Learn To Love What You’re Doing By Learning What You Love To Do

Learn To Love What You’re Doing By Learning What You Love To Do

People always say if you love what you’re doing it doesn’t feel like work. That’s all well and good if you know what you love and you’re able to find a job doing it. But what about if there simply isn’t something you absolutely love doing? What then?

 

Figure out what you’re good at

 

Now although it would be great to actually LOVE what you decide to do professionally, that may not always be possible. Let’s say you love skydiving. Well you could probably get a job doing tandem jumps with people who want to learn how to leap out of planes, but it may not be something you want to do as your day job. Rather than focusing strictly on the things you love you can broaden the field by including things you like doing.

 

People enjoy doing what they’re good at

 

In general people enjoy doing things they’re good at. By determining a few things you are good at, you can start to create your job search around those.

 

Figuring out what you’re good at is lifelong quest for some people, while for others it’s like something that was set from the moment of birth. If you are one who doesn’t really feel drawn to anything, then try new things!

 

Trying volunteering in assorted places. Read more books. Put yourself in situations outside of your regular routine. Meet with people you don’t normally associate with. Take classes in things you’d like to know more about.

 

Explore avenues you wouldn’t normally consider

 

Try things and learn things until you find something that makes you happy, and follow in that direction. What makes you happy doesn’t have to lead directly into a job but it can inform it!

 

If you love meeting people, maybe you’d enjoy a job in sales. If you love music, you could be a sound engineer or a manager. Once you pin down the sorts of things that get you excited, figure out the sorts of jobs that could possibly allow you to get paid to do them.

 

Remember, no job has to be a forever job. It’s okay to try a lot of different jobs when you’re young – or even when you’re older. Some people decide to change careers entirely later in life. Sometimes they cash out of high paying careers into more modest jobs because happiness is more important at that point than more accumulated wealth.

 

Find fulfillment in your career

 

Finding what you’re good at and what makes you happy can take years, but it’s worth it. Feeling

fulfilled is so important in your career, and by putting your mind to it, it’s certainly something you can do.

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Not Sure If You Should Apply?

Not Sure If You Should Apply?

 

Sometimes you see a job listing and you are absolutely sure you would be a shoe in for the job. Your qualifications and experiences line up perfectly with the job description. All you have to do is research the company and customize your resume and cover letter to fit this job and send.

 

Not an exact fit

Then there are times when it’s less cut and dry. You don’t have all the qualifications they’re looking for. Your experiences are similar to what they’re looking for, but you can’t go down the list of requirements and put a checkmark beside each one.

 

However, you believe you could do this job. Not just that, you believe you could excel at it. Should you apply anyway? Here are a few things to think about.

 

How do your skills match up?

Read the job description carefully. Imagine what a typical day would involve. What tasks would you be required to perform? How would you interact with other people? Have you done similar things in the past? Will the skills you have enable you to do the job? Could they help bring a new perspective to the position?

 

Do you fit most of the requirements?

The requirements listed for a job are often an ideal set of qualifications and experiences the employer is looking for, but it doesn’t mean every one of them is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the position. If you have the majority of the skills listed, then don’t hesitate to apply. Qualifications can be learned. Potential is inherent in the person.

 

Think about transferable skills

The answers to the above questions will make up the body of your cover letter. Talk about the skills you have and how they can be transferred to help you excel in this role. Use them to help the hiring manager see the benefits of giving you an interview. From there it’s up to you to make the case for your potential in person.

Not All Great Interviews Lead To A Job

Not All Great Interviews Lead To A Job

You did everything right prior to your interview. Your experience and ambitions lined up perfectly with the job. You researched the company. Had pithy things to say about them and about yourself. You came home and told your partner it was just a matter of days before the good news came.

 

And then instead of good news, you got rejected! Everything was so great! You wonder what you could possibly have done better.

 

The sad fact is, not all great interviews lead to a job. Sometimes the situation has nothing to do with you or your qualifications. It’s them not you.

 

A change in the job description

There are times when you have a strong idea about the direction you see for a project. Then once you start working on it you realize things aren’t going to work out as expected and you have to change direction. The same thing can sometimes happen to a company. They put out a posting for a certain job and then something changes and they realize they need to fill a different sort of position altogether.

