A guide to defining core values for successful remote job search

Using Your Core Values to Guide Your Remote Job Search

You may not think much about your core values in regard to your job or job search. After all, most large companies consistently break with popular opinion on greed, corruption, and social stewardship. However, an even number of companies put their values first in a breath of fresh air. The only question that remains is how to use your core values to find the ideal job. While that may take some trial and error and practice, taking a proactive approach can make a sizable difference between a job you love and a job you hate.

How To Identify Your Core Values to Guide Your Remote Job Search

Core values, also known as personal values, are inherent in every individual, yet not everyone has the capacity to outwardly or even inwardly express them. However, doing so can not only increase your confidence but can also provide you with some insight into other aspects of your job, including:

  • Decision making
  • Achieving personal goals
  • Identifying empathy and sympathy
  • Bettering your relationships with coworkers

But before you can identify your core values, defining what they are is tantamount to success. You can define core values as:

A set of opinions or beliefs that govern your decisions and how you act in both a personal and professional manner.

Personal values have a wide-ranging impact on everything you do, yet in the remote workplace or modern digital world, they can get lost in translation. You may have a different response to online situations than you would to real-world scenarios, which can cause you to meander from your core values.

So in the effort to identify and embrace your core values, use this approach:

  • Jot down what you believe your values are
  • Think about leaders or individuals and what core values they embrace
  • Use your past experiences to guide your ideas
  • Make categories that organize your values into related groups
  • Think about a central idea or theme that’s apparent in your list and thought process
  • Select the core values that provide you with pride and govern your reactions and thoughts

Don’t expect this process to happen overnight. These are highly complex ideas, and to simply roll them out in a few minutes or an hour is probably unrealistic. So take your time to clearly define each of these steps and select the core values that you’re proud of.

If you need a bit of inspiration, consider these terms that coincide with both personal and work values.

  • Recognition
  • Morals
  • Ethics
  • Collaboration
  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Social responsibility
  • Social stewardship
  • Giving back to the community
  • Fair pay
  • Work-life balance
  • Challenging
  • Influence over others
  • Positivity
Using your core values to guide your remote job search

To help you with identifying your core values, Virtual Vocations designed these comprehensive worksheets in PDF format. The worksheets look at passions, interests, industries, job functions conditions, workplace culture conditions, and other parameters important when deciding on a career path. Click the buttons below to download the resources.

Follow this link to view and download the worksheet to identify your job functions conditions and what kind of work culture fits you.

Download the worksheet to pinpoint your passions and industries that appeal to you.

Using a Job Coach or Mentor to Help You Find Your Core Values

If you’re having trouble coming up with your core values, you can also enlist the help of a job coach or mentor. These experts can help you conduct a work values inventory or at least discuss various ideas about values. In many cases, you may not have thought about your personal values ever, or especially not in a work-based environment. A job coach or mentor can help you access this part of your mind and conduct some thorough critical thinking that can help you discover your core values more readily.

Applying Your Core Values to Guide Your Remote Job Search

Once you’ve developed your personal values or at least identified them, the next idea is to use them to guide your remote job search. The idea here is not to necessarily put your values before anything else but to find a company that embraces your values, at least to a fractional degree.

To apply your core values, start by researching companies thoroughly. Almost every company will have some defining website or social media page that outlines its mission, vision, social responsibility, and more. The company may even provide its stance on important, topical, modern-day issues, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion. By reading these pages, and in fact, truly studying them, you can find a company that has the right personal fit for you.

Furthermore, you can search the company’s vision and mission statements to find certain keywords and phrases that reflect the values you identified in your personal search.

Ranking Your Core Values Appropriately

Finding a company or companies that reflect all of your personal values isn’t easy to find. In some cases, doing so might just be downright impossible. And that’s why you should rank each of your core values appropriately. You can use a ranking system from 1 to 10, or you can just group your core values into must-haves, nice-to-haves, and so on. Don’t let outside sources or other people’s opinions sway your own opinions. You should feel strongly about your values, even if they’re unique to you.

How To Find Employers That Support and Embrace Your Personal Values

Finding employers that support and embrace your personal values isn’t always as easy as it sounds. However, you can employ a few of these options to find an employer who meshes with your core values or at least meets you halfway.

The List Approach

If you want to use your personal values to guide your remote job search, a great place to start is with “top employer” or “best places to work” honors or lists. In most cases, these companies rank highly because their values are instilled at every level of the organization and even embraced by the workers themselves. Some popular lists to guide you include:

  • Fortune’s Great Place to Work list
  • Best Places to Work – Glassdoor
  • Best Workplaces in America – Inc. Magazine
  • World’s Most Admired Companies List from Fortune

While these lists might not explicitly state the values of a company, it’s a good place to start to find companies that you’re interested in working for.

The Networking Approach

Perhaps a more hands-on approach to finding a potential employer that reflects your values is through a networking-based approach. If you have people within your LinkedIn profile that work for companies you’re interested in or that you identified above, reach out to ask questions. The more people you can network with, the more you can learn about what working for a particular company is like and whether the company actually adheres to its core values, mission statement, and corporate responsibility.

The Opportunities in Interviewing

Once you’ve identified a few companies that you may want to work for and that share your core values, start applying. If you’re selected for an interview, it’s the perfect opportunity to investigate more about the company’s values. Come armed with some potential questions for the interview that can provide more information about values and how the company uses those values in operations, charitable work, and other aspects of the business. Some follow-up questions might include:

  • What are the company’s core values? (You may know this information already, but a telltale sign that a company culture isn’t embracing its values is if the interviewer has no idea what the company’s core values are.)
  • What initiatives does the company have to provide influence and expand their core values?
  • How does the company embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?
  • What are your fair pay initiatives or other programs that promote equality in the workplace?

These are just a few of the questions you can ask, but you should also put together a list on your own based on your specific set of personal values. However, you shouldn’t put all your decision-making based solely on these questions. Pair this with the information that you gather prior to the interview process to get the most out of your interaction in the jobseeking process.

The Shifting Nature of Core Values

Just because you have certain values at this point in your life doesn’t mean that they will stay the same forever. Just as your interests, tastes, and dreams change, your core values will undoubtedly do the same. As a result, you should always consider how your values may change over time and when you need to do a proper analysis to rethink your personal values.

In addition, some psychologists believe that values change over time due to social situations, changes in relationship status, and who you surround yourself with, especially friends. While you can choose your friends, you can’t choose your boss or your coworkers. So if you notice that your values are changing, or the values or the people around you make you feel uncomfortable, do what you can to amend the situation. In a virtual capacity, this can be as simple as reducing the amount of chatter you have with a person that’s unrelated to work or asking your employer to intervene in the situation in a worst-case scenario.

More than anything, you should do some soul searching every few years to find out if and how your personal values have changed.

Don’t Negotiate or Compromise on Your Values

Not every employer or company is going to embrace the same values as you. While they might have similarities, you shouldn’t compromise or negotiate your core values simply for the sake of employment. This basic idea is the difference between a job that’s just a job and one that’s a rewarding career. That’s not to say you should quit your job just for the sake of your personal values. But the more an employer’s values are in line with your own beliefs, the greater the chance for you to feel like you’re part of something bigger. In many ways, that might be just what you need.

Which values do you seek in the workplace? How do you define if an employer shares your values? Connect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and questions. We’d love to hear from you!

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