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May 15, 2019
Things to Do Before You Take the Wrong Job
April’s Labor Department Report stated that the number of jobs available continues to outgrow the number of possible job candidates. This growth puts you jobseeker in the driver’s seat. Better pay and benefits and more position options make searching for a job a more optimistic task. But will the job you take be the right job? Will it be the job that you need most to put your career on a trajectory to achieve your goals?

The increase in jobs available is an opportunity to more carefully consider what job you need for your career versus getting one solely for a paycheck. Here’s how to know if taking a job is going to further your career or be a misstep that can put you on a path to misery.

Do some “Me” Research
When Job Propulsion Lab works with proteges, the first thing we do is “Me” research. Using self-awareness as a guide to making the right decision is why our proteges succeed early in their careers.

You need to know what you really want in life before you know what you want in your career. By understanding what fulfills you, you can plan your future more specifically and identify the type of companies you for which you should work and the work environment where you will thrive.

Bulls-eye target potential employers
Do you have a list of companies for which you want to work? If you don’t have a half-dozen, you’re hurting your chances to succeed. Doing some research, like reading industry pubs, will help you learn who is doing the best work and who is leading that work. Find them on social media and quietly “stalk them.” Get inside the head of the people at the companies where you want to be, and you’ll find yourself inside the company. Make a list of targeted employers and keep it updated. Things change.

Prepare to be those employers’ best candidate
If you want to work for the best companies, you need to be in the top five percent of candidates. You want to be remembered for more than your work. The employer needs to see you as the perfect fit. You talk, think, and work as they do. Everything about you says you’re going to make a  positive contribution from day one.

Don’t become distracted by the wrong opportunities
There are going to be opportunities that come in view that do not match your goals. Many rationalize the wrong position into the perfect one when the ideal job is just over the horizon. Don’t be anxious about getting the job. Don’t worry if your friends land jobs while you’re still looking. Take the wrong position, and you could miss the opportunity that turbocharges your career.

Be patient
Have you ever bought something expensive, like a car, and that night when you put your head on your pillow you thought, “Why did I buy that!”? The excitement of a potential job is like that, and it’s a dangerous thing for your career. When amid an opportunity, slow your thinking down. Take more time to consider everything. Don’t get in a hurry to make it happen. Allow it to happen because it’s right.

Thanks to the economy there are more jobs to choose from. If you prepare correctly, you will know when it comes into view.


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Bart Cleveland spent over 30 years helping grow brands like Coca-Cola, The Ritz-Carlton, and CNN. Now, he guides creative professionals to plan and execute successful careers through his business, Job Propulsion Lab℠. He also helps both agencies and marketers nurture customers into advocates through a relationship development program he calls, ACES℠. 
Bart launched Ad Age’s most popular blog, Small Agency Diary. He is also a contributing author of the book, The Get A Job Workshop, How To Find Your Way To A Creative Career In Advertising.
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