How to Find the Right Fit.

Start With a Question

When I joined CareerVillage as a Career Coach, the first question I was asked was…


Biting Right In

Allexis is amazing. She sees the options ahead and is starting to question what is and isn’t right. The only thing missing is experience. She’ll never know if these jobs are right or wrong until she’s experienced them first hand.

So, I wrote her back and said…

Hello Allexis,

Finding the right job is a lifelong pursuit. So, I’ll start by saying that you are not alone. Most people ask themselves this question intermittently throughout their career journey, and the answer will likely change over time.

The best way to answer this question is through experience. Taking personality tests and exploring your options is a great first step. But, you won’t really know if you like or dislike a job until you do it.

Use the results of your personality test as a starting point to build on. Pick the first job on the list and reach out to someone who does that for a living on LinkedIn and see if they would be willing to talk with you about what they do. Ask if you can shadow them at work to experience the role in person. And see if they will allow you to volunteer to help.

This hands-on experience will give you the perspective you need to start identifying what you like and dislike. Then, you can go back and do the same thing with the next job title on the list, and so on.

Once you’ve gone through these options, hopefully you’ve found something you enjoy and will continue to pursue. But, if not, and nothing on the job list feels right, start looking at jobs outside that list. Think about what you are naturally interested in and reach out to people that work in industries related to that topic.

Over time, you will find people and roles that you like and your career path will become clear.

Hope this helps. Have a wonderful day!


Allexis’ Next Steps

  1. Reach out to people on LinkedIn who have the job titles listed in your personality test and talk to them about what they do.
  2. Ask if you can shadow them for a day at work and see what the workplace is like.
  3. Volunteer to help and get hands-on experience doing the work.

Getting Out of Your Head

I love this question because it really hits on the mental gymnastics that we play when trying to choose the right career path. We sit and “think” about what is going to be a good fit, rather than going out there and getting our hands dirty.

The sooner we can get out of our own heads, the sooner we can get out of our own way and figure out what the right job for us will be.

Stepping Into the Shadows

An advantage that Allexis and her peers have is that they are in high school. This may seem like it puts them at a disadvantage, but in reality people want to help students figure it out and make the right choices in life.

Owning that student mindset and thirst for knowledge is an asset when reaching out to professionals. Talking with them, job shadowing, and interning will give you the experience you need to know what role is right for you.

As a matter of fact, I’m advising a group of high school entrepreneurs at Catapult Ideas, who are working on this exact problem. They are building a network to connect professions and experience seekers in order to broaden the scope of career options for themselves and their peers.

What About You?

What would you say to your high school self if you could go back?

Leave your thoughts in the comments and share this with someone you know who is trying to figure it out!

Thank you for reading!

Much Woof,


Stop Digging Up Bones! Less Is More In The Job Search.

You Can Do It!

When you were a kid, were you told that you could grow up to be anything?

That person was a liar.

The truth is, you can grow up to be a finite number of things, and if you don’t focus and dive deep into those areas, you will never find the success you’re looking for.

The American Dream might be inspiring, but it is paralyzing.

This, That, or The Other Thing?

The number one issue I see when working with clients isn’t a lack of opportunity, but rather an inability to focus long enough in order to find the “right” opportunity.

We’re so scattered in our approach to finding jobs that we either take the first thing that comes our way, or we throw darts blindly, hoping we hit the target.

Let’s talk about Sue.

Sue is a skilled writer. She was offered a good job and jumped at the opportunity. But, although the job was great on paper, the culture didn’t align with her ambitious work-ethic.

She wanted to move on, but was paralyzed by the number of options available to her.

Should she…

  1. Stay and make the best of it?
  2. Quit and find a better fit somewhere else?
  3. Quit and freelance full-time?
  4. Stay and freelance on the side?

To complicate this even further, each above option was followed by a slew of sub-options. If she were to quit and find another job…

  1. What industry should she work in?
  2. What job title should she take?
  3. How much will she earn?

The list goes on!

Toothbrush Anxiety

We see this everywhere in our lives.

I’ve been using the same toothbrush for about 4 months now and it is starting to gross me out.  I need a new toothbrush!

When I realized this, I went online to look for brushes and was immediately overcome with anxiety!

There are SO MANY different options to choose from. How am I going to decide which one to buy?!

  • Electric or Manual?
  • Soft or Hard Bristled?
  • Organic or Futuristic?
  • Sonic or Hedgehog?

This is a big decision! I have to use this bristly-stick to keep my pearly whites shining for another 4 months. But, with so many choices, I’m paralyzed.

I have to find a way to narrow my options.

More is Less

The sad fact is that the more options we have, the tougher it is to make a decision.

This is an idea in psychology known as The Paradox of Choice, and when it comes to choosing a career path, it is the key reason we get stuck in our search.

Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.

— quoted from Ch.5, The Paradox of Choice, 2004

Less is More

In 2004, the American psychologist Barry Schwarz wrote the book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less and argues the eliminating choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.

I like Barry. He’s a real ally for my bristly toothbrush issues.

Choosing Fewer Choices

So, when Sue came to me, we focused on eliminating her choices. We asked questions quickly and deleted options as soon as we felt a hesitation in the answer.

