Practical steps to finding a job with purpose

By Robert Half on 9th August 2017

Do something you love and never work a day in your life, or so the saying goes. This is often perceived to be easier said than done—after all, many professionals don’t know what their ultimate career goal is.

Recent research from CIPD shows that 64% of UK professionals already feel satisfied at work. If you aren’t one of them, it could be time to consider finding a purposeful career. Read on to discover why happiness at work is so important, what drives it and how to find a job you love.

Why it’s important to love your work

Being in a role you enjoy and working with purpose means you’re far more likely to achieve goals, excel in your career and earn more. Research by Gallup has also shown that employees who are more engaged at work often have fewer chronic illnesses and health problems.

You aren’t the only one who will feel the benefits that a sense of purpose can bring. Gallup also found evidence to suggest that happier workers help to enrich the teams they work in and are an average of 12% more productive, with higher levels of innovation and creativity.

Six factors that drive happiness at work

In our report, It's time we all work happy®: The secrets of the happiest companies and employees, we discovered that workplace happiness is most commonly determined by six guiding factors. You can use them to measure future opportunities and increase your chances of landing a job that gives you a sense of purpose.

1) Being a good fit for the role and the company

Long-term satisfaction at work is about a lot more than just the job you’re doing—it’s also about the company you work for and the team you’re part of. Aside from measuring the technical skills you can apply to the role, try to get a feel for the culture at the company and honestly assess whether you’d fit in.

2) Feeling a sense of empowerment

A true sense of purpose at work comes from feeling empowered and trusted to make independent decisions. Empowerment has the added benefit of honing your critical thinking skills and is a confidence-builder, too.

3) Feeling appreciated

A job well done deserves recognition. Our research shows that appreciation is one of the top three drivers of workplace happiness. Small acts of appreciation can go a long way to improving overall performance and will make you feel like you’re making a difference at work.

4) Interesting and meaningful work

A sense of pride is the number one factor in workplace happiness—employees who feel their work has purpose are 3.2 times more likely to be happy than those who just clock in and clock out each day.

5) A sense of fairness

A single act of unfairness can be enough to transform a happy employee into a sceptical one. Feeling like you can speak out and that all managerial decisions are transparent will improve your sense of workplace fairness. The same is true of being encouraged to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

6) Positive workplace relationships

Having a good relationship with others on your team is proven to help manage stress and makes meeting the demands of the job easier. Our research shows that employees who say that they have good relationships (within their team and cross-team) are 2.7 times more likely to be happy at work.

How to find your passion and make it your career

If you’re trying to decide how to find your passion and purpose at work, there are some practical steps you can take to help you get started.

  • Find out what truly interests you

If a job with purpose means a career change, you might need to try some simple exercises, like listing out your favourite hobbies or singling out jobs you dislike, so you have a better idea of what ‘purpose’ and ‘passion’ look like to you.

  • Start networking

Start moving in the same circles as the professionals you hope to join. They can offer you contacts within the industry and help guide you on reaching your ultimate career goal.

  • Develop a learning plan

Now that you know where you want to be, you can improve your journey there by developing a learning plan. Setting goals and targets will give you a far easier way to measure your success and also shows potential employers that you’re serious about meeting the challenge.

  • Show commitment

If your pursuit of purpose leads to a career change, you may well have to answer questions about changing roles in your job interview. Use it as an opportunity to show your willingness to grow and develop.  

Now that you have practical steps in place, start your new job search with Robert Half and we can help you to find a role that will make you feel happy.

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