I recently addressed hiring managers, relating back to them a lesson I learned in business school. The main premise of that lesson was that there are 3 variables to consider when developing a product:
You can only prioritize two of these three variables. Either you have a low cost product that offers superior quality but takes time to produce, or you pay a premium to produce the product both quickly and with the quality you desire.
The real beauty is how this concept can be applied to multiple arenas of life. It isn’t just product development where you might find yourself having to choose two of three. In the midst of a job search, you also have to know where your priorities reside.
So let’s say you are looking at three main variables while searching for your perfect job.
- Location: This is the difference between staying put, and being willing to relocate for the job of your dreams.
- Pay: We all have a number in our heads of what we want to make. But what would you be willing to drop that number down to for the right job?
- Fit: This is the job that fulfills all your desires. You would be doing the work you are most passionate about, for a company you are excited to work for, and as part of a team you blend well with.
The more established you become in your career, the more likely it is that you will actually be able to find all three of these things in your job hunt. That’s because, if you have spent 20 years building up a reputation and proving yourself in your field, you tend to have a better shot at the openings that come up – and the ability to cherry pick the opportunities that match what you are looking for most closely.
But in the beginning of your career, it is far more likely you will have to prioritize two of the three. You may be able to find the fit you’ve been dreaming of, and at a rate you could be very happy with, but it may involve you relocating to get it. Or perhaps the location and fit are great, but the pay leaves something to be desired.
As you build your reputation and improve upon your experience in the field, it is all too common to have to sacrifice in one of these three areas in order to find what you are looking for in the other two. So be open to that. And know that the perfect job may not always be perfect in every way. Go into the job search knowing what you are willing to sacrifice, and where your own priorities lay.