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michael farr
job seekers
fundamental steps
quiet place
job seeker
deep breath
job search
work environment
Define Your Ideal Job
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Define Your Ideal Job

In order to define your ideal job, you must first establish a specific job objective. (I’ve heard that defining a job objective is passe, but those opinions relate to writing a job objective in a resume. We’ll get to that later in the series.) In this article, I am defining your job objective as something that your efforts and actions are intended to accomplish; the job you really want!

Speaking of the series, this article is the 2nd in a series of 7 fundamental steps every job seeker must take in order to prepare for a successful job search. This series is based on the works of the late Michael Farr, arguably the founder of the self-directed job search movement, and my work with literally thousands of career-oriented job seekers over the past 25+ years.

Now, let’s get down to fundamentals. Unfortunately, most people think of a job objective in terms of a job title, but it isn’t. In order to truly seek the job you really want, you must consider other elements of what makes a job satisfying to you. And then, and only then, can you decide what that job is called and in what industry or industries does that job exist.

OK! Find a quiet place free of distractions, take a deep breath and answer these 8 questions:

  1. What skills do you want to use? Refer to your answers in the last exercise you completed in identifying your key skills.
  2. What type of special knowledge do you have? Open your mind to all the things about which you have special knowledge from ALL your experiences.
  3. With what types of people do you prefer to work?
  4. What type of work environment do you prefer? Do you prefer working inside, outside, in a quiet place, a busy place, a clean place, or have a window with a nice view?
  5. Where do you want your next job to be located; in what city or region?
  6. How much money do you hope to make in your next job? Be R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C!
  7. How much and what types of responsibility are you willing to accept?
  8. What things are important or have meaning to you? Do you want to help others, clean up the environment, build things, make machines work, gain power or prestige, etc.?

Now, based on your answers to these 8 questions, complete this statement: “My ideal job would be...”

Once you’ve complete this statement, your next task is to explore specific job titles and industries that may meet some or all of the criteria you’ve expressed in your ideal job statement. You might find your ideal job in an occupation you haven’t considered. And even if you are sure of the occupation you want, it may be in an industry unfamiliar to you at this point. This combination of occupation and industry will form the basis for your search, and you will have a variety of options to explore.

Explore More Than 250 Specific Job Titles

To conduct an effective job search, it is helpful to limit your search to a range of jobs most likely to match your ideal. In the United States, the two best sources of information on career clusters and occupational titles are the O*Net and the Occupational Outlook Handbook, both available for online viewing and both published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You can simply find a career cluster and occupation title that interests you and then get additional information on them from these 2 sources. The descriptions provide details on earnings, education or training required, skills and abilities needed, working conditions, related jobs, sources of additional information (including internet sources), and other particulars.

Explore Specific Industries

The industry in which you work can be just as important to you as the occupation you select. Some industries will more match your ideal preferences than others, so focus your job search in those. Just at a glance, what supersector industries would you prefer?

  • Construction
  • Education and Health Services
  • Information
  • Leisure and Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Natural Resources and Mining
  • Professional and Business Services
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities

Another reason to consider various industries is that some are likely to pay more than others, often for the same skills or job title. One of the best resource for industry information is another publication of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industries at a Glance. This is also available for online viewing.

Job-Related Skills

I suggest you first define the job you want, and then identify key job-related skills from your skills inventory you have that support your ability to perform it. These are the job-related skills to emphasize in interviews.

Yes, completing this essential exercise takes time, but doing so will help you define clearly the key skills you will discuss during your interviews.

Street Talk


If I give up on this whole online thing I may need everyone of your articles ; O( Great info as always God bless Kymee

  about 9 years ago

Hi. One of the problems most people encounter when faced with unemployment, is the fact that they're not at all prepared to seek employment and it can take at least a month of continual effort to get prepared even at minimal levels. So I suggest strongly, that EVERYONE get their ducks in order and keep them that way for the eventuality of unemployment. Because this a totally different landscape regarding employment, and no one is secure. So...please don't wait until you're desperate to begin a job search. Prepare now. Go to my website, FindJobsQuickly, and complete the form on the right sidebar to get my complimentary report, "How to Cut Your Job Search in Half." All the best, Lee

  about 9 years ago
Ivy Glenn  

Good job. Laid out really nicely... Easy on the eyes. Good info.

  about 9 years ago

I've always been a big fan of your articles, Lee! -- Unfortunately, for right now, I need to find a good job to replace my retail situation until my WA position takes off. I may have to PM you on these things.

  about 9 years ago

Hi Eric, Let's begin with a good foundation for your job search. Please go to my website FindJobsQuickly and submit the form for my complimentary report, "How to Cut Your Job Search Time in Half." Best regards, Lee

  about 9 years ago
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