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Identify your work values

Why do you chose to do the job you do?

Just for the Pay? Work-life balance? The chance to work for a good cause? Are you answering a vocation? Are you continuing in the family trade? These are examples of work values - and they have a significant impact on your career path and job satisfaction.

Being aware of your values, how you arrive at decisions on the importance, worth, or usefulness of something — gives you much higher odds of avoiding a job that makes you unhappy but also finding a job that brings you joy! We know that people are happier when their values align with their career choices, according to Jaime Klein, founder of consulting firm Inspire Human Resources.So, what are these values? Well, they aren't always obvious: "Values are one of the first things I work with my clients on, largely because I think people have a hard time identifying them," says Amy Wolfgang, CEO at Wolfgang Career Coaching.

They can be different for everyone:

"What's important to one person may not be important to someone else," says Karen Litzinger, business etiquette and career coach. And just to make it easy - your work values often change over time: "People right out of college are often focused on getting a high-paying job so they can pay back their student loans, but that focus can shift later in their career," says Litzinger. To help identify your current work values, Monster created these three checklists. Just working through and considering these will help you form a better idea of what's most important to you when searching for your next job.

Intrinsic values

These are the intangible rewards that keep you motivated and engaged at your job. Intrinsic values can make you wake up in the morning and still look forward to work even when the weather's lousy, the news is horrendus, and your commute is an over-crowded expensive nightmare. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most important, rank how important these intrinsic values are to you:

  • Having a variety and change at work. Some people get bored doing the same thing day in, and day out, while others prefer having a set routine at work, Litzinger says.
  • Helping others. Working for a company with a good cause is a top priority for many workers, says Klein. Indeed, more than half of Millennials said a company's charitable work influenced them to accept a job offer, recent survey by research and creative agency Achieve found.
  • Feeling respected at work. In a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 65% of workers said the respectful treatment of all employees is an essential factor of job satisfaction.
  • Taking risks. Some people, like airline pilots, are thrill-seekers, "while other people are more risk-averse," Litzinger says.
  • Having your work recognised. Public recognition, particularly from managers, is a priority for many employees.

Extrinsic values

These are the tangible rewards or conditions you find at work, including the office setting, holiday policy, and earnings potential On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most important, rank how important these extrinsic values are to you:

  • Travelling for work. The daily grind in the same cubical can take its toll—especially on those who love to travel. Chances are, the younger you are, the more pumped you are to find a job with travel perks. According to a recent survey by Hipmunk, 38% of Millennials travel for business, compared to just 23% of Gen Xers and 8% of baby boomers.
  • Collecting a big paycheck. There's nothing wrong with wanting to make a good living. Monster's Salary Search tool let you search for salary information based on job title and location.
  • Setting your own hours. Want an employer with a flexible work policy? You're not alone. Aside from salary, 40% of Monster users said good work-life balance is the most important factor for job satisfaction, a recent poll found.
  • Time off work. Even with statutory holiday allowances, company policies may allow for additional incentives and days off.
  • Having autonomy at work. Don't want someone hovering over your shoulder, watching your every move? Certain jobs are tailored for people who like to work independently.

Lifestyle values

These are the personal values associated with where you want to live, how you choose to spend your free time, and your long-term life goals. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most important, rank how important these lifestyle values are to you:

  • Spending time with friends and family. This goes back to work-life balance; your job has a direct impact on your ability to spend time with your family. Finance jobs, for instance, generally entail long hours and working nights and weekends.
  • Location. Some people thrive on the hustle and bustle of city life, whereas others prefer a quieter pace of living in rural areas.
  • Living abroad. A significant minority of people would like to live and work abroad.
  • Saving money. This can be a challenge if your job doesn't pay well and/or requires you to live in an expensive city.
  • Becoming a homeowner. Whether you can afford to buy a home often depends on where you're living and how much money you're saving.

Once you've completed all three checklists, look at the values that you rated as 5s—these are your top work priorities. The values you listed as 4s and 3s are still important, but they shouldn't be at the top of your list of criteria during your next job search. Then determine which of the three categories is most important to you. See if any of the values within the categories overlap (for instance, if you ranked "having time off" and "spending time with friends and family" as 5s). Finally, spend some time writing down ways your top values could be reflected in your ideal job. Keep these values top of mind as you research companies during your job search and use your values as the basis for some of the questions you ask hiring managers at your job interviews. You can also make mention of your work values in your cover letter so likeminded hiring managers take notice.

Find the right job

Getting to know your work values can help set you up for a successful job search—and so can we. Could you use some help kick-starting your search? Join Monster today. Get a free review of your CV to get started. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can apply as soon as something catches your eye. Find a company that brings out the best in you.

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