5 Steps to Finding and Keeping a Passion-Filled Job

Are you unhappy at work–with one foot out the door? If so, you’re not alone. The new Conference Board report  on employee attitudes found that well over half of American workers (55%), and a full two-thirds (66%) of workers under 25, are dissatisfied with their jobs. Meanwhile, a Monster.com survey found that 89% of employees would be prepared to switch industries. Nearly half were actively doing just that.

If avoiding the unemployment line is the main reason you’re hanging on to your job, you are at risk of losing it at any time–to someone who is enthusiastic and passionate about work. Employees who lack passion are prime targets for layoffs.

The time to look for a job that fills you with passion is now. Here’s a proven, structured process that can land you your dream job.

Step 1. Think of yourself as a business and assess your strengths. Imagine you are a business and your managers are your “customers.” What do they need most from service providers such as you? To what extent do you meet those needs? How would they rate you in relation to your competitors, that is, your fellow workers? In which areas do you shine? Where could you shine even brighter with a bit more focus? These are your strengths.

Step 2. Identify a whole range of jobs where your passion may lie. Make a long list of all those jobs and businesses done by friends, family, colleagues, fellow interest-sharers, people in newspapers or on TV, fictional people in books, movies etc. that you find exciting, and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 by the amount of passion you would feel if you were doing them. Now rearrange them in order of passion rating. Hopefully you will have at the top of the list at least a dozen or so jobs you have rated a 4 or 5.

Step 3. Screen these jobs for ballpark market attractiveness and fit with your strengths. Gut feel is all you need at this stage. You won’t have detailed information, but you don’t need it yet. The aim is to find out whether any of these top dozen jobs is a runner. Under job market attractiveness, consider such factors as job market size, growth, competition, and risk. For fit, don’t be too harsh on yourself. This is a new job so you won’t be a stellar performer on day one, but does the job play to your strengths, current and/or potential? Identify a short list of 2 or 3 jobs.

Step 4. Do some serious research on the one or two most promising shortlisted jobs. Talk to practitioners, talk to their customers. Just what are the capabilities required to do the job? How would you fare? What entry strategy should you deploy? What should you be doing now to strengthen your positioning before you take the leap? Think of yourself as a business again: Would you invest in yourself?

Step 5. Use your passionate interest in the job to sell yourself–and get hired. You will have an edge over many in the job, those who over the years have grown jaded. But not you. You will be fired up, full of passion and enthusiasm. Join Toastmasters International and speak to fellow members about your new job, your passion. Improve your presentation skills, increase your self-confidence, build your brand. And go land that dream job!

Vaughan Evans is a renowned economist, business and career strategist, speaker, and author of Backing U! A Business-Oriented Guide to Backing Your Passion and Achieving Career Success (www.backingu.com).