Job Search – knowing what you don’t want!

Job Search – knowing what you don’t want!

If you talk to people who have been unemployed for some time, you will usually find that their over-riding ambition is simply to get back into work again. It is all too easy to reach a point where you will take more or less anything that is vaguely in the field you left, if it pays enough for you to meet the bills and is compatible with your own sense of dignity. In those circumstances, it is all too easy to lose sight of what really matters to you and to ignore any underlying doubts that the job is really the one for you.

Now, as I’ve said here before here – we need to be realistic. A good job is hard to find now. And jobs are very rarely the perfect fit. Common-sense says you apply the 80/20 principle in reverse. If 80 percent of the job fits, and the 20 percent doesn’t, that is usually OK. But what if that 20% includes something you very strongly dislike? Then taking the job becomes very risky.

Most people have a list of things they do want in a job. But few produce a list of things that they don’t want. This includes the kinds of work that you know you will find uncomfortable and may not be good at. For example, a job that requires you to handle lots of very fine detail when that is not your strength.

Spending time on the list of things you don’t want is always time well invested. Make your list carefully and be very honest with yourself. For example, if regular travelling really isn’t practical then put that on the list.

Now, of course, life and job search is all about compromise. Sometimes you may think that it is worth taking a job that hits lots buttons on your wanted list and so balances out the buttons on your not wanted list. But, please have a care, particularly with those items you marked as strong dislikes. There really is a risk for you with those items.

Only you can decide whether it is worth the risk of taking a job that includes things on your avoidance list. But please think carefully to limit the chance of a demoralizing failure.

Wendy Mason is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation allows you to try phone coaching from the comfort of your own home and without risk. Don’t forget to ask about the Summer Special Offer 

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