Which Of These Has To Be On Your Resume?


  • Assertive
  • Loyal
  • Hard-working
  • Customer-focused
  • Client-centered
  • Empathetic
  • Cooperative
  • Self-starter
  • Experienced
  • Proven leadership

Looking over the 10 bullets above, you’ll see that each one of the traits described is likely to be perceived as a positive quality to have by many employers. This being the case, does it really matter which ones you include in your résumé and which you choose to omit? Or, as their all good, why not just include them all and remove the guess-work out of your decision altogether?

The simple answer to what to include and what not to lies in finding out what exactly the employer is looking for in the first place. So in the end, you might include some, all or actually none of the above. This is a basic principle that some who look for work don’t understand. Then there are job seekers who get the idea but don’t really see the value in taking the time to find out because it just seems like too much effort. After all, it would mean making alterations to their resumes each and every time they applied for a job and who has the energy to be fiddling with it given all the jobs they apply to?

Can I be direct with you here? It’s my goal after all to help you find your next job, and both you and I know you’d like that to be as soon as possible. I’ll pass on some advice and if you don’t like it, you’re in full control here. You can skim, read in-depth, re-read or click delete at any time.

Start by looking at a job posting. Please don’t overlook this most critical step and make some generic resume that you assume will appeal to many employer’s. Making a general resume and handing it to several employers makes about as much sense as a restaurant owner serving guests food without first asking his/her customers what they’d like to order. It may all be good food, but it depends on what the customer feels like eating on any given occasion.  You might figure everybody likes pasta, but some might want seafood or a wrap. Staff have to find out what the customer wants and then prepare it to their individual tastes.

With a job posting in front of you, use a highlighter or pen and identify all the words that describe the qualities, skills and experience this particular employer has identified as what they want. Okay, now that you’ve done this, your job is to make sure that these important words appear throughout your résumé. The more you do a good job of matching what they want with what you have to offer, the greater the odds of you getting an interview.

As I’ve said many times before however, it’s not as easy as just plunking down these key words in your résumé. A good and vital first step yes, but you’re far from done. A strong resume will add proof and not just make a claim. So anyone can say they are cooperative, but you’ll need to add proof in your document so it becomes more than just an idle claim. Take these two below as examples:

  • Team player
  • Excel at working cooperatively and productively with co-workers when working towards common goals and deadlines
  • Recognized as an enthusiastic and vital contributing member of the sales team for personally achieving 12% above designated performance targets

The first bullet simply makes an idle claim. Anyone can write this down; even someone who dislikes working with others intensely. There’s no proof, and it shows no real understanding of what working in a team means.

The second bullet is an improvement because it shows you understand that working in a team requires cooperation and productivity comes about as a result. It also is an upgrade because it adds the concept of working with other people to meet common goals; what everyone should be working towards.

The third bullet works best in showing how you go about working with others, in this case with enthusiasm; the number one thing an employer wants in those they hire. It also adds some descriptive words such as, ‘vital’ and ‘contributing’ and then goes on to add the proof – 12% above the targets a previous employer set. So you have the bare minimum but unimpressive, better and best in order.

Look again at those 10 qualities and traits that started this piece. See leadership up there? That’s got to be a keeper right? Well, not necessarily. If you’ve had positions of leadership before where you supervised others, it might not be as desirable on your résumé if the position you’re now going for is an entry-level job. In this job you’re applying for, you are the one being supervised, so your supervisory experience might actually work against you. Sure maybe once you land the job and are looking for a promotion it would be good to bring that supervisory experience of the past up for discussion, but not now.

What to add in? What to leave out? What to stress and how to prove it? These are the right questions to be asking yourself each and every time you sit down to apply for a job. Perhaps it seems like a lot of work. It’s actually not as much as you’d imagine it to be. In fact, because your résumé matches up well, you end up doing many fewer. Why? Because you land more interviews!

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Why Is It They Always Want A Smile?


I’ve been in rehearsals since September for a production of The Little Mermaid. We now have three of our six performances completed, and this coming weekend right here in Lindsay, Ontario we will end the run. It’s been very fun – a lot of work mind; but a lot of fun to bring our various characters to the stage. I’m playing Grimsby who is Prince Eric’s guardian.

One of the constant notes we as a collective cast get is to smile when on stage. This I entirely understand. After all, the audience has paid for an evening’s entertainment, and when they look up and see 40 smiling faces beaming out at them, well… they can’t help but smile as well. And when you’re smiling, you’re having a good time enjoying not only the performance, but the whole experience. The thing is that smiling comes more naturally to some than others.

