Finding a job that you love is the goal of many, but few people are taught how to actually achieve it.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American workers average eleven jobs over the course of a lifetime, with this number projected to rise throughout the careers of Millennials and Gen-Zs. That’s at least eleven (if not more) chances to land your dream job if you know how to prepare.
Shifting toward work you love is a multi-step process. For most people, it takes a fair amount of trial and error to learn what kind of culture they want to work in and discover the daily activities that inspire them.
Some of your worst jobs are meant to serve as learning experiences that send you in the opposite direction. That too is part of the process.
But even once you have a clear idea about the kind of work you want to do, landing a job you love is easier said than done.
If you’re in that position today, where you know what you want and are ready to get started, here are three tips to help you attract better opportunities and push for that perfect fit.
3. Negotiate your job description
If you’ve followed the first two tips, you will enter discussions about new jobs from a position of power. You aren’t desperate to take anything that comes your way and the company likely sought you out because of your unique expertise.
Use this opportunity to negotiate the terms of your job throughout the process, and not just at the end.
Companies always have a business need to fill, but there is often flexibility on how exactly the need gets met. Sometimes they’ll reshape the role or add additional responsibilities for the right candidate.
During your initial discussions with a recruiter or a hiring manger, stay in listening mode to understand the business problem they are trying to address and any cultural norms you need to keep in mind.
As you move deeper in the process, don’t be afraid to share what parts of the job interest you most and ask for additional career or work-life enhancements (e.g. a higher title or the ability to partially work from home) that would turn their open position into the job you’d love.
Remember, any new opportunity has to be superior to the job you already have or it isn’t worth taking. Resist the urge to take a new job just because you’re flattered by the company’s interest or worry about when the next offer might come your way.
Finding a job you love is not for the faint of heart. You have to stand firm to your priorities and that often means letting a good job pass you by because it isn’t right for you.
Believing in yourself and being patient are perhaps the hardest but most important career skills to learn. One of the main reasons that most people don’t achieve the goal of finding work they love is an inability to trust that with sustained effort, a great job will materialize. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Tips 1,2, and the complete Forbes article