How to find a job with purpose

Careers expert John Lees has some advice on how to get a job that has purpose.

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With a third of millennials alone planning to quit their jobs post pandemic, according to recent media reports, many employees have re-evaluated their jobs during the Covid crisis, including older workers. So what kind of work are they looking for? Careers expert John Lees says working with purpose (WWP) has become the new career must-have amongst employees and job seekers of all ages. He states: “While traditionally in my careers coaching business we work with people in their 40s and 50s seeking more job satisfaction and wanting to re-evaluate their career, now we’re seeing this across every age group. From those just starting their career and anywhere 20s upwards, people are seeking work which gives them purpose at a deeper level, greater job satisfaction, or the ability to ‘give back’.” Here he lists some key points in how to find a job that makes you feel more fulfilled.

1) Turn your job hunt into a personal research programme to find people who love their jobs – and why.

2)    Talk to people who seem to be in jobs they find interesting, purposeful or creative to discover what these roles and sectors are really about.

3)  While WWP can vary a little according to what individuals find purposeful, if you’re committed to working in a sector that personally gives you greater meaning these types of sectors could include:

–        A sector where workers make a real difference to other people’s wellbeing, for instance, health and care work, therapy, coaching and counselling.

–        A sector where your work makes a long-lasting difference to people’s daily lives such as construction and engineering – where you make a visible and long-lasting difference, for instance, to the skyline, quality of life etc

–        A sector which puts high quality and craftsmanship first such as handmade materials and objects, high quality manufacturing and engineering

–        A sector which measures and appreciates customer experience such as hairdressing or hospitality.

–        A sector that changes peoples lives, for instance, cutting edge technology/app design to transform a service.

4)  Once you have identified a relevant sector for you – think about the best context for your skills – what kind of people do you like to be around at work?

5)  Next look closely at employer promises about advancement, learning, and wellbeing – find out about the real experience. Talk to people who have done the jobs you’re chasing to find out the working reality.

6) Before you start applying for roles reflect on your experience – where do you feel you have made a contribution or contributed to outcomes you find meaningful and how could you apply this to the sector?

7) Then target organisations with a positive learning culture, with clear and personalised learning pathways by researching online.

8) Also identify organisations who invest in change – for example, they genuinely love tech, don’t just use it as a tool.

9)  If you reach interview stage learn to interrogate values in a positive way. Don’t just accept job information at face value.

10) If fully changing career is too much of a risk for your circumstances/responsibilities due, for instance, to the drop in salary, consider how you can perhaps change the job you are in to make it more purposeful. For example, if you get most pleasure from mentoring co-workers in your current role see if you could apply for more training or learning and development roles in your organisation instead, or another organisation in your existing sector.

*John Lees is a leading careers expert and is author of How to Get a Job You Love (McGraw-Hill, 2021-22 edition £14.99).

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