When You Don’t Have the Job You Want


Work might look a little different right now, but studies over the past five years remain the same: more than half of U.S. workers are unhappy in their job – this statistic can range from 53% to a whopping 85% of people!

Consider that for a moment: one in two people are unhappy with their work. Is that you or someone you know? Many people feel underemployed, stuck, underpaid … and when it feels like you’re just clocking in to pay for the life you might not get to live, it’s understandable that the unhappy-at-work feeling has risen over the past few years. We define ourselves by our work, so finding something that “works” (or stop defining yourself in this way… that’s another article!) is often critical to many of us.

Just how do we leverage the job we have to get the job we want? Here are a few quick tips to get the ball rolling towards the right fit:

Do Your First Job

This might sound difficult, especially with the emotions that are coming with doing something that makes you unhappy, but this is critical, especially if you need the job you have. Make sure you are doing this job, and all of it, before you start looking for another position – unless you do not need this job. I tell folks consistently that the best time to interview for a job is when you have a job because you aren’t operating from a place of desperation. You’re looking for something when your basic needs are already taken care of, which means you can truly find something that fits rather than something that needs to happen.

Take Inventory

Look at the accomplishments from the job you’re currently in, your skills, the things you can do and maybe don’t love, and the non-negotiable things. Make some lists and take an inventory of what you have to offer, what you want to do, and what you absolutely don’t want to do. While this article is focused on people that are unhappy with their jobs, there are probably some parts of your current job that don’t destroy your soul. These are the pieces that might be “skills you can do” – on the other hand, if you’re in sales and working at a company that screams SELL SELL SELL at you every chance they get but you’re a relationship builder, maybe you want to avoid aggressive “sales” companies for the near future.

Start Online Watching

I wanted to title this, start online stalking, and reconsidered, but this is essentially what I mean. Hop on LinkedIn and start setting up alerts in the job search tab for keywords you are interested in. Maybe it’s MUSIC or ANIMALS or PUBLIC SPEAKING. Start looking up companies and people at those companies and see what their background looks like – and look to see if they are hiring! If you’re nervous about looking at profiles, put your LinkedIn in “private mode” in the settings, and search away. Take note of jobs, connect with people, and follow companies – you’re building a space that you can check on a semi-regular basis for job listing and postings.

Get Your Resume in Order

This point is last, intentionally. Set up a system to look, THEN start working on your resume. Why do the work if you’re not exactly sure where you want to go? Make sure your resume is specific to the job or industry you’re looking to move into and be certain you’re focused on accomplishments and changes, not just tasks you did in a position. How is the position you were indifferent to or changed because of you? What did you accomplish in that job? Any place that you can offer metrics or specifics – use it!

All in all, take it slow – especially if you already have a job! You’re looking for the one you want, not another job you dislike. Good luck!


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