Why A No List Is So Important

When looking for a job many people have the “ideal” list – things they want in that next position.  Whether that be job responsibilities, location, hours, benefits or opportunities all the things they really want in their next job.


Too often they forget about the no list. They think that they already know what the don’t want so they don’t have to write it down.  But that is not a dependable plan because when reviewing a prospective opportunity the no’s go right out the window.


Case in point: I have a client who is amazing.  One of the things she said during one of our first interviews is that she doesn’t really like interviewing, recruiting or hiring staff.  She is ok managing a little bit but doesn’t want to manage a large department.


This weekend she sent me a job posting and asked what I thought.  The first line in expectations was, in summary, to hire, train and manage staff of 25.


In reading the entire description most of the good list was there so it was easy for her to glance over the no’s.  But that is why I am here.


I copied the line, sent it back to her and asked, “You really want to do this?”


Make yourself a T-square and put the wants and don’t wants in two columns.  When reviewing an opportunity physically check next to each one.  At the end of the review you can then take a quick glance at this list.  Without getting emotionally involved you can make a decision.


It can be depressing searching for a job and the feeling of “I just want a job, I don’t care what it is any more” can sneak in.  I get that and I empathize; however, if you go after the job that has all the no checks you are probably going to find yourself in the same situation that you are now much sooner than you anticipate.


Then that can be a double whammy.  You were looking for a job for so long, got a job, hated it, and left after a short time.  Now you have the additional emotional battle of beating yourself up for taking it or the internal battle of how do I explain this on my next interview.


It is like going out with the wrong person just because you don’t want to be alone.  That never backfires now does it?  Don’t just take the job because it is offered.  Unless you know that you are taking it for a short term just to pay the bills and you still continue to actively pursue other opportunities.


Yes, there are times that you take the wrong job for a short time but let’s be honest, sometimes  you just gotta do what you gotta do.  As long as you don’t end up marrying it you should be fine.


One last thing about your no list: know your limits.  Some items are absolute not and some are I would prefer not to; just make sure you are clear on where you stand on each one before you review an opportunity.  If these distinctions are not clear you could end up talking yourself out of an absolutely not just because you are getting too emotional.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



Leave a Reply