 

Experiences and qualifications of other candidates

If you felt good about your experiences and qualifications, chances are you were perfectly qualified to do the job. However, you don’t know what other candidates brought to the table. One of them may have experiences that while not directly related to the job, made everyone look at the position from another perspective. Someone’s experience of teaching abroad for a year might give them an up on the communication skills front.

 

They already had someone else in mind

It could be that the company already had someone in mind for the job before ever posting the position. Someone from inside. Or someone who had some sort of association with them. There might also be someone inside the company pulling for a specific candidate.

 

Personality clash

You probably don’t hit it off with every single person you meet. Through no fault of your own it could be that the interviewer simply didn’t get the warm and fuzzies during your interview. If that’s the case it most likely wouldn’t have been a good fit in the long run anyway. You spend too much time at work for personality clashes to be an issue.

 

On the bright side you had a great interview. Bring the confidence of that into your next one.

Time To Face Up To The Things You Are Avoiding

Time To Face Up To The Things You Are Avoiding

There are things I must do every day. Things I absolutely can’t avoid because my job depends on them. There are others that I should do – also because my job depends on them, but are less time dependent. Beyond those are things I should do to advance myself personally as well as professionally. Things in the second and third category can get passed along for days or weeks or sometimes months at a time.

 

Always putting out fires

So often it comes to pass that the only way things in the second and third category get done is because they have suddenly moved up to category one. At that point I often I turn into Chicken Little, running around crying, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.” I’ve avoided things to the point where it’s do or die and it actually feels like the sky is falling.

 

Putting things off indefinitely always catches up to you

Putting things off indefinitely is not a way to get them done. Avoiding them also, unsurprisingly doesn’t work. Eventually we must, as they say, pay the piper. Rather than facing tasks or obligations or goals from a position of stress and fear, learn to deal with them before the sky starts falling.

 

Make yourself accountable for your distractions

We all have fall back methods for avoiding what we should be doing. We might check email fifteen times a day instead of the three we actually only need to get through the day. Maybe Facebook is your weakness, or the ten or so online sites you like to check in on regularly.

 

It doesn’t matter what you turn for distraction, the key is noticing when you do it. When you find yourself drifting from what you know you should be doing, stop and ask. Why am I doing this right now? Recognize your tendencies and call yourself out on them.

 

What are you avoiding?

When we don’t want to do something on our list we automatically find anything else to focus on. When you find yourself tying up your running shoes, yet again, rather than face the task at hand, ask yourself why. Are you afraid of the difficulty of the task? Success? Failure? The time involvement? Once you define your reasons for staying away it becomes easier to break them down and get past them.

 

Take the first step

Once you’ve broken down the reasons behind your avoidance take one step forward. You don’t need to complete the entire task in one sitting, but you can certainly do something. Set yourself a time limit. Say I will work on this for fifteen minutes (or half an hour, or two hours). Make a dent. Show yourself that you can get past the walls you’ve set around yourself.

 

Eventually instead of looking at your Twitter feed you’ll look up instead. And see the blue skies, staying right where they are above your head while you are getting your work done!

Avoid Saying The Wrong Things During A Job Interview

Avoid Saying The Wrong Things During A Job Interview

Everyone knows there are things you can say during a job interview that will get you all kinds of brownie points.  For example, a demonstrated knowledge of the company you’re applying with that includes noteworthy facts you gleaned during your research. A well thought out plan for how you plan to evolve with the company that weaves your experiences in with the trajectory the company is already on.

 

Then there are things you can say that will essentially end the interview well before that final handshake.

 

Undemonstrated motivation

When asked about your positive qualities you definitely want to convey how motivated you are. However how you express that motivation can either make the interviewer sit up in interest or send them off into a daydream about lunch. If you say “I’m highly motivated,” and leave it at that, you’re essentially not saying anything of note to the interviewer. A truly motivated person talks about achievements. They talk about skills. They convey exactly how they are going to change the world around them to the best of their abilities.

 

Empty words

If an interviewer asks you about your weaknesses and you say you are a perfectionist what are they supposed to take away from that? No matter what the question, dig deep and find an answer that shines a light on your potential. Approach it from the standpoint of measurable improvement. What you did in a given situation, what you learned from it, how you improved, how you would approach a similar situation now.