Not surprisingly, employer’s also want their staff wearing a smile as they go about their work; almost certainly if your job involves dealing with your customers, clients or the public on the front line. However, I’ve come to observe the same issue happens at work locations that happens in the world of musical theatre; there are those who wear it naturally and those who have to work hard at it.

If you’re one of those who have to work at having a smile, you’ve probably heard over and over to smile. In fact, you’re probably pretty sick and tired of having people your whole life tell you to turn that frown upside down, or how it wouldn’t hurt you to smile more often. Many of the people who don’t smile naturally are actually feeling quite good. They might even be happy in fact; it just doesn’t communicate to others that they are.

Smiles generally communicate warmth, happiness, enjoyment and friendliness. Unfortunately the absence of a smile can communicate discontent, stress, unhappiness; even come across as not wanting to be approached.

When we interact with others, we do so both verbally and non-verbally through our actions and our facial expressions play a huge part in this silent communication. Now take someone who is in fact overstressed, sullen, disinterested in their work or a tad annoyed even. That face their making can unfortunately be mirrored by some people who are not in fact feeling any of those things – they just don’t naturally smile. The message however, can be identical to the public who receives that smile.

So therein lies both the reason the employer wants a smiling staff and the reason they tend to be put off by those who don’t. They figure to themselves, if this person isn’t smiling here in the job interview, they certainly aren’t going to smile when on the floor dealing with the public. And to be honest, it’s not only on the floor in front of the customer that a smile is wanted. Even in a factory setting for example, far removed from the customers’ gaze, a smile can make a team of co-workers spend their time together more pleasantly. The lack of a smile can make interacting with your co-workers strained for some, and just unpleasant for others.

Years ago I believe somewhere I learned it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. The message was, “So why work so hard?” Thinking back to musicals, there’s also a great song in Annie called, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” Great advice that.

But I really feel for the people for whom this smile is something that takes a great deal of effort. And of course if your teeth aren’t in great shape you might actually wish you could smile more often but your low self-confidence in your smile might prevent you from flashing it more often. Fixing that smile might take a lot of money and may not be something you can afford to invest in. If that’s the case, I get that. By the way, if you’re on Social Assistance, you might want to inquire into dental care. If you have benefits where you work, checking with your provider might also be worth your time to find out what work you could have done. Self-confident people do smile when their teeth aren’t a concern.

However, if you understand and agree that a smile sends a positive message but yours still doesn’t come naturally, may I suggest that you consciously work at remembering to use it once or twice in any lengthy interaction. That brief smile might just have a bigger impact because it’s going to get noticed when you do use it.

Smiles attract smiles in others too. Look around today as you meet and interact with others. Do an experiment if you’d like and flash your smile at people. If you count the number of people who instinctively smile in return in response to your own, you’ll be surprised at how many you’ll get. It adds up. A smile is free to give and can lift someone’s spirits too. You never know when you give your smile to someone who is feeling down, just how much that simple gesture might mean. A smile can signal you’ve acknowledged they even exist.

We’re about to head into a season where many go about with a, “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Holidays” in their everyday speech. Add a smile and you’ll fit right in!

If Resumes Were Only About Key Words


More and more people are coming to understand that constructing a winning resume; one that gets you invited in for an interview involves ensuring the key words and phrases from a job posting are included in their résumé.

If that was all employer’s were looking for, you’d think they’d be receiving an extremely high percentage of such resumes, giving them the luxury of having many highly qualified people to choose from. You’d also think that if it’s just a case of putting these keywords in a résumé, anyone could consider themselves an expert by doing so. That’s not the case though; resume writing is a craft like any other endeavour, and there are those who are better at it than others.

This being the case, that resume writing is a skill; what would make some people believe that they can write one as good as anyone else? Especially if writing a résumé is something they only do when out of work and looking for a job. No, there’s got to be more separating those who craft resumes – and there is.

Your résumé you may recall from earlier posts, is your personal marketing document. It should therefore, or rather it must therefore, communicate clearly to the employer that bringing you in for a conversation will be worth their while. And by this, I mean that as their time is valuable (as too is your own), they have to perceive some benefit to be derived from meeting with you as a potential employee. Think, “How does hiring you benefit us?” and you’ve got it.

Many resumes fail to communicate this to an employer however. No, many resumes send the message, “I want to work for you so that I benefit in the following ways”. This message doesn’t appeal to an employer at all. Organizations aren’t in the charitable business of giving people jobs just so they can grow and learn new skills. Businesses have to be profitable, their workforces efficient, and how will hiring you achieve profitability?

