by Robin Ferrier
Today’s advice, gleaned from my 10+ years in the working world…
Where you work is as important — no, scratch that — it’s MORE important than what you do.
What do I mean by that?
If you’re the typical job hunter, you probably know WHAT you want to do. You want to work in marketing… in business development. You’re an accountant… an engineer… an architect… So you go to job search sites and look for jobs that sound interesting. You discount many jobs because the description doesn’t match exactly what you want to do. BAD IDEA!
Because here’s a secret most employers will never tell you: a job description can change in the blink of an eye.
I can’t think of one job I’ve had where the job I ended up doing matched the job description for which I was hired. My job — and the description of what I do — has always evolved, be it because I’ve exceeded expectations, because together we’ve discovered a new talent, or because the department itself has evolved to meet new company needs.
My point? Don’t go out there looking for the perfect job. Because even if the job description sounds perfect, chances are it’s not what you’ll end up doing.
Instead, figure out WHERE you want to work. Because the corporate culture at a for-profit company is VASTLY different from that of a non-profit. (I know this because I’ve worked in both.) Higher education is a far cry from Wall Street. And the opportunities that pop up in a smaller company are going to look different from what you’ll find in a large, Fortune 500 company. Research companies and organizations in your area. Visit their web sites. Read company blogs. Find employees on LinkedIn and connect with them. Use the newly launched LinkedIn “Follow a Company” feature. There are A LOT of ways to do your due diligence and find out more about potential employers.
Finding a corporate culture that matches your personality is as much — if not more — of an indicator of future career/workplace happiness as finding the job where your assigned “duties and responsibilities” are a perfect match for what you think you want.
And last, realize some of your best times and your best assignments and your best career discoveries and realizations will fall under the very real job responsibility known as: “Other duties as assigned.”
Robin Ferrier is the editor of What’s Next, Gen Y? and Communications Manager for the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. She is also the President of the Capital Communicators Group, co-chair of the Marketing Committee for the Tech Council of Maryland, and chair of the PR Committee for the Gaithersburg Book Festival. She has inadvertently become a frequent career / professional / job hunt resource for friends and colleagues due to a career path that has included five jobs in 12 years.Google+