Write Your Next Job Description + worksheet

“Where do I start?” has probably crossed your mind if you’re back on the hunt for a new job. Not only do you have to figure out all the jargon that might be new since you were last in the workforce, you also need to decide what it is you want to do now.

The lucky ones already know exactly what job they want, but for many of us, there is a mess of optimism and ambiguity to sort through before we can identify our dream job.

At Path Forward, we’ve come up with a simple exercise that will bring clarity to the process and give you ideas for what you want your next job to be.

To get started, you’re going to make three lists (who doesn’t love a good list, right?).

  • First, make a list of everything you’ve ever done that you really, truly loved doing. These can be tasks from your prior professional career, but also think about things you’ve done since you’ve been away from the paid workforce.
  • Second, make a list of everything you’ve ever done that you loathed.
  • Finally, make a not-too-long list of things you’ve never done before but are interested in exploring now.

You may notice that these lists make a pretty good base for a job description, which is exactly where we’re headed. Continue on to Part 2 of the worksheet to help form them into one.

For the purposes of this exercise, it doesn’t matter if what you come up with is completely realistic. You are really just giving yourself a place to start your job search.

With this base, you are ready to hit the job listings. Do you find ones that match your descriptions or at least come close? Great! But don’t worry if you don’t — use what you do find, alongside the lists you created, to hone in on the sweet spot between what you’d love to do and what the market will pay you to do.

Or if you’re feeling extra ambitious, you could rank your lists based on your priorities to get extra clarity about your dream job.

This exercise has another great benefit: It gives you some concrete information to share with your network. You can be specific about the kinds of roles and tasks you’re interested in. You just never know when someone will say “Hey, I know someone who is looking for someone to do that” or “I know someone who does this, let me connect you!”



Would you like a worksheet to guide you through this exercise? Download our PDF here, print it out, and write your answers on paper. This is an exercise to help you think about your priorities and the job characteristics that are the best match for you!