By Stacy Harshman ,Career management coach
The question that is plaguing out-of-work job seekers is should I take any job for the sake of having a job? The answer, in simple terms, is you should do everything you can to avoid it. The most important thing for your career is to move forward. You may ask “Am I not suppose to take a job unless it is my dream job?” The answer again is no. You can have several jobs until you are working in your ideal career, but the key is with each successive job, plan to move closer and closer to your dream job.
Be Future Focused: You are the CEO of your career; therefore, you must be strategic in planning your future. Can you imagine an elegant fine dining restaurant suddenly adding fast food to their menu because they heard fast food profit was increasing? The idea is ridiculous. In the same way, you cannot take any job for the sake of making a few dollars. Think always of your future and ask yourself “Does this job give me the experience I need to move my career forward?”
Develop a clear vision: The concept begs the question of “What can I do if I need a job but I can’t move directly into my dream job now?” The first step is to make sure you have a very clear vision of what your ideal career is. Career expert Pete Liebman describes the dream job as “a job that combines your talents and passions in a way that is meaningful to YOU.” Many people skip over this step, but it is important to know what a fulfilling career would like look for you.
Conduct a gap analysis: Once you are clear on your ideal career, determine what skills, experience, and knowledge are missing from your resume. The next step is to fill in those gaps with positions that can build your experience. Determine only to take jobs that fill in the gaps. For example, if you dream of being a professor but have no teaching experience, consider taking a couple of part-time adjunct positions. The jobs may be lower paying than a full-time position in another industry, but in the end, you will receive greater payback because you will have the experience to list on your resume.
The bottom line is to be strategic in your career. Only work in jobs that move you forward. The author Michael Port sums the concept up nicely when he said “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”