In the past I would put as much thought into my next job as I would put into picking out socks. Then I received some enlightening tips from the wonderful people at Stewart, Cooper, and Coon (if you’re at the executive level looking for a job or want to make the transition to the executive level, look these guys up — they’re amazing).
Set aside a few hours when you’re not going to be interrupted. Go to some of the major job boards (such as Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com) and start searching for jobs that interest you. Don’t look at salary, location or experience. Just let your imagination run wild. Write down keywords that sound good to you and use them to help you narrow or diversify your search. You can also write down keywords for jobs that you don’t want in order to help you quickly eliminate options.
I found out some interesting aspects of what I would consider to be my dream job that I had never known or thought about before. This process of free association (if you will) allows you to discover much about yourself.
Even if you’re not currently looking for a job it is a worth while exercise. Esther Derby has a good article entitled Five New Year’s Resolutions for Managers in which she encourages managers to “invest in you” and “create time for reflection”. I believe that these strategies are valuable to all workers bot just managers. Make this career search part of your “invest in you” time.