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5 Steps You Should Take Before Applying for a Job.

Updated: May 10

Finding a job is not just sending resumes and hoping for the best. It is a process that requires self-awareness, reflection, and strategy. Just like finding a life partner requires intentionality and discernment, finding a job that suits you well involves knowing your needs, who you want to be, the type of work you want to do, and the type of company culture that will help you thrive. This article will explore tips and tools to help you navigate the job market and find your ideal match.

Man interviewing a women
Interviewing is like dating.

5 Steps to Find an Ideal Job

Step 1: Determine what needs work will solve.

The first step to finding the right job is identifying the needs you are solving by working. Work satisfies different needs at different stages of life, but the most basic need that work satisfies is the need for income.

Maslow hierarchy of needs
Maslow' Hierarchy of Needs

The majority of people work to meet physiological needs such as clothing, housing, food, and water. Work also provides the foundations for safety needs such as security and safety.

Once you meet those needs, work can address psychological needs, such as providing a sense of belonging, relationships, and support for self-esteem.

In addition, work can help you find a sense of fulfillment by providing opportunities to pursue personal interests, contribute to your personal development, or make a larger societal impact than you could on your own. The higher your net worth, the more you typically shift away from working exclusively for money. Considering how your work will help you feel fulfilled will allow you to make more informed decisions about the type of job and company you should work for.

Questions to ask yourself

  • How much money do I need to make?

  • What type of work culture do I work best in?

  • What type of work gives me a sense of purpose?

Step 2: Define who you want to be.

Work can have a huge impact on your identity. Work allows you to develop new skills and meet new people. It can also influence where you live, your work hours, and what you spend your time thinking about. The roles and companies you have in your career will directly impact your quality of life and happiness.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What things do you love doing?

  • What things are you willing to do?

  • What things do you want to avoid doing?

Being clear on what you love to do, are willing to do, and want to avoid can help you begin to narrow down your job search.

Step 3: Clarify the type of work you want to do.

Once you have clarity on who you want to be, the next step is to narrow in on the type of work you want. You can do this by reviewing your work, education, and volunteer history and documenting the different skills and experiences you have gained.

Documenting your skills and experience is useful in two ways. One, it gets you to think beyond titles and identify what capabilities you have developed over your career. Second, it helps you identify your strengths and clarify the type of work you enjoy doing.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What can I do better than most people?

  • What type of work can I do for hours without getting bored?

  • What type of work leaves me feeling fulfilled?

Knowing the type of work you would like to do can help you narrow down the types of jobs that would be a good fit for you.

Step 4: Research potential jobs

Next, you will want to research different job possibilities. This means using Google, LinkedIn, your personal networks, and other resources to learn more about jobs that would allow you to leverage your strengths while satisfying your needs.

Casting a wide net here is important. You are limited by what you do not know. The more information you can gain about the different types of jobs, the more options you will have for pursuing employment opportunities.

Questions to ask yourself?

  • Who do I know who works at a different company than you?

  • Who has skills and experience similar to yours but does different work?

  • What industries are adjacent to yours that would value your knowledge and expertise?

Step 5: Research potential companies

The final step is defining who you want to work for. This answer will vary greatly depending on your values, strengths, interests, and experience. If money is the primary driver, the answer is simple: You will work for whoever pays you the most.

Since most people are looking for more than just money from their jobs, it is beneficial to define criteria for the type of place that you want to work in. Do you like a lot of structure? Then a government job might be ideal for you. Do you like working on a lot of new and different tasks? A start-up or small business might be perfect for you.

The type of work you do can vary significantly depending on the industry, company, and even location in which you work. The clearer you define what you want, the closer you will be to finding your ideal job.

Questions to ask yourself?

  • Do your values align with the organization?

  • Will this company provide you with growth opportunities?

  • Will this company meet your current needs?


Finding the ideal job is like finding the perfect life partner. First, you must know what you want; then, you must do some dating to find the right one. If you rush into a relationship too quickly, you can regret the decision and seek a divorce.

If you need a job to pay your bills, take the first one you can find. But if you are in a position to be selective, define what you want from your career before applying for a job. This will allow you to channel your energy to the companies and roles that best align with your current needs and goals.

Does this message resonate with you? If so, leave a message below.


Thank you for reading this blog

Executive Coach Dorian Cunion

I am a father, husband, executive coach, and former retail executive. My coaching expertise comes from 21 years of leading operation, sales, and marketing teams. I understand what it is like to feel stuck, undervalued, and underappreciated.

I also know what it takes to invest in professional development, climb the corporate ladder, and find fulfillment at work.

Your career path is a scavenger hunt. Each opportunity prepares you for the next. Allow me the opportunity to help you clarify your path and accelerate your professional development.

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