Make A List

posted in: job search | 0

by Jay Markunas, Career Consultant

Last night’s roundtable at the Compass Group – Unity Church of the Hills’ career networking group – had a lot of discussion around how to find the right career.  Many were stuck between what they had done in the past, and what they wanted to do.

Chinese symbol for want

One guest was a former airline industry veteran who had an issue finding a job.  She was having no luck in the airline industry.  She had other skills, but didn’t know which direction she could go.  I suggested an exercise we use in the Career Change Pajama Learning.  Create a “want/don’t want” list.  This is a list of job aspects that you want, and those aspects that you don’t want.  Making a list of those aspects that you want can guide you to careers that are in alignment with what makes you happy.

Sometimes we find clients get stuck coming up with the wants.  It might be easier to start with the don’t wants.  For example, our airline veteran said she didn’t want to be confined to an office.  When looking at potential careers, she will evaluate jobs which do not involve her sitting at the same desk each day.

You can make a similar list for your own search.  Start with the aspects of all your jobs that you enjoyed.  Think of the environments, people, managers, daily duties, commute, company benefits, pay, etc.  Come up with a very long list of things that you enjoyed.  You may decide to prioritize the list.  You may find an opportunity that meets 19 of them, and having them ranked will help.  Anything that is a “deal breaker” should be near the top.

If you find it hard to come up with the wants, then start by creating a list of don’t wants. Maybe you don’t want a micro-managing boss.   Having set hours or little autonomy may be something you don’t want.  Think of those aspects, people, and environments that you don’t want.  You may decide to rank these as well, or you may decide to mark the “deal breakers”.  Maybe one of your wants may be to having weekends off.  A don’t want may be to not be on-call during the weekend.

Another guest shared she had two very different business opportunities.  One opportunity was with an established partner, and the other opportunity in a different industry was a sole business proprietorship.  She didn’t know which way to go.  I jokingly suggested the group take a vote-and the vote be binding.  Then I seriously suggested she make a want/don’t want list for her business opportunities.  Then figure out which business allowed her to have most of the wants and none (or very few) of the don’t wants.

The want/don’t want list can help you find the work you love, evaluate a business, and help evaluate a job offer.


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