 

Lack of interest

You know the interviewer is going to ask if you have any questions. Maybe the interview ends and you are totally satisfied with everything you heard. You feel great about what you said and you’re pretty sure you’re a shoe in for the job. So you answer, “No, I don’t have any questions,” and all your good work slams into a bad answer.

 

Having no questions indicates a lack of interest in the job and the interviewer – whether that’s what you actually meant or not. Always have questions ready to ask. Raise the expectations and interest as you close off your interview. Don’t bring them to a grinding halt!

 

Discussing vacations at the wrong time

Obviously, benefits like vacation time are important considerations for any job, however there is a time for that discussion and it’s not during your initial interview. If you bring it up too soon you’re telling the interviewer that you’re more interested in what the job can do for them than what you can do for the job. If there’s a second interview that’s the time to discuss vacation time, otherwise save it for negotiations.

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

You are on a job search. You will most likely eventually be asked for references. The time to prepare for that is now, before your interviews start. Not in a knee jerk response for a request.

 

The basics

At minimum a potential employer will want to confirm you had the job you say you had. They’ll ask about your dates of employment and title. They might also ask what you were like as an employee. Were you punctual? Did you take initiative? What was your attitude like?

 

If you provide a reference that will only give the basics, then don’t expect any fireworks on the part of your prospective employer. You want your references to be able to speak highly and positively about skills and experiences, but you also want them to hold credibility. The singing praises of your cubical mate aren’t going to get you far. The same words from a supervisor are good. If your previous boss is willing to vouch for you that’s even better. If you are a recent grad a professor can attest to your abilities and drive. In general, you want to have two or three professional references you can count on as references.

 

Credibility factor

When thinking about people we could call on as references, it’s important to consider how much weight their words will carry. If your reference is an expert in something related to what you are applying for that’s amazing. Someone who has seen you do (and excel at) a variety of different things will be able to speak confidently about your abilities.

 

Prepare them well in advance

The time to let someone know you are including them as a reference is early on in your job search. Give them time to think about you and what you can bring to the table. When you know they might be called on, give them a call. Let them know the kind of job you are applying for and the sorts of things you would like them to focus on. Confirm when it would be convenient for someone to contact them so they have time to give the reference their full attention.

 

Now that you’ve prepared your references, go out and get yourself in a position to need them!

To Do and Not To Do Following a Job Interview

To Do and Not To Do Following a Job Interview

You had a job interview and you’re pretty sure everything went well. You had done your research and had noteworthy things to say about the company. You showcased your accomplishments well with quantitative examples of how you brought your experiences to bear in your last job. Now that the job interview is done, should you just sit around and play the waiting game?  Not quite. There are things you still need to do and others you should definitely not do.

 

Thank you

The thank you note isn’t something you  do post interview. It is the final step of the interview.  Always do send a thank you note. Whether you think the interview was a success or a failure, send it. Within twenty four hours of the interview.

 

Follow up with references

Do remember to follow up with your references. The last thing you want is for an excited prospective employer to call up a reference and for the reference to have to scramble for something to say!

 

Use social media as a sounding board

Maybe the interview didn’t go as well as you hoped. Or you weren’t impressed with the company or the person interviewing you. That is information you either keep to yourself or possibly tell a close friend in private. It is absolutely not anything you should ever post on social media for the world at large to see. If there is anything you wouldn’t be very happy for a potential employer to read that you said or did, do not put it on social media for someone to find. Make sure your online presence is a professional as your professional presence.

 

Maintain professional interactions

Following the interview, you may want to follow up with the prospective employer. Maybe they seemed really eager and you can’t understand what’s taking so long. Beware of being too aggressive in your follow up. Also, don’t take the chill vibe you felt during the interview as an indication that it would be alright to get all informal during your post interview follow up.

 

All interactions with prospective employers must be as professional as they were the first moment you stepped through the door the first time.

 

Until you have an offer in hand keep looking

Based on your amazing interview, you might think you’ve got this whole job offer thing all sewn up. Until someone contacts you with an offer you are as unemployed as you were before the interview. Don’t sit back and wait for an offer that may never come. Stay proactive and ensure one does come!