There are two integral items here in play—finding a job and finding one that fits what you value. What initially doesn’t seem to be covered in this article is how to find your dream career.
But here’s the thing: If you find a job that aligns with your core values, you are well on your way to developing your dream career.
Sure, there are plenty of factors that make up the perfect career, but jobs based on values are the only ones that evolve into an engaging and sustainable career. Why is that? Because values drive a healthy workplace and a positive culture, two important aspects of career alignment.
So, how do you get started finding jobs based on values and landing one that is, or can evolve into, your dream career?
Start by closing your laptop and shutting down your phone so you can dig deep into your psyche and unearth the values you hold dear. Then, brainstorm creative strategies for finding jobs based on these values.
5 Steps to Find a Job Based on Your Values
To help you get rolling, here are five steps you can take to find your dream career.
1. Identify Your Key Values
It’s not easy to find jobs based on values if you don’t know what it is you value. Take some time to think about what is important to you and what others see that you prioritize in your life. This could range from work-life balance to corporate cultures where employees take ethics and accountability seriously.
Maybe you value time or collaboration, or an organization that prioritizes caring for the environment and giving back to the community. Honesty, clear communication, trust, optimism, personal success, and development may also be values you hold dear and would like to see implemented and prioritized.
Many companies have value statements or a list of values that they’ve collectively developed and consider integral in how they operate. They also use these values in the hiring and promotion process. Unfortunately, there are also many organizations that declare their set of values but don’t uphold them or turn a blind eye when employees breach them. In doing so, they lose trust and team members.
Finding jobs based on values may take some internal sleuthing to determine if they walk the talk and align with what you’ve identified as key values.
2. Develop Your Litmus Test
Everyone should have a list of “must-haves” to ascertain a job’s fit. These also come in hand when negotiating.
While it’s rare to find a job that meets all your requirements, one that meets most of your “must-haves” is something worth considering. Your litmus test should be robust and, of course, include your values.
Metrics like salary levels, locations, work assignments, benefits, tuition reimbursement, other perks, and logistical requirements are also integral elements of your litmus test and should be prioritized for a healthy negotiation.
Walking away with a job offer that hits most of these items is exciting and empowering. But remember that it’s a negotiation, so there will be sacrifices. But you should never sacrifice your personal philosophies when looking for jobs that align with your values.
What you value shouldn’t be compromised. Otherwise, it will be difficult to perform at your very best.
3. Create Your Search Plan
Now that you know what you want and what you need, it’s time to find jobs based on values. I always recommend working with a career coach who can hold you accountable and help you craft a targeted job search plan that gets real results.
Regardless of who or what you utilize to help you stay focused and on point, remember that you have to have a robust plan. This doesn’t mean simply scrolling around on LinkedIn or other job search sites. Instead, it includes making connections, building a mutually beneficial network—that means you give, too—and getting to know the culture inside your target companies.
You can’t find a job that aligns with your values simply by looking at a job description. You need to take a peek inside, and see if it aligns with your values. You can only do that by either volunteering, talking to team members, or informational interviewing.
This takes courage because it means face-to-face interactions. But guess what? This approach not only helps you find jobs based on values but also opens the door wider for you as an applicant.
4. Launch Your Values Plan
Remember, this is a big difference between planning and doing. Some job seekers get stuck in the planning phase and avoid doing the necessary work to unearth jobs based on values. One way to get out of that rut is to be proactive.
Dream careers are realized when you lead with your values. In other words, instead of simply floating resumes out there, share what you value and build interest and intrigue.
Use social media to develop a following and expertise around what is important to you. By reposting articles, writing posts, and sharing blogs that celebrate your values, you become someone to connect with and someone who stands on principles. It also helps you build your brand.
This reverse engineering of the job search is one of the best ways to find jobs based on values and build a network of people, including employers who share your priorities.
5. Stick to Your Values
Your values are reflected in how you act, what you prioritize, how you communicate, and the results you achieve in the work that you do. When you declare “discipline” as a value but show up late for work, there’s a contradiction.
You want to inspire confidence and trust in who you are, so knowing your values and sticking to them is important to success. Yes, they may evolve over time, but that’s okay. That is an indication of emotional maturity and self-awareness.
You want to stick to your values not only when you look for a job but also during the job search. If during an interview or in a networking engagement you are asked to behave in a way that doesn’t align with what you value, this is a red flag. This is also a sign of disrespect.
Pushing one’s values on another or disregarding them entirely is not a healthy way to operate. Not only do values make the person, but they also make the organization.
Culture represents the outward display of employee and leader values. Asking about company culture in an interview will give you some indication if they align with your own. Stick to your values, and avoid taking a job that doesn’t align with them.
No one should ever sacrifice their values for anything. While it’s important to be nimble and flexible and willing to bend, this doesn’t equate to compromising what you hold dear.
For example, if you’re working for a company that prioritizes work-life balance and a big project forces everyone to work overtime, you don’t need to quit. It’s the flexibility that is honored here. You may lose a little off-time, but once the goal is met, you can reset and rebalance.
Rigidity has no place in a value-focused job search, only healthy compromise. Again, that doesn’t mean sacrificing anything. But if you are asked to do something dishonest and honesty is a value you hold sacred, then you need to speak up.
Regardless of your age, your career, and your industry, it’s important to have values. Few people can outline what they are, so that’s why identifying your values is integral to finding jobs based on values. It also helps you figure out what you don’t want. These two overarching reasons to search for jobs based on values will make your job hunt easier and will guide you toward your dream career.
Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com