partyIf you’re looking for a new job, I bet one of your top priorities is making sure it’s a job you love. Your job search may have been triggered by the fact that you’ve found yourself in a job you don’t care for, and now you’re ready to make a change. You don’t want to end up in this situation again.

So, how do you make sure you land a job you love? It starts with prioritizing what’s important to you. Think about what really makes you happy at work. On the surface, you may think it’s money – but when you get right down to it, that usually isn’t the case.

Find People You Want to Work With

Your happiness at work is typically tied to a few things. First, the people you work around make a huge difference. It doesn’t matter how great your job is: If you have a bad boss and frustrating coworkers, chances are good you won’t be happy. Second, you want to be paid equitably. Last, you want to be doing work that’s interesting to you.

You’ll know your potential salary before accepting a job offer, so it’s not hard to gauge whether or not you’re being paid fairly. You should also have a pretty good sense of the type of work you’ll be doing based on the job description and the interview process.

The wildcard here is the people. I would argue that finding a job you love is often about finding a boss, team, and company culture you like. It may sound a little odd to suggest that the biggest factor driving your happiness at work is something that has little to do with the role itself, but if you’ve ever had a bad boss, you know this is true.

To find a great boss, you’ve got to get to know the people at a company. If possible, identify a list of target companies you’d like to work for. Then, identify the departments you might like to work in. You can use tools like LinkedIn (or warm introductions from friends) to find your potential colleagues and bosses. Start networking with them before you actually need a job.

This is going to do two things. First, the boss will know you who are long before you apply. They may even think of you when a new role opens up. Even better, this will give you a chance to find out how well you get along with the team and whether the organization is a place you’d like to work.

Finding a job you love is all about fit. If you apply to companies you know little about, your chances of finding a great fit will be hit or miss. Instead, take the time to do your homework. That will ensure you land a job you love.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.



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