Get a job, they said. Follow your passions, they said. Believe it or not, those don’t have to be different ideas. And if you’re anything like, well, most young people, you’re probably looking for a combination of both. You want a job with meaning. And purpose. And hey, maybe a ping-pong table or two.
But how in the heck do you find that? And how do you nail down what you’re most passionate about? Keep reading for our advice on finding a job that lines up with your values.
What Do We Mean by Values?
When we say values, we’re referring specifically to things like diversity and inclusion, mentorship programs, gender equality, environmental stewardship and combating homelessness. Some organizations’ values are tied directly to their products, like Tide’s Loads of Hope mobile laundry units. Sometimes they go beyond product integration and tackle big human-equality issues like ending racial bias. For many companies, their values are part of their “benefits” in that they give employees the freedom to pursue pro bono projects or volunteer during work hours.
Identify What You Value Most
You can determine your values by thinking about what you would do with your time if you didn’t need a job – if you won the lottery or if your side business were sold for seven figures. After your three-week vacation to wherever, how would you fill your time? If you would spend your time volunteering for a specific cause, odds are there are organizations – for profit and nonprofit – that are already aligned to those values. Take a moment to jot down what meaningful, world-changing initiatives you would be a part of if money weren’t an issue. What are you passionate about? Why? Be honest with yourself about what values and causes jibe with you, not what you feel like you’re supposed to care about.
How to Find Out What a Company Values
Now that you’re clear on your personal values, it’s time to look for employers that value those things, too. Before pursuing an opportunity, look on the company’s website and social media pages to determine its causes and stances. That way, once you’re in the interview, you can dig in and ask for more details about how they bring those values to life. You can also ask what personal characteristics the employer and interviewer value for the job in question. After the interview, feel free to reach out to peers who work there (or used to work there), and check out company review sites to get the really real on whether an organization lives up to who they say they are. Organizations, like people, can sometimes lack self-awareness.
If you’re on the job hunt, volunteer roles speak volumes on a résumé, and there’s even a section on LinkedIn for showcasing causes you care about. (Learn how to build a complete LinkedIn profile here!) People are drawn to passionate people. Even if your interests don’t line up directly with your career, they’ll demonstrate your well-roundedness and what kind of worker you are. So go ahead and update your résumé and online profiles to include that little extra about yourself.
Be the Change You Want to See in the Workplace
All these tips work for someone who’s job searching, but what if you like your current job and it’s just missing that extra something? Start your own group or initiative! Don’t wait for someone else to get something going. Your manager and HR department can help you figure out how it can come to life, and you’ll be more engaged in the workplace because you’ll be bonding with others over a common cause.
Full disclosure: You probably won’t find the perfect workplace right away. You might bounce around from job to job, and that’s OK. If you have this nagging feeling that a job doesn’t match up with who you are and what you’re all about, then you’re probably right. No job is perfect, but you should seek out a place where you feel like you can bring your authentic self to work. We know you’ll find it if you haven’t already. You got this.