Good Work

How do you find a good job?

imageI have been asked by a lot of my friends and associates how to get a good job. I have worked in Human Resources for the last 15 years, but I like to think the question is more motivated by what they have seen in my personal life.

Finding a job is not rocket science, or brain surgery, but finding a good one does take some effort – especially it today’s competitive job markets.

No method is fool-proof, but from my experience there are a few things you can do to stack the odds in your favor.

Date Jobs

It is a good idea to try a few different types of work to see what you like. For example, if you worked at Booster Juice in high school – What did you like about it? What did you hate about it?

I learned in my teens that I didn’t like working with the public. I liked numbers, and a quiet work space. (e.g., I really enjoyed closing the till when I worked in retail)

When I worked at a bank I learned that I prefer to set my own schedule, and not have to be available anytime a client decides to drop in.

A job’s design including the non-tangibles (e.g., hours of work, location, etc.) is always worth contemplating. You will find it’s not really the ‘small stuff’ if you have to deal with it for the next 40 years!

Jump In

Opportunities are everywhere, but that doesn’t really matter if you never take a chance on one. There are a million reasons not too: just lazy, bad-timing, fear, etc. You are not alone. It happens all the time. Don’t assume you don’t have a chance. You never know unless you try.

When I was in high school an old friend of mine worked as a Page at the Legislature. She wanted me to join her, and asked me to apply. I didn’t get it, but 6 months later they advertised again, and I was successful! I had not improved as a candidate, but I got it this time because others who were more qualified dropped out. To me there is no shame in winning by acclamation.

Besides, it’s near impossible to beat someone who never gives up!

Fit over Function 

One of the best jobs I ever had I decided to leave after only 2 years. The bottom line was it wasn’t working with my family life, and that was a deal breaker for me.

imageIt is a little known fact that when people don’t “work out” in a job it is not usually because they are incompetent – it is fit. So when you go to the interview be sure to ask yourself  – Can I picture myself working here? Could I get along with these people?

Remember If you work full time, you spend more time with the people at work than with anyone else in your life so take time to do a proper evaluation.

Street Cred

If you see a job you like take a look credentials that are needed, and then go get them. Try not to be swayed by people who stepped in with less. Yes, exceptions happen, but more often than not they are just that – exceptions. Don’t be fooled by thinking you can find an “easy way” to success.

There is no substitute for hard work.
Thomas Edison

You can’t expect a potential employer to just “know” you will do a good job. You have to prove it, and work for it.


Sometimes the best way to move up in your career is to change it up.

If you always do what you have always done then you will always get what you always got.

If you really want to grow in your expertise and business acumen you gotta move it once in awhile. If nothing else it  will give you addition professional confidence to know you can do what you do anywhere. At least that’s what it has done for me.

Cost Benefit

imageI am hounded by headhunters. It is just what happens when you have been working for a few years. Lots great opportunities that are only 1000 miles away. Sometimes even the best opportunities are just not worth it.

I work in the public sector, and a lot of people complain about the pay they receive compared to their private sector counterparts. I have no sympathy. I work in the public sector for a reason. I like the work culture, the time off, and the sense of contributing to the public good. The hard truth is most people who complain are just not willing to do what others are willing do for those extra perks.

If you are not happy in your job you are not doing anyone favours by staying. Learn what you can and move on – but please find a new job first!

What you need to know is employed people are always preferred in a job competition. The fact that you working is a sign that you are employable. You can say ‘take this job and shove it’ after you sign that offer letter, ok?

Catch the Vision

As they say if you don’t know where you are going you will get there so be deliberate in your career direction.

One evening I was playing a game with a bunch of young people in a wooded area a few miles from Spruce Grove. During the game someone lost their car keys. It was a densely forested area, and the sun was setting. Hopeless right?

A friend of mine  who was there  happened to work in seach and rescue as a volunteer. He was not intimidated by the terrain and organized a search. He had us line up, and we conducted a grid search. We were given a detailed description of the lost keys,  and then we carefully walked in a line to search for them – focusing only on our assigned area. After about 20 minutes they were found! They had fallen behind a hollow log so unless you searched the log you would have missed them.

Finding a job can be the same. If people know exactly what you are looking for they can help you look in their own area. You may find that they have knowledge of opportunities that you might not have been able to find on your own.  So tell people you know what you are looking for – that is what we can “networking”.

My current job is something I been looking for a long time so when the opportunity came up it was a no brainer for me. The best part is I didn’t even have to apply for it. It literally came to me when a former colleague looked me up, and offered it to me.

Finding a good job does take time, and effort, but doing something you enjoy with your time is well worth it. You can’t control everything in a job search – there are too many variables, but I think you can always increase your chances if you focus, work hard, and don’t give up.

Nothing will work unless you do.

Maya Angelou


2 thoughts on “Good Work

  1. Thank you for writing this! This kind of enlightens me since now I’m a unemployed freshgrad waiting for my first interview and this help me for not choosing the WRONG job that I can regret later.


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