Go to Menu The Interview, or The Job?
By Nick Corcodilos

What are you doing to find your next job? Are you blindly chasing interviews, or are you focused on finding the one job that's right for you?

If you're not sure whether you are looking for the right job, you need help defining the job you want. Often, a good place to start is with the job you have. Write out your responses to the following exercises. The results will help you keep an eye on what you really want.

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1. What
Describe the job you would want to be promoted to at your current (or last) company. Be honest with yourself, and be realistic. But let yourself dream about what you really want to do next. List the title, salary, responsibilities, and level of authority. What are the three most important goals you would have to achieve in that job, to be successful? What are the daily tasks you would be expected to perform?

2. How
How would you do this job if you had it? List the things you would need to do to achieve each of the three goals you described above. How would you perform the day-to-day tasks better than they are being performed now?

3. Why
Why should you be assigned this job? What profit would you add to your company's bottom line if you accomplished your goals? Make your best estimate. If you need to do some thinking and research to figure this out, do it. The profitability question is at the heart of every hiring decision.

If you're not satisfied with what you came up with, select another job and do the exercise again. Keep practicing until you feel good about the work at and the job you want to do.

4. Reality Check
Review your plan with someone you respect and trust at the company, or with someone who understands your business. You may even be able to review it with your boss, explaining that these are your professional goals over the next year. Ask for suggestions to improve your plan. Listen carefully to all comments. (If you think this exercise might land you a promotion at your current company, you're right. The same planning that will net you a new job elsewhere should work with your employer too.)

Now, use what you've learned here to define the job you want to find. Do not interview for jobs that fail to meet or exceed these requirements. Why waste your time settling for anything less?

Once you have identified the right job, you cannot be as powerful a candidate for any other job. In fact, you will fall on your face in such interviews. Don't go after interviews -- go after the right job.

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