Finding Your Ideal Job Takes Groundwork

Finding Your Ideal Job Takes Groundwork

Image of a woman contemplating.
Taunee Besson, CMF, Senior Columnist

The key step to finding your ideal job is to lay some solid groundwork before beginning the job search process. A home builder wouldn’t start construction on his dream house without first drawing up architectural plans and getting the foundation set. The same rules apply when searching for jobs. By taking the time to identify what you want in a career, you can be much more successful in finding the job that is ideal for you.

Before you begin networking and sending out resumes, put together a job description that outlines your ideal position. Imagine the utopian environment where you would be motivated to do your best work. Carefully consider the roles you want to play and the functions that use your best skills and pique your interest. Also, think about the compensation package and the career paths most in tune with your vision of the future. Armed with this job description, you will be in an excellent position to:

  • Thoughtfully compare opportunities with the position profile that’s right for you
  • Develop your two-minute commercial for networking
  • Make a career decision based upon information you can trust, because you’ve thought about it well before the eleventh hour.


As you contemplate the elements of your ideal job, consider the importance of each.


  • Are you motivated primarily by the opportunity to make lots of money now and in the future?
  • Is your role your number one priority?
  • Are your projects or activities of greatest interest?
  • Is a family-friendly environment is your key issue?
  • Do you want a job with a good opportunity for advancement?
  • Is an excellent benefits package important?
  • Are you looking for a job that will provide a challenging work environment?
  • Would you rather work alone or as part of a team?
  • Is a growing industry important?


Once you have your list of ideal job qualities, rank them in importance to you so that you can evaluate a job offer when it does come in.

  • Elements You Want
  • Challenging Work
  • Lots of Creativity
  • Good Environment
  • Chance to ContributeTeamwork
  • Opportunity for Advancement
  • Excellent benefits package
  • Total
  • Importance
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 60











If you think about your priorities in advance, you will be much less likely to take a position out of sync with what you value most. And when that job offer comes in, it’s easier to determine if you are accepting the right job when you know precisely what you want.


Taunee Besson, CMF, Senior Columnist

Senior Columnist Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979 that works with individual and corporate clients in career transition, job search, executive coaching, talent management and small business issues. She is an award-winning columnist for and a best-selling author of the Wall Street Journal's books on resumes and cover letters. Her articles on a variety of career issues have appeared on numerous career/job websites and trade and business journals. Ms. Besson has been quoted numerous times in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money, and a number of other websites and publications.

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