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If you’re looking for a new job, I bet one of your top two priorities is finding a job you really, truly love. Somehow, you’ve found yourself at a job you don’t care for, and you’re ready to make a change. And, you hope to not wake up in another situation where you don’t like your job.

So, how can you land a job you love? Well, it starts by prioritizing what’s important to you. Think about what really makes you happy at work. On the surface, we often think we will be happy if we’re making the most money possible. But, when you get right down to it, this usually isn’t the solution.

The key to finding happiness at work is typically tied to a few things. First, the people you work around make a huge difference. It doesn’t matter how great your job is. If you have a bad boss and crazy coworkers, chances are good you’re not happy. Second, you want to be paid equitably. It’s not that you have to make the most anyone’s ever made for your job. But, you want to be paid fairly when compared to your colleagues. Last, you want to be doing work that’s interesting to you.

You’ll know the pay before starting the job, so it’s not hard to gauge if you’re being paid fairly. And, you should have a pretty good sense of the type of work, based upon the job description and the job interviews.

The wildcard here is the people. I would argue that finding a job you love is often about finding a great boss, team, and a company culture you like. It sounds a little odd to suggest that the biggest factor impacting your happiness at work is something that has little to do with the work – it’s the people. But, if you’ve ever had a very bad boss, you know this is true.

To find a great boss, you’ve got to get to know the people at a company. If possible, identify a list of target companies you’d like to work for. Then, identify the department you might like to work in. You can use tools like LinkedIn (or warm introductions from friends) to find your future colleagues and boss. Start networking with this group before you actually need a job.

This is going to do two things. First, the boss will know you who are long before you apply. They may even think of you when they begin to hire someone new. And, better yet – you will have a chance to find out how well you get along with the team, and whether or not the organization is a place you’d like to work.

Finding a job you love is all about fit. If you apply to companies you know little about, your chances of finding a great fit will be hit or miss. But, taking the time to do your homework will ensure that you land a job you love.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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