We all want to find a job that fits us. Employers want to hire employees who fit their organizations. But what constitutes a good fit? What do we really mean by that term?
First of all, there are two types of fit: career fit and job fit. Career fit occurs when your skills, interests, and personality align with a specific career. Job fit is more complicated because in addition to career fit, your values must be in sync with the company culture and your financial, supervisory, and logistical needs must be met by the position. When you take all that into consideration, you can see why finding a job that fits is a rather tall order. But it can be done.
Careers that are a good fit for you are those that use your favorite skills, appeal to your interests, and align with your personality type. To be clear, let’s define skills, interests, and personality type as follows:
• Skills: What you’re good at
• Interests: What fascinates you
• Personality: Who you are as a person.
When your career path is aligned with these three factors, it will generally be a good choice for you. Keep in mind that there are multiple paths that might represent a good career fit. For example, if you are good at math, fascinated by sports, and very extroverted, what careers come to mind? Some suggestions might be sports agent, sports club manager, or a math teacher who coaches a school sports team. Other suggestions could be doing project management or finance for a company that is involved in sports, such as Nike.
Now change just one factor, personality trait, to introverted. How does that change the potential career choices? Sports statistician and data analytics or finance for a company involved with sports all come to mind, but there are many others that could work as well.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that your basic career fit is reasonably good. If you’d like more information on career fit related to training and development, read my recent blog post.
Now, let’s turn to job fit. This is more complicated because your job needs to be a good fit with your skills, interests, and personality; your values need to mesh with the corporate culture; and your financial, supervisory, and logistical needs must also be met.
As you may have guessed, the key to determining fit is to know what you really want from a career and workplace. After all, if you don’t know what you want, it’s hard to know if you’ve found it! A good first step is to complete a preference grid like the one below to help you identify your preferred skills, industries and work environment.
When you’re completing your preference grid, in addition to skills and industries, you need to think about the other factors described below:
Logistics: This category includes items related to getting to and from the job, as well as when you will be working. How long is the commute? Is there public transportation? How much travel or weekend work will be required? Will you be required to perform shift work?
Work environment: For this item, focus on your preferences related to the physical work environment. Is it an open floor plan or do people have individual offices? Is it noisy or quiet? Is it located in a safe neighborhood?
Compensation and growth: What salary level do you require and desire? What level of responsibility do you want in your next position? Will there be opportunities for growth?
Corporate culture: What is it really like to work at a company? How does the company do business and how do they treat their people?
Manager: What type of boss enables you to do your best work? What type of boss is most problematic for you?
Company reputation: How strong are the company’s finances? Are they growing or shrinking? Is the company known for being innovative?
Once you have identified your preferences on these various points, you can outline your ideal job by looking at the items in your Do Want column. If you have a job, how does it compare with your ideal?
Is your current job a good fit?
In Chapter 12 of ATD’s new book, Find Your Fit, we included this job satisfaction quiz to help you diagnose your satisfaction with your current position. Take a few minutes to see how your job stacks up. Answer yes if the statement is true for you most of the time.
• Do you enjoy most of the tasks and activities that you perform on a daily basis?
• Do you feel reasonably challenged by the tasks required by your job?
• Do you like working with the people at your organization?
• Do you feel that you fit in with the culture at your company?
• Do you get clear direction and support from your boss most of the time?
• Do you respect and trust your boss?
• Are you proud of the products and services your company provides?
• Is your company on solid financial ground and moving in the right direction?
• Is your work environment safe and conducive to getting your work done?
• Do you feel that your work life and personal life are reasonably in balance?
• Do you receive reasonable compensation for your work, including benefits?
• Do you think there are growth opportunities for you at your company?
Now, count up the number of yes answers to get your score and review your results below.
10-12: If you answered yes to 10 or more of the questions, you are in a good situation. Review your no answers and work on making changes at your current organization that will address the issues you uncovered.
7-9: You answered yes to a majority of the questions, so you still may be able to salvage the situation, but it will take some work.
0-6: You answered no to at least half the questions, so a change is probably in order.
For some advice about how to solve some of the problems that you have identified in your current position, see the recent blog post, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
If you decide you need to make a change, ATD’s new book Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing a Job You’ll Love has a wealth of information on the subject. Or sign up for the Monday Career Motivators to get five weeks of free tips from career coaches who contributed to the book.
Have any thoughts to share? Post in the Comments section, below.
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