RedRocketResume’s very own Abigail Marshall, a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), shares how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can help answer critical questions about your career priorities.

In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a pyramid of human priorities that he called the Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow believed that foundational needs—such as physical and emotional well-being—must be met before a person can achieve what he called “Self-Actualization,” the attainment of personal purpose and peace of mind.

In looking for the job that best suits you, self-actualization can play an essential role in knowing what to look for and, just as important, when to say no. In the race for employment, it can be difficult to turn down a job that falls into your lap or that offers a big financial incentive. Keying into your hierarchy of needs can help you prioritize the right opportunities and avoid making a mistake.

Here are a few tips on how to hit the apex of your own hierarchy of needs in your quest for the perfect job position.

Be Honest with Yourself

Self-actualization revolves around being honest with yourself. For example, if a potential position comes with a good paycheck but a role that doesn’t fit your strengths or a company culture that doesn’t match your pace, it may not be the right fit.

Be honest about your real strengths and preferences versus those you wish you had. Zeroing in on your true skills and interests will help you find a position that will push you to your maximum potential.

Play to Your Strengths

Research shows that people who are able to utilize their developed skills and innate abilities are more likely to be more motivated in their work, be more productive, and have increased self-confidence (Clifton & Anderson, 2001-2; Hodges & Clifton, 2004; Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

Keep an active eye out for positions that will give you plenty of opportunities to utilize your best traits—and to further develop them!

Organic Networking

I have often heard people say that giving an elevator pitch about themselves feels fake, but networking doesn’t have to be unnatural or forced. Immerse yourself in the community you want to be involved in so you can meet people of similar interests and talents. It’s easy to make connections with like-minded people! You could even host your own small event and hand-pick the attendees to make for a more structured but comfortable meeting.

Building community also helps with networking. If you have a friend looking to enter a certain industry and you happen to know someone who can help, be willing to introduce the two and assist your friend in getting a leg up. These pay-it-forward moments can come back down the road when you need an introduction for yourself.

Here is a great article by Forbes with more tips on creating a good first impression.

Have Grit

Don’t give up on pursuing the job you want, and show some grit, “the passion and perseverance for long-term goals,” as defined by Angela Duckworth. Sometimes your perfect job might be a few promotions away from where you are now. Don’t deviate from the position or the field you’re interested in if your efforts don’t yield the job you want right away.

To land the job you want and deserve, continue to build your skills and community with a dedication that potential employers can’t ignore.