So pull out your résumé – go ahead I’ll wait. You’ll find this useful trust me.

Okay so looking at the document, have a look at your stated qualifications. I would hope that what you have in this area responds to the stated needs of the company you are applying to. If it does, that’s good but that’s not all you need. Does each line stop there? Is that all you included? For example, if the employer says the successful applicant must have the ability to work well in teams, it takes more than just saying, “Team player”.  Maybe you said, “Work well with others” or “Work well in team settings”. Ho-hum, boring and pretty standard for a lot of resumes. If this is on your résumé, you don’t really think you’re making the best impression you could do you? Unfortunately, the answer for many is that yes, that is exactly what they believe.

  • “Work cooperatively with co-workers; self-invested in working towards common organizational goals, achieving efficiencies and maximizing profitability”.

The above has a lot packed in to that single bullet. First it communicates how you work with others; in this case cooperatively. Don’t assume this is a given. There are many people who work with others grudgingly, and although it may seem to an observer there is a team of six people in a situation, it’s really 4 team players and 2 others standing next to them working in their own silos.

The term, “self-invested” is an interesting term that stresses how the person is committed and motivated internally, without needing an employer to be constantly monitoring their activity. Self-invested people are not just present, they are present and engaged in what they are doing, taking pride in what they do. The rest of the bullet is just as critical. It communicates that you understand that achieving maximum profitability requires finding efficiencies; streamlining processes, looking for ways to get more accomplished requiring, speed, fewer distractions, less waste, commitment and a unified approach – ie. the common organizational goals.

Now imagine if your entire resume took what the employer is looking for and better communicated how hiring you will fulfill their needs and realize their end goals, and not just plop down your qualifications.

Take two resumes for a Cleaning / Maintenance position. The employer’s posting states that the job requires mopping floors, cleaning office areas. One resume states:

  • Skilled at mopping floors and cleaning office spaces

An exact match for the employer’s needs, but compare that to the 2nd resume:

  •  Proven experience mopping and cleaning office areas, achieving full compliance with Ministry Health and Safety standards; ensure offices are welcoming for staff members daily

In this second bullet, not only does the applicant have the required experience, they are demonstrating that they know WHY they do what they do and HOW the work they do contributes to the overall productivity of the organization. They get the big picture. Staff who walk in to a clean office start feeling good and ready to go. Staff who walk into their office any other way are immediately distracted, waste time complaining or making a report. Meeting Health and Safety standards keeps the staff healthy and at work, and not needing time off for illness. In other words, both employees say they can clean but one did a better job communicating they understand the big picture and how their role fits.

 

 

Lost Trust In Others?


Many people I meet with trust issues, at one time were extremely trusting in others, however someone took their trust and abused it. Others shared their secrets, failed to respect their confidential and shared information; eventually hurting the person in such a profound way that they’ve never really fully trusted again. So here they are, not only distrusting others, but no longer trusting in their own ability to assess whom to trust.

Being taken advantage of, now the person doubts their judgement in trusting anyone, which lowers their self-esteem – and all in acts of self-protection. Consequently, they never fully trust those around them, doubt themselves and miss out on a lot of good things in life.

Wow! That’s some pretty significant negative consequences, all stemming from being a trustworthy person in the first place (a great personal quality). Can you imagine how a person must feel who goes through this world, never trusting anyone completely; always expecting they’ll be let down and taken advantage of again? Believing the best way to safeguard your personal thoughts, deepest feelings and the things you struggle with is to keep them all to yourself. Is that healthy? Not really.

No, keeping everything to yourself and never trusting others for fear of being exposed and taken advantage of can severely limit great experiences, rich relationships and it’s these that can work wonders on your own self-image. I’m not saying we should all be sharing absolutely everything with all the people around us. No, personal, private thoughts, feelings and problems are often kept exactly that way – internalized and private. Sometimes we can work through our issues entirely within ourselves.

However, there are many times in our lives when an empathetic or even sympathetic ear could be helpful. Someone to hear us out, a kind of sounding board for the things we’re thinking about, struggling to deal with, being weighed down by. When we share the big things with someone, our burden is often lighter, even when they just listen. Of course if we want advice, possible options for dealing with whatever is weighing on us, a trusted opinion from someone who has our best interests at heart can be wonderful.

