Values-Driven Job Search: A New Way to Find Your Next Job

Written by Darren Kanthal

August 2, 2021

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before: “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Now…raise your hand if, upon hearing the above, you’ve rolled your eyes so far back in your head they nearly get stuck.

In the current employment landscape, it’s easy to feel jaded as the days of pensions and company loyalty seem to be relics of the past. It’s easy to feel like “just a number” that can be replaced on a dime. I’m here to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case. It may take a little more thought, patience, and elbow grease, but you can — and deserve — to find a job that fulfills and inspires you. Even with the average employee tenure holding steady at just about 4 years.

In the era of LinkedIn and Indeed, it’s easy to scroll through job after job that “fit your profile” on an algorithm solely based on keywords in your profile; and then click the “easy apply” button. But, much like other aspects in life, there is no “easy” button and you get out what you put in. So, instead of doing a reactive search based on data that is presented to you, take control of your search! Conduct what I call a “values-driven” job search. This isn’t based on your job description or company benefits; it’s based on what you say is important to you as a human professional, and how you want to see your values align with a potential role, company, or industry that also leverages your skillset.

‘Sucking it up’ doesn’t work when values are misaligned

As I’ve coached clients in finding their dream jobs, and even throughout my own professional career, I often notice that people are dissatisfied in their jobs or careers because of a values misalignment. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a company has to be outwardly nefarious to warrant saying your values don’t align; it doesn’t have to be so obvious or dramatic. It could be as straightforward as the company doesn’t support the degree of work/life balance that you seek, or the management philosophy doesn’t quite add up to your personal outlook on leadership. Maybe the quality of work your company decides is “good enough” to meet the bottom line but doesn’t live up to your standards or how you want to support your clients. These kinds of misalignments are at times subtle and easy — or convenient — to ignore and cast on the backburner. Maybe your values don’t completely align with your company, but you’re paid enough to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, or you have great health benefits. While tangible benefits like pay or benefit make it hard to put stock in the more subjective value alignments, rest assured, those value discrepancies will add up over time and grade away at your satisfaction with the position.

A New Approach to Job Search

Enter: the values-driven job search. Take time to think through and write out your best case scenario, your negotiatiables, and your non-negotiables. This will support you in establishing your baseline. You might not find the job that ticks all your best case scenario boxes, but you can essentially quantify what matters to you most and work towards finding a job or career that ticks as many as you can. More importantly, you can quantify what simply won’t fly with you from a values perspective, and easily help you filter the jobs you will and won’t pursue because you’ll know, “if they want me to do X, it’ll fall out of what i say matters to me and my values.

At the end of the day, you want to be happy, enjoy the fruits of your labor, live the quality of life you want, and be the person you want to be. Your career may not be all unicorns and rainbows, but it doesn’t have to be fire and brimstone, either. If you need support getting started, reach out to The Kanthal Group and we’ll get you headed in the right direction. Or, if you want to laugh at the ridiculousness of the internet, check out this video:

Darren Kanthal

Darren Kanthal, Founder of The Kanthal Group, is a values-driven leadership and career coach with over 20 years of experience in HR and Talent Acquisition. Darren is intensely passionate about helping mid-career leaders cut through the BS, do the foundational work, and achieve their greatness.


Choose, evaluate, and rank your core values with our simple and straightforward assessment.

Discover Your Core Values

You have Successfully Subscribed!