By Brenda Bernstein
The Essay Expert
I’m about to say something radical:
If you are searching for a new job, the #1 most dangerous thing you can do is ask yourself questions about your job search.
“What do you mean?” you may ask. “Are you crazy? All the job search guides tell me to answer questions like what my goals are and what my ideal job is. If I don’t ask myself questions, how will I get answers?”
The problem with asking yourself questions is that it is really difficult to have a conversation with yourself. Asking yourself questions will get you only the answers that you can generate yourself. Those answers are necessarily limited.
Your conversation might sound something like this: “What do I want to do next? Oh, I don’t really want to think about that. I’m confused. The economy sucks. Maybe I’ll never get a job again. I think I have to do the laundry. Wait, what was that question?”
Thankfully, there’s an alternative to this mind chatter: Have someone ELSE – someone you trust – ask you the important job search questions. You might be surprised at the clarity you achieve when you bounce ideas off another human being. That person might be a job search coach or a relative or a friend. It MUST be someone who listens extremely well and asks good questions.
Here are the Top 10 questions to have someone ELSE ask you. Give this list to someone you trust and have him or her read it to you, one question at a time:
- What do you love about your current position (or last position)?
- What don’t you like about your current position (or last position)?
- What would be your ideal work schedule?
- Do you work best with people or alone? With a lot of supervision or little supervision?
- What size organization and corporate culture are the best matches for you?
- How much money do you want/need to make?
- Is there a job at your current company that you would want to do? And/or is there a way your current job could become your dream job?
- What’s your dream job?
- Who in your life can you talk to about what it’s like to do X job?
- What will you do to find out more about the day to day realities of X job?
It doesn’t hurt to begin by answering these questions on your own. You might have some success in generating useful answers. But whatever you do, don’t stop there. I guarantee you that some new thought or clarity will come from having a conversation about these questions with someone other than yourself.