I was unemployed for six months. I had no idea what I wanted to do or even how to figure it out. I took time to travel, you know, to “find myself“. I sat around my parents house watching TV with my dog…all day, everyday. I was completely stuck, burnt out from my previous job, and far from confident in my skills and abilities. I chose to be unemployed. I decided to quit my job before I had anything else lined up and move home to my parents. Everything was my choice.
Now, I’m in a job I really love. I work for an organization where I believe in it’s mission, feel inspired by the work I do, and feel grateful for my colleagues and mentors. And I got here by complete chance. So why would you trust anything I’m saying about how to find a job you’re passionate about? You probably shouldn’t, honestly. But after my time in my current role, I’ve learned a lot about companies and various workplaces. And, after a lot of reflection on my time as “funemployed” I can now see where I went wrong and what would have helped me along the way.
Finding a job you’re passionate about is a luxury. For some people, a job is a job and it allows you to pay rent, feed your family, and go about your day — and I get that. Working to make money is necessary. I wouldn’t be working where I worked if I didn’t get paid. I mean, I’m not rolling in the dough, but overall, I can survive on what I make and it’s honestly a perk that I love it as well. But, if you’re in a place where you’re ready to take the next step and find a job that is more than just a job, keep reading. If you’re in a place where a job is a job and you find your joy and passions outside of work, great! Keep reading to at least get my views up (hah, just kidding…or am I?)
These are my tips & tricks to finding a job you’re passionate about:
Determine your values
What’s important to you when thinking of a job? Maybe it’s being provided good benefits, receiving a generous amount of PTO, or being able to take time off to volunteer. Find a company that aligns with what you care about and what will overall bring you the most happiness. When I was looking for a job, I wrote out a check list of things I wanted from a company:
- Generous Personal Time Off so I can travel
- Structure in my schedule (with some flexibility)
- Benefits – medical, dental, long term, etc.
- Growth opportunities / professional development
- Puts me in a space where I am a part of something bigger than myself
- Not just a job
Take the time to research
I didn’t know how to research companies when I was job hunting. I simply scrolled through Indeed and saw what was available to me. I didn’t look into companies until I had seen a posting from them on my job search sites. Now, I understand how to look into a company and see if it’s even an environment that would fit my personality and work ethic. When researching, look into these things:
- What’s the companies mission statement and core values?
- What charities does the company support?
- What’s the company’s history?
- What does the company sell or produce?
- Who is the CEO and what is their history?
Be okay applying for positions you’re over- or under-qualified for
This can be tough. When I got to a place of desperation in my job hunt (seriously, I needed to make money) I started applying for any and everything. And that’s what ultimately lead me to my current role. When I was interviewing for the coordinator position at my company, the man on the phone said multiple times “I think you’re overqualified for this position…but it is a good foot in the door. Are you okay with that?” and I said yes. I had looked into the organization, connected with it’s mission, and knew it was the next place for me to work.
Ask for company recommendations from friends and family
Go to the people who know you best and ask them where they see you working. It’s amazing the thoughtful responses you’ll get. When I asked around to my friends, they all said “dog shelters”, “an organization that helps others”, ” a place where you work with students or young adults”. They knew my heart and what I loved. They recommended places they had heard of through friends or connections they have. They opened their LinkedIn’s and started messaging connections for me. They were my very own recruiters.
Be thoughtful in your application
When filling out your cover letter or finalizing your resume, are you just adding your generic responses? Or are you telling your story through your letter? I tailored every cover letter and resume to the job I was applying for. I made sure I showed my personality through my words and my actions. I picked the positions I had previously had that showed I was the right fit. I wrote about the challenges and the successes I faced. And I always brought it back to their mission. One lesson I learned in college was to take the position description and use the key words within it in your own cover letter and application. Take this job description posted on my organizations site right now, it mentions we’re looking for someone who is:
- Engaging in various ways
- A partner internally and externally
So when you’re writing you’re cover letter, you’re going to share a time when you were accountable, responsible and collaborative. Then you’re going to connect it to how it led you to be engaging and a partner to internal and external partners on the project or task.
And you know what’s fun, this might not work for you. Or you’ll do everything I said, accept a position, and it still might not be the right fit – and that’s okay! All you have to do is be willing to take a chance and let someone else take a chance on you. When you’re going through the interview process, allow yourself to be nervous, but also recognize they want you to be the right fit just as much as you do. Ask your questions. Be present in the moment and open up about yourself. Show them who you are.
I’ll leave you with this piece of advice from a career counselor and my friend, Michelle:
People try to make careers linear. However, people change. Interests change. Passions change. You change. Your job needs to be more than just something where you use your skills. You need to think about your values, your interests, your hobbies, or what kind of contribution you want to make. The key to finding where you should go is through self-exploration. Try something that scares you, fail forward, make mistakes, go someplace new, or try a new hobby. Once you’ve done that, take the time to reflect on that experience and let it guide you forward. Life is unexpected, you can either let it shape you or you can shape it.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. If anyone is interested in the above job posting, let me know!
P.P.S. I am NOT an expert in any of this, but I try my best to give advice