What is the "perfect job?" Unfortunately, it doesn't exist. This is not an alarmingly pessimistic point of view, but rather a real one. Every man and woman in the work force has different strengths, weaknesses, opinions, personalities, and an unfathomable amount of other characteristics that, when combined and utilized, can help in the search for a position that is a good fit. When you focus on finding your job fit, success is almost guaranteed to follow.
So how do you find the right job fit? The first step in the process is to determine what causes a bad job fit. Look back on your past employment history. What was it that made a relatively simple 9-5, Monday-to-Friday job bad? Were you forced to deal with people you rather would not have? Conversely, maybe the limited social interaction wasn't ideal to your personality. No matter the case, avoiding another "bad fit" is simple process that most, regrettably, don't recognize. Dissecting past employment and learning from mistakes will help you set goals for "do's" and "don'ts"" in the pursuit of your ideal job.
How do you avoid another bad fit and let yourself into an environment that is complementary to your personality and skills? Simply get to know yourself. Are you the extrovert who enjoys nothing more than expressing yourself in front of others, or the introvert who would rather remain out-of-sight and out-of-mind, quietly clacking away at a keyboard? If this is the case, a job in sales where you have to present on a day to day basis is not the optimal one for you.
Maybe you're the motivated, type-A personality who can never stop moving forward. Securing a job that will make you a vital asset to a constantly expanding company should be your goal. It's just as likely that you could be ranked among the type-B's, laid-back, relaxed, comfortable and gratified where you are right now. A high-pressure job as a key business stakeholder may not be right for you. Once you know who you are, you can begin the process of identifying the type of companies and industries you would consider working in.
Most job seekers forget another fundamental facet of the hunt for their occupation: you must interview the employer with the same level of scrutiny they exercise towards you. A picture or slogan on an organization's website can reveal a surprising amount about its culture, values, and way of business. Dig deeper; look for outside opinions about the company in the form of news articles, or similar information. If a recruiter is mediating the contact between you and your potential employer, consult him or her. A bad fit can be just as damaging to the recruiter as it can be to the prospective job candidate.
A higher salary, a shorter commute, and other benefits in some cases may not be a sufficient reason to accept a job offer if you recognize up front that it is not suitable to your personality. While the initial response may be to accept any offer that comes your way, ultimately this may turn into a short-term solution. An uncomfortable work situation will lead to decreased motivation, which leads to decreased performance, which can lead to an almost infinite number of other problems, the worst being unemployment.
So why is taking the time to find a good fit so important? Feeling good about your job can only help to make you more comfortable and productive, and open to opportunity for growth. If you take some time to look at past work experience, understand your personality and its impact on the types of companies and industries that match your individual needs, you will be that much closer to finding the right job, the right fit.