogt, senior contributing writer for job board Monster.com.
If you’re unhappy in your job, you don’t have to stay that way. Defining your ideal job, filling in your qualification gaps, and pursuing a smart job-hunting strategy can point you toward a more fulfilling, higher-paying, more rewarding career.