  • Was she in a place financially to quit (yes/no)?
    • CHOOSE & CUT!
  • Does she prefer working alone, or within a company structure?
    • CHOOSE & CUT!
  • Does she prefer working in this industry, or that industry?
    • CHOOSE & CUT!

It is tough, and felt scary to take so many options off the table. But, we whittled down her options to the point where she could focus and move forward.

Going Deep Not Wide

Eliminating options helps us focus on the nuances between similar options, rather than getting overwhelmed by the differences between high-level categories.

Let’s go back to the toothbrush example. If I know I want a Manual Brush and not an Electric Brush, I’ve just eliminated an entire category of potential stress and can ignore every toothbrush with a current running through it. Think about it…

What is easier to compare?




The GUM Summit Plus Compact 505 Soft Toothbrush (vs) the Bamboo Charcoal Infused Toothbrush is clearly easier to compare because they are similar. All I have to choose between is plastic vs. wood, and charcoal vs. regular.

But, how can I compare the GUM brush to the Water Flosser? They might as well be from different planets!

The goal is to eliminate options and relieve yourself of unnecessary stress.

Using This In Your Job Search

Now that we’ve established that eliminating choices improves your job search, what are the filters you can apply?

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Job Title
  • Company
  • Salary
  • Experience

Basically, the filters provided to you in the LinkedIn “Jobs” search tool.

Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 3.44.58 PM.png

And would you look at that, you can save your search!

Overcoming Filter Fears

The scary thing about going deep, not wide, is the lingering doubt of…

“What if I chose the wrong filter?”

Well, if it helps at all, this will often resolve itself quickly when you start networking and applying for the jobs you’ve filtered into your list.

In my own job search, I started with 2 job titles and 2 industries.

  1. Content Marketing roles at Marketing Companies
  2. Career Counseling roles at Educational Institutions

As soon as I started interviewing, about 2 weeks and 4 interviews in, I realized that I was far more excited and interested in the Career Counseling roles at Education Institutions and eliminated #1 from the list.

My search is more focused and I’m no longer playing ping-pong between two competing options.

Now, all I have to do is go deep, and all I have to worry about is company culture, location, and compensation.

What Will You Cut?

Knowing that elimination will improve your job search, what are you going to take off the table?

Leave a note in the comments and share this post with someone you know who feels overwhelmed in their search 🙂

Much Woof,


Are the People You Report to Excited About Their Work?

If you don’t know, ask.

My first job out of college was at a credit card company in the suburbs of Chicago. The place had great job security and lots folks I worked with had been there 10+ years.

I am constantly worrying about the future, and about what my life will look like 10, 20, 30 years out. So, I decided to get out of my own head and ask.

I reached out to people that I reported to, worked with, and respected at the company. Fifteen of them to be exact. And asked them all the same question…

“What are you most excited about?”

I got a lot of different responses, but none of them were the right-side of inspirational.

The best answer was from someone a few years older than me. They said, “I guess I kind of like my grad program…”

The worst answer was from someone 10-15 years ahead of me. Who said, “I just got divorced. I want to quit. But, now I’m stuck.”

Woof… I was stunned.

These were not glowing visions of an exciting future.

Having these discussions gave me insight into how I was feeling at the time and helped me realize that I was looking for something different. In my early 20’s, I wanted to be working on something more exciting.

Soon after, I quit. Beginning down a new, less-stable, but much more exciting path.

Stability vs. Excitement

Jumping ahead – I am not nearing the end of 20’s, with 30 right around the corner and look back at these early conversations and the impact they’ve had on my life.

It shaped so much of my early career, but now I try to look deeper. I try to read between the lines.

I still love asking this question, but I know that life doesn’t always have to be exciting.

Now, I think of it more like a scale, balancing stability and excitement.

stability vs excitement

There are ups-and-downs in every career path. There are boring, difficult parts to every job. What changes is the balance that is right at the time.

Everyone Has a Scale

The people that I chatted with have gone on to find new spouses, take on more responsibility, and find their own balance of stability and excitement.

And I continue to tip the scales back-and-forth, finding the balancing rhythm that’s right for me.

Thank you for reading! Share this with a friend who is looking for balance in their own life!

Much Woof,

– Martin

Following My Own Advice…

One of the weird things about having video, audio, and written records of my past-thoughts, is the ability to go back and listen to my own advice.

For instance, I recently re-watched a clip from an interview I did just over a year ago with Andrea Shields Nunez. It was for her video series entitled “Your Second Act”, where Andrea sat down with “leading experts on career transition and life purpose”.

In this clip, which you can watch below, Andrea and I talk about how starting a Side Project can help you forge a new path, and set you apart during a career transition.

I watched this video and instantly realized that years of my Career Coaching work was hidden inside private Google Drive folders, inaccessible to the outside world.

This was just the kick-in-the-butt I needed to launch a new Side Project of my own.

So, on Sunday morning I headed over to the Dollop coffee shop, grabbed a large cold brew, and launched Career Dogs – the very site you’re reading right now.

My goal with this site is to be a resource for you. A place to discuss career strategies, think about big goals, and help each other find work we love.

My career will continue to evolve over the years, as will yours. I have grand plans to get a Masters in Psychology and eventually evolve my coaching work into a career as a Clinical Therapist. There will no doubt be ups-and-downs along the way, and Career Dogs is one of many next steps to get there.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey and share your progress along the way as well.

Thank you for reading!


Much Woof,