Three Exercises to Find the Perfect Job

by Stefan Secker

Dream Job Sign

When looking for jobs people often think about the money first, or worse, they think about what they ‘can and can’t do’. While it is important, basing your jobsearch on this is a surefire recipe for unhappiness and failure, so do it at your own risk. If you want to make sure to work at a job that fits your strengths and interests perfectly and pays a lot as a consequence, I have three awesome exercises for you.

1st Exercise: Define Yourself

In order to find the jobs that suits you, you have to know yourself first (duh). Everyone says they know themselves, yet most people are focussing on the wrong things when defining themselves. If you ask someone to describe himself, he will most likely tell you something like: “Well, I’m a fireman.” or  “I’m a professional breakdancer and family man.” That’s right, people use their jobs to describe themselves even though it should be the other way round. Chances are that there are many jobs that suit you, but you have to start with yourself. So, if you’re defining yourself, what should you be focussing on then?

Here’s a little list:

Steps to find your dream job

On the ‘Good’ side, you see things that are internal on the ‘Bad’ side you see things are arbitrary and external. Now, write a paragraph (at least 200 words) about who you are while thinking about the good things. Who did you want to become as a kid? What do you value? What are you good at? And as crazy at it may sound: What do you actually enjoy doing?

Don’t think about other people’s opinions during this exercise, because you if you do you come up with definitions that others have about you, not your own. Achievements and failures can give you a clue about your strengths, but they are too specific and arbitrary to define you. Your weaknesses are irrelevant for this exercise, forget about them for the moment. Don’t limit yourself by judging what comes to mind, but associate freely. No false modesty, think big.

I don’t want to go on rambling about how awesome I am for a whole paragraph, but for the sake of giving you an example, here are some points I would write about:

Childhood:

I’m an inventor, I make things. Especially movies and other media stuff.

Values:

Creativity, absurdity, abundance, winning,

Joy:

For some reason I love marketing, especially branding. I’m motivated by things that have potential for exponential growth and bored by safety. I like video games and playing guitar, too.

Strengths:

I’m good with words and numbers and at drawing and music…

Everyone's good at something.

And I am really, really, really good-looking.
Picture: Pink Cowboy Photography

If you want a complete example of how this might look like check out what my buddy Matt wrote.

2nd Exercise: Your Ideal Day

For this exercise you have to write a paragraph again. This time it will be a description of your ideal day from start to finish. What will you be doing in the morning the evening and all the time in between? Again, there are things to think about that are more useful and things that will be less useful.

Here’s the list:

Ideal day

When defining their ideal day, I can already hear people get all excited and say: “Well at first I would get really drunk and then blow all my money on coke and hookers YOLO!” While that may sound like fun, it’s not the point of this exercise because it’s not sustainable. This is why, when your’e writing about your perfect day, you should be focussing on the long term. That is, would you still do it if you had to do it every day for the next ten years? Good questions to ask yourself are:

Where do you want to live? A big house? A big city? In a cabin in the woods?

Which people would you like to hang out with every day?

Which activities would you like to be doing?

What Impact would you like to have?

If you’re smart you noticed that all those questions have a LOT to do with your job, because that’s where you spend a lot of time. Knowing what you want to be doing is the most important thing when looking for a job.

The pitfalls with this exercise are being too specific or too general. If you’re too specific you limit yourself and if you’re too general you don’t have enough focus to know what to go after. Doing this exercise will tell your subconscious mind what to go after and opportunities will show up. Here’s an example of a perfect day.

Perfect day

I googled ‘perfect day’ and this is what I found.

3rd Exercise: Your Ideal Job Title

So now you have defined who you are and what your ideal day would look like. Now it’s time to see if there are any jobs out there that fit your description. You can check out LinkedIn for Job descriptions and search according to your preferences. Here’s the link. Furthermore you can also browse jobs on Monster.com and search by keywords. Be inspired by what you wrote earlier. Rembember, the point is not to apply for jobs right now over Monster or LinkedIn, the goal is to find  3-5 job descriptions that fit your personal profile.

That’s it for today, good luck.

One response on “Three Exercises to Find the Perfect Job

  1. […] to go in your career. It helps to have a good idea of what you value and what you're good at (more on that here). Then take a look at your "Where I am" document and ask yourself […]

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