Getting a job is difficult but getting the right job you can actually like is even harder to find. You may be thinking of changing jobs, your present job may not be interesting enough or you may be still looking for your first job after graduation. Looking a new job takes time, the important thing to consider is finding something you can actually love to do in the end.

Some people just settle for whatever comes their way, I don’t blame you, you need to do something to survive. What I want you to bear in mind is that you could go the extra mile to find what you can really like and do for a very long time. The bottom line is that if you love what you do, you will be a happy person in the end and will end up doing your job very well (in a tough economy it takes time and perseverance to get a job you can really like).

Therefore, the first thing that you should do is identify your dream career and begin taking the necessary steps to achieve this dream. You might have to return to school to earn a master’s or other advanced degree, but it will be well worth it once you are doing something that you love for a living.

What companies look out for

Every position comes with responsibilities and the expected individual who gets to fill that position should be capable of executing the tasks with little or no supervision. Actually that’s what companies say but they micro-manage in the end and you end up not enjoying and delivering on your tasks because corporate bosses won’t stop breathing down your neck everyday demanding deliverables. The thing is if you are good at what you do, you should be left along to do your job and you will come through with completed tasks before deadlines.

Most companies now look beyond just good grades. Excellent grades truly should reflect the skills in those areas that you can apply (it’s an added advantage). Your ability to process information and knowledge on the fly can get you far in a new job. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information that matters.

To prepare yourself for your career, you might want to consider taking an internship. Many universities, both traditional and online, will set you up with internships that will provide you with the skills that are necessary to thrive in your chosen industry.

How soon can you adjust to company culture and ethics? When faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead? These are the real on the job attributes that matter, work on them when looking for a job.

What you should look out for

Whether you’re trying to find very first job, switching careers, or entering the job market after a long period of schooling, finding a job requires two main tasks: understanding yourself and understanding the job market. Do you know yourself enough to know what will work for you now and in the future. What are your strengths and weaknesses. What do you really want.

Forget about what courses you pursued at the university and honestly ask yourself what you really want out of your life right now. You are not your CV. People with a poor sense of what the market is looking for or those who pay weak attention to the messages their resumes are sending out to their prospective employees rarely find what they really need to be doing.

If you really mean to work for that company, find a way to interact with some of the decision makers. Even though candidates know that conversations with decision makers are most likely to shorten job search times, some still hide behind screens and just send out resumes via email hoping to get that all important call to meet with management.

Be proactive, you should be out their talking to people at business events of interest to you and selling yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and meet with decision makers (it pays to wander outside your comfort zone). Start facing the risk that someone will say no (you are used to it from some email replies so why not give it a real shot). Build your confidence whilst you are at it and increase your network of professionals in real life not just on LinkedIn.

There are way too many job opportunities out there, lots of courses you can choose to prepare yourself, degrees to be pursued and even graduate schools for a few others who need more formal education. When you are ready, find a job you actually like and you will never work again.