Your job will likely influence your happiness more than any aspect of your life outside of your family. Not much is likely to influence your family more than your job. Finding a great position with a great company is a worthwhile challenge.
The following are some tips to help you find the right place for you.
Phase I: Know yourself
It is vitally important that you really take a look at yourself. In order to find a company and a position that will be a good fit, you’ll want to be honest with yourself about what makes you happy, what holds your interest, fires your passion and makes you feel like you’re contributing what you can and should to the world.
Strengths Finder 2.0 is a great book to both help you understand the concepts of building on strengths rather than constantly battling weaknesses (building strengths is basically a lot more fun) but it will also help you identify your strengths.
Phase II: Know the market
In order to find the right company, you need to have a sense of the context of the job market — especially in the sector that interests you. Using publicly available information you can find with a quick Google search, you can gather data about wage rates and unemployment rates in your field. By understanding this information before you begin searching for a company or a position, you’ll be able to more easily recognize a good thing when it comes along.
Phase III: Find the company
Many publications conduct surveys regarding good companies to work for. By reviewing these you can begin to understand which companies value employees and which share your values.
CNN Money publishes an annual list of large companies that may provide a great place to start. The site includes a breakdown by state, so you can quickly see which of these nationally recognized companies operate near you.
Great Places to Work provides a list not only of the top 100 large companies, but also lists of small and medium sized companies.
Be sure to search for similar lists produced in your market. A quick Google search for good places to work state (substituting the name of your state for the word state) will yield results that likely include locally developed surveys and articles.
From these candidates, you’ll want to begin screening carefully for those that offer careers that match your skills and interests first. That should provide you with a short list of final candidates. You can probably narrow it down to three to five companies.
Now, you can begin doing serious online research about these companies. Do a little online reading and research, but focus on finding friends or friends of friends who work for these companies. Meet them for lunch or after work and talk to them about their experiences. No employer is really like heaven and while one person may love a company, another may hate it. Talk to everyone you can find who works — or has worked — for the company before you begin looking for a job.
Keep in mind, however, that every contact you make with someone who works for the company could potentially lead to an interview or a job. Always look your best and speak respectfully of the company. It would be wise to be prepared with a resume for these meetings; you may simply want to say to your contact, “Based on my resume, do you know of any positions in the company for which I may be a fit?”
By following these simple steps, you can find a place where you can build a career and be happy for many years. Always think long-term with your positions. The longer you stay with a company, the greater the stability your family will enjoy. Your finances should also benefit.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.