Trouble finding the right job? Write the ideal job description

Ana Vargas Santos
Career Relaunch
Published in
3 min readDec 19, 2016


Photo Credits: Pexels

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it seems that there is no right job for you? Even though you are job searching for weeks in a row, going through hundreds of fancy but standard job descriptions, none of them seems to speak to you. There is no way you are the person those companies are looking for. You start to feel miserable. You just don’t fit in.

If you are currently going through a similar experience, don’t fall into despair. One thing we’ve all learned from Apple is that being a misfit can be a good thing. So, let’s think differently. Instead of trying endlessly to find a job description that will marginally suit your expectations, why don’t you try crafting the ideal one? It will not land you a job but it will hopefully help you uncover your motivations.

I devised an exercise that will get you through this reflection process. It is quite simple but requires you to be focused for at least 15 minutes (that’s what it took me, but the duration might differ based on the level of thought or detail you decide to put into it).

What if one day you were just lucky enough to come across your ideal job description? What would it look like? Write it down in as much detail as possible, keeping in mind that you are crafting a job ad, so it should also be compelling.

As in any recruitment ad, you want to write about the organization, the position, the selection requirements and the perks and benefits.

The organization

Write about who’s hiring. It may be a company, an NGO, a community, an individual… it can even be you.

  • What is their mission? What cause, ideal or purpose would make you wake up every morning?
  • What are their values? On what grounds should you be making work-related decisions? (e.g. when in doubt, should you prioritize quality or speed?)
  • Who works there? Who would you like to work for or be surrounded by on a daily basis?

The position

Write about your role at the company.

  • What will be your goals? What would you like to achieve?
  • What kind of activities will you be involved in? What would an ideal day/week look like?
  • Who are you going to work with? Would you prefer to work by yourself or as part of a team? If you choose the latter, who would you like to work with?

The selection requirements

Write about what is needed to do the job well.

  • What are the required technical skills? Which of your skills would you like to use and develop everyday?
  • What are the preferable social skills? Which of your characteristics would make a difference in the way you felt at work?
  • Is any experience required? What is it that you already do (or did in the past), that you would like to continue doing?

The perks and benefits

What would be an added value, besides doing the job you love?

After writing everything down, let it rest for a day or two (not longer). Then re-read it and see if it still makes sense — would you still apply for this position?

If so, please meet your future job!

If not, try to identify what are the main topics you are not happy with and rework them. Do it as much as you need to reach the job description that really suits you.

If you are surprised or puzzled by the outcome and not quite sure what to do with it, feel free to contact me. I will be glad to share some ideas on possible next steps.

Also, I would love to hear your feedback. Was it helpful? What was the most challenging part? Did the end result match your initial expectations? All your comments are welcome.



Ana Vargas Santos
Career Relaunch

HR Research Partner. I write about learning and career management.