Job Fit: Things You Should Know

How good a fit is the job you have now? The one you’re pursuing or interviewing for? While we’re at it, how good a fit is the company itself–your current employer or the one you’re aiming for next? If you haven’t asked yourself these questions yet, you really should. Failure to identify the answers can lead to failure in the job because it or the company isn’t a good fit for you, or vice-versa.

A few years ago I took training to become a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS). The core training resource was a book called Job Search Magic, by Susan Whitcomb. I’ve used that book and its principles countless times since then to help clients focus their job search effectively. In view of the current challenging economy and changing work world, I thought it was time to revisit some of its ideas that you might not be familiar with.

External “F.I.T.” and Its Relationship to Your Job Fit

According to Job Search Magic, your Career “Master F.I.T.(TM)” consists of two kinds: external and internal. For the purposes of this post, I’m only going to touch on the external kind. Whitcomb presents F.I.T. as standing for Function (what you want and would like to do), Interests or Industry (where and with whom you want to do those things), and Things That Matter (values and priorities that are critical for your best performance).

Looking at this concept in the light of your current job, for instance, does the job require you to spend time doing something you really dislike, such as working more with numbers than people? That probably means that a primary function of your job is not a good fit for you. If you knew that going in, maybe you assumed it wouldn’t be a big enough deal to bother you much, but now you know better. When you plan your next job search, therefore, you’ll want to keep in mind that fairly extensive people interaction is a primary goal for you, and a job that doesn’t offer it is likely to be one you won’t be happy with.

A passionate interest in a particular field or industry might be the motivator you need to pursue certain job opportunities. For example, if you’ve always been a nature lover and care deeply about protecting our wildlife, you might seek a job as a park ranger or game warden. On the other hand, holding a position as a claims adjuster in the auto insurance industry might make you increasingly reluctant to show up for work! The disparity between the field or industry you’re most interested in and the one in which you work is too great for long-term satisfaction.

Finally, if the job you hold or the company where you work involves violating principles that are important to you or doesn’t provide conditions you consider essential, your job fit doesn’t look encouraging. Your job satisfaction will probably decline significantly, and your performance is likely to suffer. That’s a potentially slippery slope to involuntary termination (firing) or impulsive departure (emotionally driven resignation).

How to Maximize Your Job Fit

Think carefully about what you want to do and what you do not want to do. Both are important. Consider what your ideal job and ideal company might look like, if you could have everything you wanted. Then prioritize your “wants.” Finally, get “real” and determine which or how much of those you can realistically shoot for in your next job, based on your strengths, experience and other key factors. That’s your starting-point to evaluate both your current position and the next one you want to target.

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