Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Job Hunt Exercise

Many times, we ask ourselves whether we are in the correct job.

Fret not, I have been in that situation many times.

After reading a book on searching for one's dream job, I discovered that the perfect job hunt actually entails discovering about who YOU are as a person and not so much about discovering that DREAM JOB.

So here are some simple exercises that you can take to discover who you really are and from this exercise, you will be better able to identify which jobs are likely to suit you.

Exercise #1 - Identify Your Favorite Skill

Just list them down in order of priority. Seven favorite skills would be a good number.

To make it even easier, skills can be broken down into 3 categories: People, Information and Things.

Some people prefer exercising skills on people. This include communicating, negotiating, presenting, mentoring, supervising, etc.

Some people are more comfortable with information. They like to read, write, analyse, compare.

Some people are good with things. They can fix cars, they know how to fix computers, etc

List down your favorite skills in order. From these 3 data sets (People, Information and Things), you are likely to find that your favorite skills perhaps revolve around one of these data sets. For me, I love to deal with information. I like to read, analyse and write.

Exercise #2 - Find Your Favorite Field.

While you might like to read and write and analyse data, this is only the beginning of identifying what job out there suits you. The problem is that there are SO MANY jobs out there that deals with reading and writing and stuff.

The key then is to find out what is your favorite field defined by your favorite interests. If you can't think of any field or favorite interests, look at the books you read; or the websites you surf; or the conversations you most enjoy getting into. What do these topics revolve around?

To make it easier for you, if you were going to spend the rest of your life on a deserted island with somebody, what topics or knowledge do you hope to be able to converse with that person about? Is it theology? Is it philosophy? Is it money?

Zoom into what you really like to do. Don't be bounded by social conventions or what people think you like to do because of what you have studied in school.

To give an example, a person might have the favorite skill of analysing information and the best field he enjoys to practice this skill would be in the field of finance.

I love analysing information but certainly not in the field of cooking or sewing... so you get the gist.

Exercise #3 - Geography (Country or City)

Most people have probably spent their entire life in a certain country or city. However, just because you stay there does not mean that your dream job can be found there. Sometimes, your dream job could be located in another country or city.

Afterall, where you choose to use your favorite skills in your favorite fields also has to coincide with your favorite location.

If you hate hot weather, you will not get much joy employing your favorite skills in your favorite field in Sunny Singapore.

So make a list of all the places you have lived before or stayed at. What do you like about it? What do you hate about it?

Now translate all the "hate" items into things that are positive.

For example, I hate the fast pace of life in Singapore. But the positive side of it is that because life is so fast pace, things are very efficient down here.

This list of likes will then form a picture of the ideal location where you should be exercising your favorite skill in your favorite field.

For me, the things I look for in a good location are these:


1. Good Food
2. Politically Stable
3. Safe for my family
4. Efficient
5. Scenery
6. Peaceful

All these should give you an idea of the ideal location your dream job can be located at.



Exercise #4 - In an Environment filled with...



Who are the people you would love to work with?

Do you prefer sociable people or analytical people?

Do you want them to speak English or Chinese?

Do you want them to be task focused or people focused?

Of course, in every office environment, you will most probably find a mix of all types of people.

However, if you know that you are more comfortable around males who speak English and who are all analytical people, you certainly would not be comfortable in a totally female environment who speaks Mandarin and are all just sociable people. I hope you get the gist.

Finding out who you are comfortable with has a large part to do with your job hunt. After all, if you don't fit in, you will be spending large amounts of your waking hours with people that you can't get along with.

Exercise #5 Your Favorite Values

Your values are what you hope to be remembered for.

Just imagine that you are attending your own funeral. What are the things that you hope people remember you for?

Do you hope to be remembered for being a good contributor to the country?

Do you hope to be remembered for your gentle laughter and your kind words?

Do you hope to be remembered for your great wealth and the things that you have acquired?

Do you hope to be remembered because you made a difference in people's lives?

Or do you wish to be remembered as somebody who was prominent in your field of work?

Everyone has different values. Don't let others judge your values. Your values are what you truly value in life. And your dream job should help you accomplish those values to a certain extent.

Exercise #6 - At What Salary and What Level of Responsibility

Find out what is the minimum amount of salary you can survive on. This will form the minimum base salary that you ask for. The maxium salary can of course be any figure that you are dreaming of.

For the level of responsibility that you are comfortable with, it depends whether you wish to hold a leadership position or be simply a follower. Or perhaps, you would like to work in a team of equals or perhaps just lead a small team instead of a huge team.

All these are based on what you enjoy doing and not on other people's projection or opinion of you.

Just because you used to be a manager does not mean that you enjoy managing people.

Conclusion

After completing these 6 exercises, you should have a much clearer picture of who you are as an individual.

The key now is to find a job that will fulfill as many of those criteria as possible.

Of course, now and then, some person might get a perfect job fit.

At least with this information, you are better able to understand how each job fits you and does not fit you too. In this manner, you are able to prioritise and enter the job with both eyes open on what it can and cannot give you.

This exercise is about knowing YOURSELF. It is not about what other people know about you. It is about who you really are and what you really want out of your life. So no use lying while doing the exercise as the only person you will be lying to will be yourself.

Hope that all you readers will find this exercise useful regardless of whatever career stage you are at.

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