How to Choose a Career That Aligns With my Personal Values

Aug 30, 2018

Whether you're looking for a new job, going back to school to learn a new skill set, or reevaluating your career altogether, it can be stressful to change your career and go on a job hunt. Not only are there a lot of professionals searching for a job, there are thousands of companies and positions to sift through. But before you start your job hunt or career change, it's important to recognize what exactly it is you're looking for. And a big part of that is finding a job and a company that you feel align with your personal values. If you're worried about making a move, start at the beginning by following our guide to finding your next big adventure in the professional world - an adventure that you're proud of and feel confident about its fit for you.

Here are five ways to find a job that aligns with your values:

Know who you are and what your goals are.

Before you start a new job or go back to school to earn a new degree, you have to first be honest with yourself about your goals and values. It's important to write down things like the industry you're attracted to, what salary you need to make, and what your professional strengths and weaknesses are. But it'll also help to ask yourself these questions:
  • Why are you unhappy in your career right now?
  • What positions/companies do you want to avoid?
  • What are your professional interests?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What values are you searching for in a job/company?

Do a lot of research before you apply and interview for jobs.

Now that you have a plan to figure out who you are and what your professional goals are, it's time to do some very important research. Before you jump head-first into applications and interviews, you have to be well-prepared. Do plenty of research on the companies you're applying to. This will ensure that you know each company's values, mission, and background before you get into an uncomfortable situation. Know that you'll probably never agree with every aspect of a company or find endless similarities between you and every employee, but here are some things to look into:
  • The products or services the company sells
  • The company's clients
  • The annual report from the last two years (if available)

Be selective within your job hunt.

In order to find the personal and professional alignment you're looking for, you have to build up enough strength to be selective. Once you start applying for jobs, you could get some interesting offers. But before you commit to anything, go back to your research. You can also make a "pros and cons" list if it helps to see each aspect written out. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What excites you about this offer?
  • What worries you about this offer?
  • Do you want to accept this offer because you're desperate?

Go with your gut.

God gave us the beautiful gift of intuition for a reason. Having intuition doesn't mean that we'll automatically know the best fit for ourselves or be able to slide through a job hunt with ease. But it does mean that you can trust yourself and how you're feeling. When you go to a job interview, assess how you feel:
  • Can you see yourself working at this company?
  • Do you seem to get along with the staff?
  • Do you feel confident about the essential job functions?

Don't sacrifice your values.

A job hunt can become super tempting when you start receiving offers. For instance, you might receive one offer that is higher than another, but you might be worried about working for that particular company. Even though it might seem obvious to choose the position that offers more money, consider your goals, your values, and that gut feeling of yours. After all, the number on your paycheck at one company might be higher, but you'd probably be left looking for a different job after you realize that it doesn't check the other boxes on your list.

Find more inspirational blogs for working adults! See a full list of online degree programs that can support your job search.