Far too many people jump straight into a job search and start applying for jobs without fully thinking about what exactly it is that they are looking for. Depending on where you are in your life, career, relationships and financial needs, each time you start a job search, the situation will be slightly different. By thinking through your current situation, your limits, your aspirations and your priorities, the job search becomes clearer and you can realistically begin to tackle your next move.
Start by clearly defining what your needs are. If you are just getting started these will be very different than if you are more established in your career. But it is important that you think deeply about these questions and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself questions about every aspect of what makes you an individual. Key sections to focus on are life, location, personal and work questions. Below you will find a summary of each focus area. Refer to our newest book, section 1 of Sustainability Jobs for the full list of questions.
Ask yourself some of these questions when you are thinking about your career. Has something changed in your life that has you considering a career or transition into sustainability? In other words, what drives you to make this choice and what are the things you need most from this new career? Additionally, take stock of your current personal situation. Do you have plans in the near future that will affect your decision making process?
Location is intertwined with all other aspects of life; it affects personal relationships, quality of living, hobbies available and many more. When considering a career or career transition ask yourself where you want to live and work and how that location can align with your goals. Do you want to stay local? Are you open to relocating?
The only person who is an expert on yourself is you. Take time to narrow down your strengths, areas for improvement, and values. As Steve Jobs once said “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
When thinking about work questions, strive to figure out exactly what type of work you want to do and how you will be able to make a difference doing this work. It is also important to identify what you are unwilling to do and the work atmosphere that is important to you.
Individual strengths are what differentiate you as a candidate for any job. Take the time to introspectively survey your wants, beliefs and actions to understand how you can best make a difference and effect change and land your dream job. Once you have found the answers to the questions presented in the sections above create a unique elevator pitch to answer why you are the ideal candidate for the job.
What questions are you going to ask yourself from the list above when you look for your next position? If you want to find out more, or have a resource to help you think through the job hunt process, check out our latest book Sustainability Jobs. It’s chalk full of worksheets and tips from sustainability professionals.