Do This Before You Pick a Career
Choosing a career is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. It's a source of stress for so many!
You’re more likely to make a sound choice if you approach the process deliberately instead of just drifting from one position to another.
Maybe you recently graduated from college, and you’re looking for your first job. Perhaps you’ve been in the workforce for years, and you’re interested in changing professions. Either way, careful planning will help you to find meaningful work.
Take a look at these strategies for identifying and pursuing your options.
Do Your Research:
1 - Assess your skills
Start out by taking an inventory of your interests and talents. What did you like most about previous jobs or college courses? Which accomplishments give you the most satisfaction?
Review past resumes or annual evaluations to get additional insight that you may have missed.
2 - Discover your passions
Maybe you can make a living doing what you love or come as close as possible to that ideal. Pay attention to how you feel about various occupations instead of just focusing on salary data.
Don't be discouraged if there are many people doing what you're passionate about. Your unique spin on things makes it different!
3 - Take a test
If you’re uncertain where to begin, there are many career tests that can help you to learn more about yourself. Try the classic Myers-Briggs or search online for other options.
I really love 16Personalities.com because they do a great job of offering multiple explanations of different areas like your Strengths and Weaknesses, Career Paths, and Workplace Habits. They even offer insight into your Romantic Relationships, Friendships, and Parenthood.
4 - Collect job information
Make a list of occupations that interest you and look up details like salary ranges and future hiring outlooks. Good sources include the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or ask a librarian for suggestions.
Consider the CareerOneStop.org Interest Assessment. In 30 questions it pinpoints specific careers you may excel in and gives a detail explanation of what you can expect in that career.
5 - Consider the requirements
Figure out whether you’re willing and able to invest the time and money needed to prepare for different careers. If going to medical school would be difficult at your stage in life, maybe there are other health care positions that would excite you.
Also inquire about short term certification programs or job training programs within your company. Participating in these lets your company know you're serious about succeeding in your industry and you're able to expand your network while doing so.
6 - Set priorities
Narrow down your options to a manageable list. Identify 2-3 career choices usually make a realistic starting point.
Consider working on one choice at a time for a period of 6 months or so before moving on.. It allows your to streamline all your research, networking, and focus in one area and when you've explored all options, move on to the next.
Explore Your Options:
1 - Work with a professional
Paying for career coaching may be worthwhile if it helps you find rewarding work. You may also be able to find free or discounted services at your university career center or by signing up for group counseling rather than private sessions.
2 - Conduct interviews
Use your network to generate contacts for informational interviews. Invite them out for coffee or schedule video chats if they live far away. Ask questions about the career specific to their opinion and experience in their field.
3 - Complete an internship
Look for ways to test out a field before committing yourself. You might be able to intern, volunteer, or gain experience with part-time contract work.
4 - Start a side hustle
If you’re still searching for something that will motivate you, maybe you need to create your own position. If you need support, check out your local Small Business Development Center. Most offer free to low cost coaching, workshops, and mentoring.
1 - Repeat as needed
It's important early on in your career to develop self-awareness so you fully understand your skills & talents. This will help you make career decisions that stick. If you find yourself in a situation that doesn't fit, take your time and start the process over to ensure your next move is a better fit.
2 - Create strategic goals
At the same time, you need to be practical so you’re balancing planning and action. Develop short and long-term milestones that will give you a sense of direction and help you track your progress.
3 - Check-in regularly
Keeping up with daily external demands can use up your time and energy if you let it. Revisit your dreams and aspirations regularly so you have the career you want instead of becoming stuck in an outdated routine.
Find a career that will keep you engaged and satisfied. When your work aligns with your values and abilities, you’ll enjoy more happiness and success.
Don't feel that you have to figure this out alone. I'm happy to talk with you about your career trajectory and plot a course!
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