Are you struggling to find the right job or company that you can truly be happy at? Perhaps you are unsure of the next steps in your career? Well, I have some tips that can make this discovery process a little easier.
The first step to discovering the right career is first understanding yourself. It’s amazing the number of people who don’t know who they are. Some of us have gotten so used to letting outside influences tell us where we belong, that we have not taken the time to get to know ourselves. What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I recently took a personality test over at 16Personalities and was shocked at how accurate the results were! They go into great details of your character traits and even suggest possible career paths. I suggest to take the test (it’s free), then make a list of the ideal responsibilities you would like to have in a career. Think of it as your dream job description. What would that look like?
Do Your Research
After getting to know yourself better and creating a list of your ideal roles and responsibilities, do research to find which positions overlap with most of the list. For example, I know I am creative and analytical and therefore need a balanced position. I’m obsessed with marketing/branding, customer behavior, and consumer products. I am also a leader, life-long learner, and enjoy working cross-functionally in teams to get the job done. After much research, I narrowed down to the top 5 career paths which all overlap each other.
Remember, there are many ways to research that do not involve Google. Talk to people (I’ve conducted countless informational interviews), find a mentor, shadow or intern with someone in your ideal field, attend industry conferences or take a class. Be sure to do enough research to get some confirmation that you would enjoy working in that position.
Now that you have discovered your Dream Job, work backwards to figure out the gaps in your experience and training to create a career roadmap. If you are a recent graduate, what does an entry-level job look like for your ideal field? Will you need to go back to school or get certifications? Are there some skills you can get on your own to supplement your work experience? For experienced professionals, based on your background how can you pivot to get back on track to your dream career without starting from the bottom? What are your gaps and what is the plan of action?
After you have a framework, you just need to act on it and boom, you are on your way! However, please realize the path to your dream will not be linear. Be flexible and ready to adapt, but stay the course.