When you really enjoy your job, you’re not only more motivated to go to work, but more successful when you’re there, too. Here are some tips to help you identify jobs that will fit your interests and keep you engaged. 

Identify your interests and weigh the pros and the cons 

If you want an interesting job, you should start by figuring out what that means to you. Make a list of tasks you enjoy, aspects of past jobs/volunteer experiences/school projects you liked, and skills you have. It might also be helpful to rule out some stuff you know you don’t like. Your list could look something like this: 

Now that you’ve started thinking about these interests, it’s time to figure out who’s hiring and where you’d like to apply. You can make cold calls, use your personal network, and use the YES now-hiring list to help you with that!

As you search, remember that even when people love what they do, there are probably still aspects of their jobs that aren’t their favorite. A barista might really enjoy making coffee and talking with customers, but not be so crazy about mopping and taking out the trash. If they like their other job duties enough, that cleaning stuff might not be a deal-breaker. Keep these pros and cons in mind when looking at job descriptions. What tasks excite you? Do you think they would outweigh the less-fun parts of the job? What tasks sound like a drag? Are they deal-breakers, or can you work through the boring and unpleasant stuff? 

Consider factors outside basic job duties 

What you actually do every day isn’t the only factor that makes a job interesting. You should also consider things like the job’s atmosphere, the type of co-worker interactions you might have, and the pacing of the work environment.

Atmosphere: this includes things like the type of products or services a business offers, the types of customers served, and the general vibe of the organization. Let’s say you’re looking at jobs in retail. Tasks like stocking shelves and taking inventory aren’t your favorite, so you’re worried about getting bored. If you’re interested in fashion, an otherwise-boring job at a clothing boutique could be exciting if you’re excited by the clothes you’re selling, get to check out new seasonal styles, and can share your interests with the customers you help. 

Co-worker interactions: if you enjoy working in teams and being around other people, having more opportunities to interact with co-workers will make work a lot more interesting. Let’s say you like swimming and are looking for jobs at a community pool. A job as a swim instructor where you’re around lots of kids and other instructors might excite you more than a “solo” job, like lifeguarding. If you’re not a people person and get bored by small talk, the opposite might be true.

Pacing: generally speaking, time goes by more quickly when you’ve got more to do. A job that keeps you busy won’t get boring nearly as easily as a job that lags. If you like the idea of working in a restaurant but are still worried about getting bored, you might consider applying to restaurants that you know are often really busy, or request to work busier shifts once you’ve got the job. 

As you search, remember not to limit yourself. Finding a job that excites you might mean finding a job that lines up really well with your passions and hobbies. Or you might choose to prioritize positions that include lots of opportunities to be around people, regardless of the type of work. Maybe a job that keeps you busy is the most important thing. Whatever gets you motivated, good luck in your search!