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Why You Should Identify Your Job-Related Values Before You Begin Your Job Search

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

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Before you dive into the job application process, it’s important to identify exactly what you value in a job. Which aspects of a job are non-negotiable for you?


Most people fall short in their careers because they fail to identify their values and align their work to them.

We spend such a large portion of our lives at work that it’s no surprise that we connect so much with our jobs. If you’re searching for a new role because you want to take on challenges in new ways or find more fulfillment in your career, then identifying your job-related values is an excellent first step. Understanding what is important to you not only gives you clarity when it comes to finding the right roles but also helps you avoid roles that won’t offer you what you need from your job.


In this article, we'll share why identifying your job-related values before searching for a new role is beneficial, and exactly how to do it. We'll cover:


The Top 3 Benefits of Identifying Your Values

1. You’ll know what you want from a role before you start searching, so you can set clearer career goals and expectations.

If you don’t know what's important to you and what you want out of a job, you are unlikely to find a role that is truly satisfying. However, by gaining clarity on exactly what is important to you and what you’re looking for in a role, you can search for roles that match your values and will therefore present more opportunities for you to find a job you love.


Before you start searching for roles, take some time to think about what is important to you in your work. What does your ideal job entail? What does success look like for you in your career? What drives you in your work? What role do your colleagues play in your work? What are your interests, hobbies, and passions outside of work? What are your hopes and dreams for the future?


By taking the time to identify your most important job-related values, you’ll start to see what is most meaningful and important to you in your work. The more specific you can be, the better.

Before you start searching for new roles, you can use the information you’ve gathered about your job-related values to set clearer career goals and expectations. For example, let’s say three of your most important job-related values are challenge, creativity, and flexibility. With these values in mind, you could set career goals like finding a role that will offer you new and challenging projects, enable you to make creative decisions, and allow you to work remotely or have a flexible work schedule. This will help you to not only know what you want but also figure out how to go about getting it.


You can also use your values to help you set expectations for the type of role you seek. For example, if one of your most important job-related values is financial stability, you should expect to earn a salary that reflects the value you bring to the company. Using your values to set expectations for the type of roles you seek and the goals you want to accomplish can help you avoid disappointment and frustration as you search for new roles.

2. It will help you identify roles that are a good match for you.

As you search for roles, keep track of the job-related values that seem to come up again and again in the roles you’re interested in. Identifying the values that are most important to you and that are listed in the roles you’re interested in can help you identify roles that are a good match for you.


For example, if you find that almost all of the roles you’re interested in value creativity, challenge, and flexibility, you can be more confident that these are the types of roles that will offer you what you need from a job.


If you’re not seeing the job-related values that are most important to you in the roles you’re interested in, you can use this information to help you decide whether or not to pursue the roles. This will help you to avoid pursuing roles that don’t align with the type of work you want to do and the way you want to do it. It will also help you to weed out roles that aren’t right for you right away, which can save you time, energy, and frustration.

3. It can be used to evaluate and negotiate the offer you receive.

Your job-related values can be used to help evaluate and negotiate the offer you receive once you find a role you want to accept.


If you’ve kept track of the values that are most important to you throughout your job search, you can use this information to evaluate the roles you’re interested in. This can help you to decide if the role is right for you and if it’s worth pursuing. If you get an offer, you can also use your values to help you evaluate and negotiate the terms of the offer you receive.


If the most important things to you are compensation, advancement opportunities, and work-life balance, you can use these values to help you decide if the offer is acceptable and negotiate (appropriately) if it’s not.



Key Questions to Identify Your Job-Related Values

The sense of fulfilment you gain from any job depends on your ability to recognise the job-related values that are important to you and align your career with these values. To identify your job-related values, consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to work in the office, remotely from home, or a bit of both (hybrid)?

  • Consider the importance of the location of the office too.

  • Do you want to work as a permanent employee, an hourly-rate contractor, or part-time or full-time hours?

  • What type of businesses would you like to work for? Would you prefer a small not-for-profit with a clear community purpose, or a large business with financial security and plenty of career development opportunities?

  • Is there an industry you’re particularly passionate about - like education, technology, financial services or construction and engineering?

It can be helpful to journal your responses to these questions, or discuss them with a trusted friend or partner. The most important thing is to get yourself thinking what you personally desire and need from your work in order to feel happy, fulfilled and successful.


Secondly, read through the values listed below. Rate the importance of each work place value by marking it Essential, Important, or, Un-important.

  • Independence

  • Professional development and training

  • Work-life balance

  • Travel

  • Freedom

  • Variety

  • Opportunity for promotion

  • Teamwork

  • Recognition

  • Creativity

  • Loyalty

  • Honesty

  • Prestige

  • Perseverance

  • Positive attitude

  • Competitive

  • Inspirational leadership

  • Self-confidence

  • Humility

  • Quality of products / services

  • Respect

  • Open-mindedness

  • Stability

  • Innovation

  • Detail-oriented

  • Flexibility

  • Discipline

  • Empathy

Any item you have marked "essential" needs to go on the top of your list of job-related values. Before you apply for a new role, consider if the position and the company aligns with these values.


How you can use this information to make better decisions for your career

A clear understanding of what you truly value in a new job will help you avoid roles you might be unhappy with in the long run.


It will also help you to articulate to your future employer why you’ve applied for the position and why you find working for their business appealing.

Finding out what is important to you before your job search can help you find the right roles and make better decisions as a result.

Knowing what is important to you in your work can help you find roles that are a good match for you, and set clearer career goals and expectations. This information can be used to evaluate and negotiate the offer you receive once you find a role you want to accept.


Finding out what is important to you before you start searching for new roles will help you make better decisions along the way and find the right roles for you.


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Access expert advice to clearly identify your job related values.

Are you looking to find a new job? It's important to take some time to really think about what you're looking for. Getting clear on your job-related values will help to narrow down your search. At this very moment, you might be feeling lost or uncertain. But don't worry - we're here to help. We'll help you identify your values, as well as find opportunities that will align with your career goals. Let's get started!


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