How to Land An Ideal Job Through The Hidden Job Market Part I of III: Know Yourself & Your ‘Non-Negotiables’

How can you source out ideal job options to fit the needs of your family? As a career consultant, here are some common questions and phrases that I hear in my coaching calls:

“I don’t know what kind of work is out there for me.”

“How do I start looking for work? It’s been a while, I’m a stay-at-home mom.”

“I’m torn that I have to go back to the office, my kids are young”

“I’m looking for a more meaningful career”

“I need:

…more work-life balance.”

…time to focus on my family.”

…to bring in extra income.”

…to work from home.”

…a different job that aligns with my faith.”

If you’re feeling frustrated about how to get started as a job seeker, this three-part blog provides practical tips on how to effectively access unadvertised job opportunities.  Maybe you’ve been away from the workforce for a while or have been working for years and are in a career transition – the following job search approach will still apply.

Knowing yourself is the first step in career exploration and in landing a position that is more likely to be fulfilling. Also, be clear about your non-negotiables. (The next article will discuss the importance of researching your options and the industries you would like to explore through networking and navigating the ‘hidden’ job market.)

Start with your Strengths

Focusing on meaningful jobs that suit your needs and can offer you a greater sense of purpose rather than accepting the first offer or settling for a paycheck just to pay the bills. In a recent Forbes article, From The Great Resignation To The Great Opportunity, Aaron Levy describes how people leaving their jobs “en masse” is not simply a matter of salary or an unwillingness to work.

There are an “unprecedented” number of employees leaving because of burnout, to take a break from being in the workforce and those that chose to move to another organization.  He suggests that it’s important for us to seek opportunities to become better versions of ourselves and that “[a]s humans, we seek work that’s meaningful, that challenges us to grow and that provides authentic human connection.” I completely agree.

From a Catholic perspective, God not only created us to live meaningful and purposeful lives, but to also help each other grow and strive for eternity within the context of belonging to a greater community. Ask yourself ‘what kind of work is fulfilling and why?’

Be curious! Start by mapping out your strengths, highlight what your ideal work environment looks like and outline jobs you enjoyed (and disliked!). Make a list of activities that you’re passionate about and that boost your energy, as well as industries and careers you want to explore. Assessments and personality inventories to help identify  your spiritual gifts or CliftonStrengths for example, can also give you additional insight and direction.


As for your non-negotiables, what types of jobs or tasks are on your “must have” or “x” list? What will you absolutely not compromise, such as hours, distance to the office, type of work or travel requirements? Will you only accept remote positions or are you open to a hybrid schedule? Does the organization, services or your direct duties go against your faith values? It would be worthwhile to write out goals for yourself and your family so that you have a clearer vision of where you want to be in life and your career direction.

Unfortunately, if you’re miserable at work because the company culture is toxic, your boss is hostile, or don’t feel challenged enough, it will likely bleed into the different areas of your life. There will eventually be a ripple effect on your family, your health and your overall well-being. Similarly, if someone feels intimidated during interviews, or starts a new job feeling completely inadequate and the negative self-talk is not managed well, their internal scripts will chip at the person’s self-esteem and affect how they show up.

Putting it All Together

For these reasons, it’s more than just career exploration and job search skills that women need support with. I’m passionate about coaching women on mindset and training them on practical skills to help build self-confidence. How to manage critics, combating comparison and competition and creating healthy boundaries are examples of skills I address to help women succeed.

Knowing yourself, minding your mindset and learning practical skills can potentially impact all areas of a woman’s life, not just the workplace. Before you actively look for work, take an inventory of your skills, your goals and take time to weigh your options. Being more intentional may lead to more meaningful and purposeful opportunities.

About the Author

Donna Laggui Crombie is a writer, mentor and coach. She is a Career Strategist, Life Coach and Consultant with INSPIRED WITH GRACE.  Donna encourages women to pursue an integrated life and career with intention and by design. 

Drawing from her background in employment counselling and career advising, she has a heart for supporting fellow moms to;  

  • Find remote, flexible work that honours the priorities of motherhood
  • Discover their purpose and explore career options
  • Gain practical skills to succeed at work, home and all other areas of life
  • Navigate the ‘hidden’ job market to land a purposeful job and/or 
  • Network with potential customers to grow a business

She also supports clients in the areas of wholeness and personal growth providing tools for women to increase confidence and self-awareness. 

Donna is a proud mom of five and blessed to have two in her arms and three in heaven. She supports neurodiverse families, and also offers peer-support to infant loss families through Elizabeth Ministry. She also facilitates the Inspired With Grace Careers Women’s Networking FB Group

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