Have you ever found yourself in this situation: You’re at a job interview. You’re getting along well with the hiring manager. You know you’re more than qualified for the position, and the salary is good. But for some reason, if an offer is made, you find yourself on the fence about saying “yes.”
Whether you’re taking the first step or seeking out the next step on your career ladder, how do you know if that job is the best step forward?
This is where your core values come into play. Anytime you need direction on a big decision, your core values are like a faithful companion you can count on to steer you toward the right choice. They remove any uncertainty and give you clarity around WHEN you’ve found the perfect fit.
Do you know what your core values are?
Have you ever made a choice because it “felt right”? That’s a nudge from your core values informing you that a person or situation aligns with who you are at that moment.
Core values are your North Star. They’re the innermost beliefs you have about what you need and what’s important in your life. This internal guidance system tells you what your priorities are, how to best channel your energy, and where you’ll find fulfillment.
Some examples of core values include:
When you know your values, you understand the reasons behind the choices you make. You don’t have to rely on guesswork, gut feelings, or a sign from above. Instead, you’re able to trust yourself, make decisions, and set goals from a place of purpose.
Even if you think you have a handle on your core values, it’s always worth revisiting them. After all, change is inevitable. Any significant transition in key areas of your life, like family, finances, work, or health, will require you to reassess your values. This last year alone was a pretty significant transition for virtually everyone!
One of the best times to reevaluate your core values is when you’re job hunting. Maybe you’ve lost a job, have lost interest in your job, or have to seek out a new line of work due to a dramatic shift in another area of your life. By getting clear on your values, you’ll know what you need to be satisfied and engaged in this next stage of your career. Plus, you’ll be able to pinpoint the best places to cast your net in a sea of job openings.
Keep in mind that as you uncover your core values, you also want to create a list of your work values. Think of work values like a set of branches on a tree. They’re unique on their own, but influenced by whether they help you meet and express your root, core values.
A few examples of work values would be:
If you compare these work values to the core values mentioned earlier, can you see how they’re interconnected? Each work value is an offshoot and expression of the larger core values of community, integrity, and contribution.
Your core values will never lead you astray in your job search. They’ll help you determine the companies to contact, the roles best suited for you, and the people you want to surround yourself with. Best of all, you’ll never feel like you’re going backwards or in circles. Your core values will always propel you forward.
There are a number of ways to begin connecting your core values to your career journey. Here are a few ideas to get you started (and be sure to look for recurring themes):
And if diving into this discovery process feels daunting, give yourself the gift of asking for support. Feedback from an objective pair of eyes and ears, like a trusted friend, counselor, or WHEN Advisor®, can provide illuminating insight into areas you might overlook.
By mapping out your core values, you chart a course for success no matter where you are on your vocational path. With your values guiding the way, each new opportunity becomes a step up on the ladder to greater fulfillment, a long and happy career, and a more meaningful life.
WHEN Contributing Well-Being Writer