Work is much more than simply a way of earning money. It defines us as people in our society. Think of the number of conversations that focus on what you do for a living. Introductions are often based solely on this:

“Mike, I’d like you to meet my friend, Jan. Jan is a marine biologist.” Or, “Jan works at the new shopping center in town.”

At social gatherings people spend a great deal of their time discussing work-related matters, and it’s easy to begin to feel left out if you can’t join in with a horror story about your boss or coworkers. So it’s taken as understood that you want to work.

But you don’t just want any old job if you also want to retain your sanity.

One of life’s little pleasures is to wake up each morning and think to yourself, “Wow! Another day at work.”

One of life’s miseries is to wake up each morning and think, “Ugh! Another day at work.”

It’s important to find a job that will prompt the first response rather than the second.

So how do you find out what job will make you happy (and keep you sane) before you’ve spent years training for it?

Easy, really. You just have to know yourself.

You need to know:

• What you like doing
• What you don’t like doing
• What you are good at doing

Then it’s a simple matter of tracking down those jobs that fit your personality and skills. There are numerous questionnaires around to help you work out where your strengths and interests really are.

You might be quite surprised at the results these questions turn up. You may have always regarded yourself as a team player, but after reviewing your responses it becomes obvious that you really prefer to be independent – to make your own decisions and to work alone on projects.

Better to find this out now before you lock yourself into a job that has you working cheek-by-jowl with a group of people who spend all their time telling you what to do.

Before you start on your quest for employment you should be aware of what can go wrong – after all, forewarned is forearmed!

Employment companies agree that the top 10 reasons (not in any particular order) for people missing out on jobs are:

• Spelling errors or bad grammar in their resume
• An inability to express their thoughts clearly or discuss achievements
• Little interest or enthusiasm; appearing bored or indifferent to the job being discussed
• Being over-bearing, over-aggressive, or aloof
• Showing interest only in a higher grade or higher salary than the one being offered
• Providing vague answers and being evasive
• Not asking questions about the company or the job, or asking questions that lack depth
• Failing to look the interviewer in the eye and not showing self-confidence
• Appearing immature by giggling, chewing gum, cracking jokes, and not taking the interview seriously
• Poor personal appearance

So now you know what NOT to do, and you can set about making sure that you do all the RIGHT things to find that great job.

About the author:
Jennifer Stewart has extensive experience working with students and freelance writing clients in compiling resumes, writing letters of application, and preparing for job interviews. This article is taken from Secrets of Finding the Right Job – Not Just Any Job, part of the Finding a Job — Tips for Success series available at