By Nicolette Johnson
Associate Director of Graduate Career Services
I’m an “idea” person who frequently thinks about ideals – those perfect situations where optimism and imagination reign supreme. And for me, being idealistic provides the perfect landscape for dreaming big about my career.
One of the best ways I envision the type of work that I want to do is to create my own unique job posting, which helps me to clearly articulate what my ideal role is, so that I can go after it.
Whether you are starting a new career, searching for a new position, or feel like where you are now is not exactly where you want to be, I suggest that you create your own job posting.
To get started, find a quiet place, perhaps with your favorite beverage — whether it’s a cup ‘o joe, a glass of wine, or whatever works for you. You’ll need to get into a mental space where ideas flow and inhibitions are low.
Then, write your unique job posting, focusing on your ideal position. The key here is “ideal,” not “what they’ll hire me for.” Life is short. Go for the big one. No regrets.
Break your job posting down into four sections:
Every job posting has a title, a small assemblage of words that quickly gives a glimpse of what the position is all about. Organizations use a variety of titles, from traditional ones that signify status or hierarchy to titles that give little indication of where the person fits within the organization.
Pick a title that sums up your ideal role. Feel free to be creative here. This is your title. Chief Merrymaker? Big Brand Builder? Don’t hold back. Go with it.
In this portion of the job posting, outline what type of day-to-day work you want to do. What does the work look like? (Think about what you like to do and what you don’t like doing to help you refine your duties.) How much time do you want to spend within each area of responsibility? Do you lead people? If so, how many? Does the position naturally set you up for promotion into another position? If so, which position? Is travel required?
Picture yourself in your ideal work environment. What does your ideal workplace look like? Are you in an energetic environment or a quiet one? Is it collaborative or independent? Do you work from home? What types of co-workers do you interact with? Do you own your own business? Are you in the field or at corporate headquarters?
After you have determined what your ideal job looks like, outline what qualifications you’ll need to obtain the position. What level of education is expected? How much work experience is necessary? What special skills and knowledge are important?
By completing this section, you’ll have a clear idea of what skills you already have as well as some additional skills you’ll want to build to be best positioned for the career of your dreams.
After you complete your posting, read it. Does it bring a smile to your face? A sense of contentment and peace? If not, you haven’t quite created your ideal job description. Take another stab at it. Your ideal job posting should get you excited and bring a warm sense of “aha.”
Now it’s time to take action. Plot your plan to find or create the job that fits your posting. How closely your future work life mirrors the posting will determine your satisfaction level, and more importantly, how close you are to your calling.
Nicolette Johnson is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Nicolette and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Nicolette at firstname.lastname@example.org.