For Happiness At Work: The Importance Of A Custom Fit Career


One of the main reasons people switch jobs is a disconnect between their personal goals and the company values.

A professional position misfit leaves you feeling unappreciated and undervalued, every day.

This isn’t just about being in a mild state of discomfort.

Research shows being unhappy at work results in more stress, causes a hit to your self-esteem, and interferes with your professional competence.

According to a new report on job satisfaction, millennials (think 20s and 30-somethings) are particularly concerned with having a job that authentically fits who they are. But many people don’t find that perfect job right away.

Researchers at CreativeLive discovered that one third of currently employed Gen Y workers wish they could jump the corporate ship to find a workplace where they could be surrounded with more creative people. Another third would happily take a salary cut if they could find a job with the opportunities to do meaningful work that has a positive social impact.

To find a perfect career fit, you’ll need to be ready to make changes – both big and small.

At the younger end of the Gen Y cohort, a 2014 survey of 15,000 undergraduate students and new grads showed that finding one’s place in a company with the right “people and culture fit” is the number one consideration for millennial job seekers. So how to get the right custom career fit? A combination strategy of conversations, creativity, and company research is the answer.

Conversations: ask your friends

Mining your personal networks is a smart way to land employment that fits.

Even loose ties on LinkedIn or Twitter are important when you’re seeking introductions, references, and insider information about job openings. But your closest friends are uniquely important.

If your friends (and their friends) have a job they love, that’s your first step on the trail toward a job you’ll enjoy.

You like your friends for a reason – you probably share similar world-views and care about the same things. Beyond happiness, working with friends may result in a productivity boost. Researchers at the London School of Economics found that employees worked harder and got 10% more accomplished in jobs where they worked with friends, especially if those pals were industrious types.

Whether you target a specific role or a broad career objective, having the right info is key.

And because we all like a challenge, ask your friends if there are opportunities for continued learning, skills training, and leadership development at their workplaces.

Creativity: blog your career

“I think having a blog is a great way of showing employers what you can do before you even get to the interview stage,” said Rachel Davies, a new graphic design grad from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. “I definitely think my blog helped me get my internship.”

Indeed, “you have to be willing to show who you are,” advises Shara Senderoff, founder of InternSushi.

Having a blog focused on your industry (trends, news, debates, case studies) communicates volumes to a recruiter about your professional ambitions, creative thinking and skills. Plus, “it shows them you’re more likely to understand their company’s values,” advises Lynn Finn, an HR pro from the University of Northampton.

You won’t get there overnight, but you can start planning your first step right now.

In an era of social screening, recruiters will always Google you, and having a great blog can work to “stack the deck in your favor,” advises Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking. “If you’re competing with someone who has equal skills and experience,” Lynch says, “a blog can be the tie-breaker.”

Creeping companies: do your homework

Doing due diligence means thoroughly researching your dream jobs.

A little online company creeping goes a long way, and doubles as interview preparation.

Look deeply at their corporate social footprint (online and off), read past and current employee reviews on Glassdoor, and critically analyze their official recruiting messages.

“One company may want to fill its ranks with out-of-the-box entrepreneurial thinkers, while another may value thoughtful, deliberative, consensus-driven executives,” warns Dorie Clark on Forbes.

Reflect honestly on your professional strengths and ambitions, then fire up your laptop to discover a position that just feels right, one with a perfect custom career fit. Then you’ll be well-suited to do your very best work.