This kind of person usually isn’t found in the workplace but rather in our personal lives. It’s a close friend perhaps, someone you confide in who takes what you say, doesn’t get alarmed and tell you what to think or what not to think, but simply hears you out and shares what’s important to you just by being there. Workmates we trust in typically hear us talk about working conditions, things specifically related to our jobs like the boss, co-worker relationships, workloads and job satisfaction. Sometimes we might even confide in someone about our plans to look elsewhere for a job without letting the boss know.

If you’ve ever told a co-worker something in confidence and found they’ve gone and made your secrets known to others, you would likely lower your trust in that person, or perhaps rule them out completely with anything significant in the future.

Sometimes of course, the person who breaks your trust does so with your own best interests at heart. They might be conflicted if for example you shared something that would cause financial loss to the employer, or if you were in danger of hurting yourself or another person. Their moral dilemma between keeping your trust versus the safety of others or employer loyalty might cause them great distress.

Some are just naturally better at earning, keeping and returning trust than others. It’s a skill after all; not something we are equally good at. When someone breaks trust, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are inherently bad, or will break trust in the future, but it makes it hard to extend trust a second time.

Now, the sad thing about people who have had their trust misplaced in the past, is that they exist in the present wary of trusting now. Without someone to confide in, they are left to work out their problems and issues all on their own. When trustworthy people do come into contact with the person, the person may miss opportunities that could help them move forward with less stress and much quicker. That fear of perhaps misjudging someone again and having their trust misplaced is greater than the perceived benefit of trusting, so they don’t.

I suppose the greater the fallout from misplaced trust in the past, the more a person withholds their trust in the present; insisting to themselves that they get to know someone over a long time and gauge how they handle small bits of information before ever contemplating sharing deeper issues. Having one’s trust broken is like having an internal scar that only you can see and it can run deep, flaring up when you’re thinking of trusting again – just as a reminder.

When someone does trust you with their feelings and struggles, it’s a wonderful gift. It’s a measure of the value they place in you; both for hearing them out and for what you’ll do with what you hear. You show respect for what you hear and more importantly for the person themselves when you hold that trust firm.

Trusting in others is a good quality to have. My hope is that if you’ve lost the ability to trust, you eventually rediscover the tremendous benefits of confiding in someone, and that your trust in them is rewarded.

Bitterness; It’s Expensive To Carry


If a link to this article landed in your Inbox, or if it’s been printed and left anonymously on your desk, it could be that someone working close to you is taking the rather bold step of drawing your bitterness to your attention. Don’t get angry, don’t throw this immediately in the trash or click close on your browser. You can do either of those things in a few minutes. Could be they are trying to do you a favour without having to face you openly.

Bitterness is something that everyone feels once in a while. Call it extreme disappointment; maybe feeling robbed of some person or some thing we had counted on to be there for us. Perhaps you lost a loved one or you were passed over in the end for a promotion or a new job that had been yours for the taking or even promised you.

The thing is, extreme disappointment or bitterness isn’t supposed to last. It’s supposed to have an expiry period. Oh sure you will always recall the disappointment or even the heartache of whatever you feel was denied you. However, carrying that disappointment and allowing it to fester and grow, carrying it around with you like a badge of honour, is highly unattractive. It’s so unattractive in fact that not only does it show yourself in a negative light, it can be denying you many good things in life; opportunities you may or may not even know are being passed by as you get passed over.

You have to ask yourself, ‘What does carrying around my bitterness and making sure everyone I meet gets a taste of it do for me?’ Imagine if you will a straight line; on the extreme left you’ve got Joy, Elation, Excitement etc. Way over on the extreme right you’ve got Bitterness, Anger, Loathing. Somewhere in the middle  there’s a midpoint of the two. What appears to have happened in your case is that some event or a series of events, has moved you way over to the extreme right and you never recovered your center; you’re grounded somewhere it’s unnatural to be, but it’s become your every day experience; and unfortunately it’s become what others who interact with you see as your dominant trait. No one was ever meant to stay in that extreme end position; unfortunately it seems you have.

If you’ve ever heard someone say things like, “Hey lighten up”, “What’s your problem?”, “It wouldn’t kill you to smile you know” etc., these are others ways of trying to get you to move on that scale. No one expects you to do a complete 180 and be joyous, excited and elated all the time. No, that would be unnatural for your disposition. At the same time, where you are permanently is where people were only meant to be periodically, and it’s not natural.

