As an executive leadership coach, I strongly believe that women can be most powerful when their work is aligned with their values.
Too many women try to fit themselves into a mold: “Am I qualified for that job?”
NO! You should be asking, “What makes me come alive?” and then setting out to find that job.
If it doesn’t exist, create it.
You are not stuck. You are a powerful beacon of light that shines more brightly when surrounded by other beacons. The sooner you learn that you have the right to unleash your potential in all aspects of your life, the happier you will be in your life.
The perfect job for you must allow you to do the following:
1. Use the skills you already have
What are you outstanding at? Spend at least 5 minutes free writing an answer to this question without stopping. Include jobs, hobbies, volunteering — anything you have spent time doing, enjoyed, and were at least marginally good at.
Don’t censor yourself. Think expansively; include anything and everything.
2. Learn the skills you don’t yet have but want
Name 3 people you have worked with whom you respect.
What do they do that you admire? This might include the actual job tasks, the way they conduct themselves, or something else that sticks out to you. Their positions can be anywhere in the company.
3. Join an organizational culture that aligns with your value system
What do you value? When making decisions, what must remain true for you to feel good about your choices?
Fill in the table below. Think big picture all the way down to how you want to spend your day-to-day.
What do you need out of a job? (must have). What do you want out of a job? (nice to have)
Nice to have
Benefits (health, dental, tuition reimbursement, gym reimbursement, professional development opportunities)
Culture (values alignment, happy hours, start-up feel, “all hands on deck”, clearly defined individual responsibilities, logical hierarchy, matrixed relationships, overlapping teams)
Location (commute, type of building, individual offices, shared space, desks, bean bags, standing desks, couches, work from home, work from cafe)
Work Style (flexible hours, clear schedule with set end time, flexible location, office space)
4. Build your strategic network
The big question: great, now how do you get this dream job? List 5 people in your strategic network you can reach out to and discuss your career and growth. Scour Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other loose connections you may have.
Your strategic network means people one step removed from your actual friends — think acquaintances and colleagues. Get creative. Are you in a social sports/running club, professional network, karaoke league, or another group that connects you with people you may not otherwise encounter?
Commit to finding out who you know in your industry or desired industry. Do some research, ask if you can buy them coffee or a drink, and conduct a 15-minute informational interview. Make sure you respect their time and keep it to exactly how long you agreed to meet for.
5. Meet your financial goals
What is your bottom line minimum necessary salary? Calculate your expenses using a website like Mint or a basic expense calculator in Excel.
Know what number you absolutely cannot go below to survive. Now dream bigger. Think about vacations, hobbies, retirement savings, vehicles, experiences, clothes, shoes, and anything else you want. Factor those into your salary needs.
Also consider the frustratingly true fact that even when women ask for raises on par with men, they receive them less. Money is energy — it fuels our ability to do the work. So remember that when an employer is interviewing you, it is because you have something they need, and act accordingly. You’ve got this, girl!
My coaching practice helps women assess their personal values by guiding women as they identify and destroy roadblocks that are limiting their success. As a coach, I work with clients to collaboratively develop strategies so women can achieve their newly defined vision for their success.
We do not allow others to dictate our behaviors, choices, or desires, especially when it comes to our careers. We do not settle for less than our worth. I am going to share with you for free the secrets I have learned over the years to finding the best job fit for you and making it a reality.
You are not a beggar. You are educated, experienced, and enthusiastic.
An employer who wants you knows that you bring more to the table than they do. They have money, benefits, and resources. You have a particular skill set, drive, and ability to learn that they need.
You are not powerless in the job search. As soon as you think that, it becomes true. An interview is like dating — when you’re inexperienced, you think “I hope they like me.” When you become more experienced, you realize it’s about hoping you are both mutually a good fit for each other. Eventually, you realize you owe it to yourself to assess that fit up front and cut ties early if it is not working.
The job search system favors employers because it was built by them. They get flooded with resumes and don’t have to do any work.
Meanwhile, you spend hours upon hours sending out perfectly crafted emails and cover letters that never get read. Don’t get stuck thinking about job titles and what already exists – let your mind reach for the biggest, grandest, craziest idea you can think of, and work backward from there to something realistic and meaningful for you.
What's your no. 1 piece of advice on finding a job that aligns with your values? Leave your answer in the comments to help other FGB'ers!
Jenny is the founder of Forward in Heels Executive Coaching, which empowers badass women who want to excel at what they do, stand tall, and own their worth so they can light up the world. As a licensed psychotherapist as well as certified executive leadership coach, Jenny has been helping women make bold, lasting changes in their lives for over a decade.
This article was written by a FGB Contributor.