Career Theory, Part 2: Identifying Compatible Jobs
In my first installment about the career planning process for public interest lawyers I emphasized the importance of identifying your talents. Talents are skills you enjoy using. In my case, my talents are public speaking, counseling, and writing. Identifying your talents is roughly akin to having a compass for your career journey. Your talents are your magnetic North. Now you can start your search for the right job.
Secret of Job Happiness: Jobs Where You Use Your Talents Frequently
Of course there are many variables that will determine whether you are satisfied in a job, including the personality of your boss and the physical working conditions. That said, one of the most important factors for long term job satisfaction is finding a professional setting in which you will use your talents frequently, not occasionally. If you are using your talents frequently in a job setting you are likely to feel that you are both engaged and productive. A simple example: If your talents are public speaking and writing, you are unlikely to feel satisfied in a job where you are mostly managing people. You need to find a job where public speaking and writing are common activities of your workday.
A Powerful Public Interest Job Search Tool: LinkedIn
I own no stock in LinkedIn and -- to my knowledge -- I don't know anybody working there. It is an amazing resource for public interest and human rights lawyers. First, it allows you to create a network of people who generally share your professional interests. You should create and keep updated a complete profile with a professional-looking photo. It is you calling card -- people will find you and when you introduce yourself to people they will see your profile so make sure it is well done. The website has directions for creating effective profiles. Build up your network of people who are interested in the areas of law that you are. Join LinkedIn Groups, and contribute to their discussions. Post news items that grab you or arouse your curiosity on your profile and distribute them to your contacts and to the groups you belong to. You will learn a great deal and people will view your profile and want to learn more about you and to be helpful.
Equally, important, LinkedIn has a powerful search function: it allows you to search fellow professionals, organizations, and job opening by SKILLS. One example: Let's suppose I have a passion for animal rights and my chief talent is counseling. How can I find organizations where I can work? By typing in "animal rights and counseling" in the search box, you will find people using this skill in this line of work and organizations doing this work which need people with counseling skills. Try it. And write me back with the name of an organization which has a current volunteer opening for a person who can counsel in the animal rights field. And don't be put off with the fact that the job is volunteer. Volunteer jobs often lead to permanent paid jobs. Bottom line: spend 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn. I guarantee you will have a much more robust knowledge of the kinds of jobs that will give you satisfaction.
Next Installment: Creating a Strategic Plan to Get Desired Jobs