This is the third of a seven-part series on the deadliest mistakes I see people making when changing careers.

Here’s a third mistake I see many people commit when looking for a more fulfilling job:

They don’t make the time to get clear on what they want next. They just randomly apply for jobs and hope for the best.

I’m definitely guilty of doing this. When I was ready to leave my job in marketing, I used this strategy.

Instead of asking myself some tough questions to get clarity, I mistakenly thought I could get that clarity by applying for jobs that sounded interesting to me. Maybe by going on lots of interviews, I’d figure out what I wanted?

You would be 100% right if you guessed that I didn’t get any of these jobs—or even an interview!

In his book, Success Principles Jack Canfield writes “Vague goals lead to vague results.”

This basically summarizes the problem with my strategy. And it’s so true when it comes to the job search.

Clarity leads to confidence, which leads to results.

The more clarity you have about what you want and why you want it, the more confident the hiring manager will be about hiring you.  

In contrast with marketing, when I was ready to leave my job in event planning, I started by identifying what I wanted and what I needed. That clarity translated into confidence, which led to strong, compelling interviews.

The same is true for you. When you put the work in to have clarity, it pays off.

You’re able to clearly articulate why a certain role is right for you, what strengths you have and why it aligns with your values.

You’re able to speak confidently about your work history, relevant experience, and the skills you could bring to the team.  

What’s the best way to get this kind of clarity? Start broad and go specific.

For example, instead of applying for any job posted in Human Resources, take the time to figure out the specific area within HR that best aligns with your strengths and values, such as payroll and benefits, workforce relations, recruiting or another area of the industry.

Regardless of your industry, consider these questions:

  • What are you better at than others? What activities make you come alive?

  • What are your values? What are you not willing to sacrifice?  

  • Who can you meet with who has a job in the field that you’re interested in pursuing?

In closing, I want to leave you with this quote from Jen Sincero in You Are a Badass:

“Be open to the fact that you may not know exactly what your new reality will look like because you’ve never seen it before.”