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Why Every Job Searcher Needs a North ✨

Sep 24, 2021

Our guiding light when we think about our careers is finding jobs that bring us fulfillment. Research shows that fulfillment derives from:

  1. A sense of competence and mastery;
  2. A sense of community and belonging; and
  3. A sense of purpose and meaning.

At Mento, we think about each job as a sort of progression toward finding your own fulfillment equilibrium, whether it's finding a job that both challenges and inspires you, a team where you feel supported and can be yourself, a community where you can give back, or a company that brings purpose and meaning to your day-to-day.

Finding this fulfillment equilibrium is an ongoing journey, and there's no perfect time to re-evaluate your priorities if you're thinking about or planning on starting a job search.

A job search strategy can bring you clarity and focus (or maybe even help you realize you should stay in a role) by helping you hone in on what you want to do next, what your career goals are and what's important to you in life and work right now.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding Your North ✨

Here's a few questions that we like to ask ourselves whenever we're trying to explore what's next. Grab your journal, and follow along to see where you end up.

Tips before getting started:

  • It's easier said than done, but try to forget about what you feel you should be doing.
  • Let your imagination run wild: it might be roles that you can easily see for yourself, or ones that are more difficult and feel like a stretch. Part of this process is to help you figure out different opportunities in addition to the ones that you might already be thinking about. And also get at the core of what you really excites you.
  • Find a quiet space without distraction (maybe leave your phone in another room?!?).

Alright, let's dive in.

1. What is your dream job(s) in the next 3-5 years?

There might be a few different opportunities you want to work toward. Feel free to write down more than one answer.

This is all about finding a north star that we can generally guide ourselves toward. These jobs should feel like stretch opportunities - and maybe even unattainable right now. They get you excited, but maybe uncomfortably so because it’s something you’ve never done before. Let your imagination run wild! Part of this process is to help you figure out different opportunities in addition to the ones that you might already be thinking about.

Some inspo:

  • Software Engineer at Google
  • Junior UX Designer at Epic Games
  • Social Media Marketing at a Wellness Start-Up
  • VP, Customer Success at Travel Company
  • Founder
  • Solopreneur :)

Action item ➡️ List a few dream jobs :)

2. What are some of the skills/experience that you need to get there?

Think about what other skills or experiences you might need in order to reach this role. This should help inform how you think about what kinds of roles you want to prioritize right now.

Some inspo:

  • Experience in a certain industry (SaaS, consumer products, Climate tech)
  • A network within a specific community (venture capital, entrepreneurs, open source)
  • An ability to code in a certain language (React, C++, Python)
  • Expertise with a certain type of software (Salesforce, Airtable).

Action item ➡️ List a few skills or experiences…

3. What are 2-3 attributes that matter most to you in a job RIGHT NOW?

Key term is right now :). You should be super honest with yourself in terms of your needs right now. You might want to focus specifically on gaining the skills and experience for your dream job, or you have more immediate needs that you need to prioritize!

Some Inspo:

  • Colleagues (aka work with people my age!)
  • Manager (who I can learn from)
  • Company Reputation
  • Title
  • Remote / Flexible
  • Compensation
  • Break into a new industry

Action item ➡️ 2-3 Most Important Attributes in a job right now...

4. Develop a list of job title(s) that meet criteria defined in #3

These job titles might be different from what you want in 3 years from now, but should meet your most important attributes and should be pathways to get to where you want to go.

Some Inspo:

  • If you want to be a junior UX Designer at a gaming company, start as a customer success manager.
  • If you want to be an Account Executive, start as a Sales Development or Business Development Rep.
  • If you want to pivot industries, identify
  • If you want to start your own company, this might be joining an early-stage start-up as a Chief of Staff, or being in a role with flexible hours so you can tinker in your spare time!

Action item ➡️ 2-3 Job Titles that meet my criteria…

5. Develop a list of industries/companies that will also meet this criteria!

Don’t feel the need to be exhaustive (5-10 is enough). You can continue to build on this list. If you’re struggling to come up with specific companies, you can also narrow it down by industry, maturity, or even the problems that they’re solving.

Some inspo:

  • Big Tech
  • Nonprofit
  • Series A companies (any kind!)
  • DTC start-ups
  • Companies tackling climate change

Action item ➡️ ~5-10 Company/Industry Ideas

6. Bring it all together!

Now, it’s time to bring it together to identify a few paths you’ll pursue for the job search. Complete the statement below! If you have multiple versions, feel free to write out a few together.

In 3 years, I want to ______. Today, it’s most important that I find a job that ______, ______, and ______. Therefore, I am looking at ______ roles, at ______ companies.

P.S. This is 100% subject to change. We see it all the time. Thinking of it as a guiding light to bring you clarity and focus, whether you're looking for a new role, internally or externally, or want to stay in your current role for now.

Bring Yourself Internal Calm and Clarity

Even if you're not ready to hit the ground running with your job search, think of this process as an opportunity for personal exploration: to meet new people, explore new companies, and most importantly, learn about yourself, and the type of work you want to do, and types of problems you want to be tackling.

If you're job searching or simply want help thinking about your career and these larger questions, come join us at Mento. We provide 1-on-1 career coaching, a community of professionals, and on-demand content to help you develop yourself and your career.