So maybe you’re not a people-person; or maybe it’s not that so much as you’d rather do things solo more often than you do at the moment. Could be the role you have in your work life isn’t a natural fit; that the job requires interpersonal skills and a general attitude that differs significantly from your own. If this is the case, one obvious sign is that when you’re away from work – say in your personal life and at home, you’re a changed person. Yes, if you feel your face gets set in a concrete grimace and lines of stress, furrowed eyebrows and a scowl start appearing on your commute to the workplace, this could be the reason.

However, if this bitterness persists beyond the workplace and is your reality both at work and every other place you go, it’s not just work that’s the problem. In such a case, you may find yourself more isolated from people in general no matter what the circumstances. I suppose you have to ask yourself, “Am I happy – really happy – with things the way they are.” If you think the world has to give you some reasons to feel less bitter before you make any conscious effort to drop the bitterness, it’s likely not going to work out that way. It always starts with you.

Look, whomever brought this to your attention is likely concerned about you and FOR you. Sure they’d rather interact with a happier you, but in truth, they probably are more focused on helping you become what they know could be a better you for your own sake.

Bitterness grows if you feed it. So you might have the experience, education and skills to deserve a promotion. However, your bitterness which comes across as brooding and biting is extremely concerning to those making the hiring decision. They aren’t going to promote you and give you added responsibility when this position you want is one of influence. No, it’s costing you dearly, and so as you get passed over again and again, your bitterness grows and gets reinforced.

Some need professional help to face where the bitterness stems from and help learning how to leave it behind. Not all, but some. You’ll also get massive support from anyone you talk to and ask for their help as you attempt to change what has become so ingrained in how you go about things.

It’s your life of course to live as you choose. Just don’t underestimate the cost of holding on to the bitterness.

 

Thinking Of A Return To School?


So the job search has become a long, frustrating experience of being rejected over and over. You’re over-qualified for some jobs, told you’re not who they are looking for others, and then there’s the ones where they say you were great but they decided to go with someone else. In the end, it’s all the same – no job. So now you’re so frustrated with the entire job search process, you’re thinking of going back to school instead.

A return to school would give you current academic credentials; a big upgrade on your mid-1980’s degree or diploma. Surely some current education and your life experience would be a winning combination! Well the short answer is yes. However, it’s important to consider a number of factors when you’re weighing the option of upgrading your education.

First of all, are you going back to upgrade your education in the field you’ve worked in all along or are you venturing into another field altogether? If it’s something new to you, think now – before you pay any tuition, if and how what you’ve done in the past can in any way be leveraged to help strengthen your job interviews after you graduate. So if you graduate with a Police Foundations Degree, how will your 15 years of Engineering work help? Will you be able to draw on transferable skills or will you have a different kind of answer when they ask why you’re taking this U-turn after looking at your work history?

There’s nothing wrong with changing direction in your life. It is a wise and courageous person indeed who isn’t afraid to stop pursuing work they can no longer do or be hired to do, and venture out in some new occupation. It can be invigorating and liberating to learn a new profession and it can fuel you with energy and enthusiasm if you’ve felt stuck in a rut. Pity the poor person who has come to no longer find joy in their line of work but who pursues it because it’s all they know and they feel they can’t risk going back to school and taking on more debt.

Ah yes debt. That’s one way to look at things of course; going back to school and graduating with a degree, diploma or certificate that costs you tens of thousands of dollars. You might be reasoning that while your out of a job now, at least you don’t have the added burden of all that debt on top.

There’s another way of looking at the money part however, and I always encourage people to see any costs associated with returning to school as an investment. An investment in what though? The answer is yourself. And what can you invest in that is of greater importance and benefit than yourself? Whatever you learn in school, you’ll take with you for the rest of your life. Oh sure you won’t recall some specifics, but you’ll emerge changed and better educated. School changes how you view things, and if you’re like many, you’ll use what you learn in school daily. It’s not so much that you apply a formula to a problem, remember some passage in a book or quote some theory. It’s more about how you think with a broader perspective and interact with the world in a different way when you graduate.

Now if you’re going back to learn a trade, I applaud you. People who have experience and recent education in the trades are not only in short supply, you’ll pick up skills you can use not only in your professional life, but your personal one as well perhaps. When you don’t have to call an electrician or auto mechanic for minor repairs, you’ll save money and feel empowered too.

School isn’t for everyone granted. What is? This doesn’t mean however that because you heard from a friend that it didn’t work for them that it won’t work for you. It can be a welcomed change to a frustrating job search to be connected with other people in a classroom who are interested in what is being taught just like you. You’re also likely to find that it isn’t as bad as you first imagined either. You wake up and you’ve got somewhere to be, at a certain time, and it’s motivating you to get into a good routine. You’re likely to apply your earlier work and life experience in the classroom too, and your marks might just be higher than you ever thought possible.

When you do finish school, you’ll emerge with something new and something current to stick on that résumé of yours. You’ll feel confidence like you haven’t in some time too because your education was rather dated prior to school. Now if you did your homework before you even started by asking some questions, you picked a course of education that has an upswing in employment. There are jobs out there and you’ll feel optimistic about your chances.

Oh and should you be deciding to upgrade your current education in your field, how can that do anything but help you? Now you’ve got extensive experience and learning of best practices, latest trends and you’ve got credentials once more.  Remember, education is never a bad thing, and the investment you choose to make in yourself will stay with you, unlike a purchase you make in a car that loses its value the second you drive off the lot.

Looking For Work?


Not long ago, I was watching this fellow staring at the jobs on a board. I watched him scan the jobs for about 3 or 4 minutes and then he took one down and made a photocopy of it. Curious, I asked him what job he had selected and why that one.

He had to look at the posting and read me the job title. His reason for choosing this one was – and I quote – “I dunno. Why not? It’s as good as any other; there’ll all the same.” He then took his résumé and sent it to the email as requested by the employer. The whole process was about 10 minutes from first finding the job to having applied.

If your own job search is similar to this fellow’s, my guess is you’ve had a hard time finding truly satisfying work; a job or career that’s a great fit.

Here’s some factors to consider in the hunt for your next job:

  1. Know the purpose of the work you’ll do. This is more than just reading what you’ll do in a job posting. Look into why you’ll be doing the job and how what you’ll be doing contributes to the overall organization. When you understand the purpose of your work, your own value rises; successful people always know the purpose of what they do.
  2. Know your own work values. If you don’t even understand this one, get some guidance from an Employment Counsellor or Coach and define the things that you hold as highly valued. When you go looking for work, you can then ask questions to find the things an employer values and see how these will fit with respect to your own. Find a good fit and the probability of a good match increases significantly.
  3. Find a job that plays to your strengths. You have to know yourself well enough to understand what your strengths are in the first place, and of all your strengths, know which ones you really want to use most in your next job. When you do more of the things you’re good at, the likelihood that you’ll do well increases.
  4. Work with a boss or supervisor whose style you can thrive with. Most job seekers never even remotely consider the management style of the boss they’ll work under next, or if they do, they just hope it works out. Even when they’ve had a poor experience with a terrible supervisor, not many think to look into the leadership style of the next person they’ll report to. Make some inquiries, ask questions of people they supervise now.
  5. Know your value. Sure we all would like to make a lot of money, but what’s your objective value in the marketplace? Your year’s of experience, level of education and how dated that education is are just some of the factors that will go into determining the level of salary you can reasonably expect.
  6. While it might sound odd and a waste of your time, know your philosophy as it pertains to work. If you think you don’t have one, let me tell you that you really do, you just haven’t put it into words. The things you value are excellent clues about what guides you in the work you do, the decisions you make, the way you view the world around you. Find a job where your work philosophy is a natural fit and you’ll be so much more satisfied. Ever had a job you just couldn’t continue with because you didn’t agree with the way the employer went about things? That was really a conflict between your philosophy and theirs.
  7. As for your weak areas – and it’s natural to have them – don’t choose to work in a job where your weaknesses will expose you to being fired. If you’re not a people person, don’t work in Customer Relations! While working on improving yourself in areas you know you’re not strong is good, you’ll do best if the job plays more to your strengths.
  8. Know what motivates you. This next job is one you’ll be at presumably 7 or more hours a day and maybe 35 or more hours a week. The things that motivate you both personally and professionally should align in some way with this new job. Are you motivated by time with family? Then don’t choose a career or job that takes you away from them excessively such as on weekends and nights. You won’t last. If you’re motivated by money or security, look at the salary; the potential salary and is the length of your stay fixed at the start or in your own hands to determine based on your performance?
  9. Look at the commute. How are you going to get to this job? If you rely on transit, don’t waste many people’s time applying for jobs you’ll turn down or quit after two days because of distance. This might sound obvious, but many people suddenly realize things are too hard to get to. Take a trip before applying and imagine it 5 days a week.
  10. Find a fit with co-workers. Certain jobs, certain fields of work, attract people of similar beliefs, interests and personalities. Know what makes you tick, the things you like and don’t like in how you interact with co-workers. These are much more important than you might now believe.

Not a complete list for sure, but factors to think about. Comments?