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Finding the Right Career for You in 7 Easy Steps

Finding the right career can be a daunting task. 

There are endless possibilities at your fingertips: from going to college to joining the Armed Services to choosing a trade school- all are attractive first steps to start your career path.

But which one is right for you? And how do you choose between all the great options?

You’ve taken many online quizzes, but none of them give you careers you would choose for yourself.

So here you are, stuck at the starter line with no clue which way to run as you watch everyone else get ahead of you. 

If this is you, look no further because we have the steps you need to get you started right here. 

Let’s go!

Why is it important to find the right career?

Many of us grew up with parents that worked their fingers to the bone. Every day, they would go to their jobs early, stay late to provide for their families, and put food into hungry bellies. 

They endured harsh bosses and austere working environments not because they liked it but because that’s what was available to them.

Thankfully, with each passing generation, our prospects have improved, and today, we face various promising choices. While the option to turn your passion into a lifelong pursuit may not be readily available to all, having a career that is right for you could help you lead a more fulfilled life.

What tools can help you find a career that suits you?

There must be hundreds of career quizzes and tests out on the web- ones that consider your personality, ones that find your strengths, others that cover skills, emotional intelligence and motivations

In short, many promise to deliver your perfect career with a click of a button. And although there is merit to some of these, for the most part, they can’t help you. 

There must be hundreds of career quizzes and tests on the web- ones that consider your personality, find your strengths, and others that cover skills, emotional intelligence, and motivations.

In short, many promise to deliver your perfect career with a click of a button. And although there is merit to some of these, for the most part, they can’t help you.

These tests assume that you can work out what you’ll be good at, but while you are in the exploration phase of your career, you may not know which path you want, never mind if you’ll excel at it- which you won’t know until you do it.

What does work, however, is talking to people experienced in recruiting in that field

to get insight on what they are looking for or how you measure up if you applied to a job within that industry.

Getting jobs similar to the career you are curious about is also helpful because it helps you build your skills and get a lay of the land. You may find that your dream career is not all it’s cracked up to be, and you can quickly pivot to something else.

How do I find the career that is right for me?

So, how do you shape your interests and abilities into a career that will give you a sense of fulfillment and pay your bills? So glad you asked; here we go.

  1. Think about your strengths. 

    With so many careers, it’s essential to consider what you are naturally good at to narrow down your options. Do you love food, baking, or cooking? A career as a chef may suit you. Are you organized and can lead groups of people? Companies are always looking for great project managers. You may be a nurturer who enjoys caring for others. Nursing is a respected profession and is always in demand. Putting your God-given abilities at the top of your resume is a great way to find a position you were tailor-made for. 

  2. Identify your values and goals. 

    What’s most important to you? Is it a work-life balance? Or do you prefer to work for an organization that has the same values as you? Maybe both. Knowing what you want from life and work is crucial before you begin the next step. Not all companies or paths will align with your vision of the future, so you have to know what that is to eliminate the careers that won’t support your goals. 

  3. Brainstorm careers that interest you.

    This is a good step for those of you who are multi-passionate or multi-talented; if many things interest you, choosing a job can be difficult. Take the time to make a list of all the careers that speak to you, leaving none out. Then, go through your list, creating pros and cons for each, discarding the ones with the most cons. By the end, you will have a viable list of options you can work from.

  4. Try something on the side.

    With your list of possible career paths, don’t feel pressured to jump into one head first. Internships and volunteering are excellent ways to get your desired exposure without fully committing to it. Not only do you learn new skills while helping others, but you also build a valuable network. The only downside is that these opportunities don’t usually pay, but with the increase in remote positions, it is easier to volunteer while keeping your current job.

  5. Talk to friends and family who know you well. 

    People who know you tend to see things in you that you often miss; run through your short list of jobs and get some feedback! See which ones they think suit you best or which ones you should try volunteering for first. The people you do life with have a remarkable insight into your passions and can make connections to careers you may not have thought of. One conversation with Nana may open up a world of possibilities for you. 

  6. Don’t dismiss the wild card.

    Did you think of something wild and perhaps out of the box in your brainstorming step? Please don’t dismiss it. Sometimes, our values and career prospects don’t align, and it is up to us to make something that meets our needs. In 2020, 4.4 million new business applications were filed at the height of the pandemic, and it is still going strong today. So, if you have a great idea or a talent, flexing your mogul muscle may be what you are looking for. 

  7. Stay flexible and reassess. 

    Finding the right career takes time, especially if you are still figuring out where to start. Periodically take stock of the steps you’ve already taken: did you look at all the careers in your brainstorming step? Is it time to look for other volunteer positions? If what you are doing hasn’t jived with you, chances are this career isn’t right for you. Finish your time commitment, and make a smooth exit with as much class as possible. Remember, the people you have served can speak to your future boss about your work ethic and skill. Don’t burn any bridges.

What if obstacles get in my way?

Although we all wish we could take the time to pursue our dream careers, it isn’t always feasible, but there are still things you can do while overcoming life’s obstacles.

Let’s talk about those. 

Obstacle #1- It’s too hard to change careers. The adage nothing worth having is easy is as true about marriage as it is about finding a career. Sure, starting over can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Write out a plan of attack and break it into its component parts, tackling one at a time. Your change may not happen overnight, but your diligence and perseverance will pay off.

Obstacle #2- I’m too old. If you have spent significant time in one field, you may feel it’s too late to change, especially if a pension is involved. The good news is that all your years of experience have given you a store of knowledge and transferable skills that you can use to propel you into your new career. If the loss of a pension or retirement is just too painful, you can always opt to have a career after retirement- a practice that is becoming increasingly popular. 

Obstacle #3. I don’t have enough skills to change careers. You know more than you think, friends; you have plenty to offer through past work, volunteering, and life experiences. Upskilling also can be manageable, depending on what career you are looking into. You can volunteer remotely or take online courses one at a time to cover any gaps you feel you have on your resume. 

Obstacle #4. It’s hard enough to find a job; I want to keep the one I have. This is a valid obstacle that many Americans face every day and prevents them from moving forward. There could be other avenues to explore within your job, either laterally or in other departments you can explore, that will get you a step closer to what you are looking for. Remember, you want to get as close to doing your dream job as possible- if you can upskill within your company, go for it! You will get first-hand experience to help you decide if that career is right while still getting paid. 

Obstacle #5. I already lost my job. Not making ends meet is rough, but losing your job can be a blessing in disguise. Take the parenthesis in work to re-evaluate your values and what you want from your career. Talk to recruiters and beef up your resume to highlight strengths, skills, and knowledge that can make you attractive to someone in your desired field; LinkedIn is invaluable here. After all is said and done, you may be closer to your dream job than you think. 

Why am I so indecisive about my career?

Making a lifetime commitment to one field can be intimidating, like a blind date; you won’t know what you are getting into until you show up.

The same goes for choosing a new career. 

Part of what holds you back could be that you don’t know if you’ll enjoy the work or be any good at it! Those are legitimate fears and ones that can only be answered with experience.

Another reason could be the perspective that we must make a career out of our passion- a heavy burden for a 9-5 job to bear. This is a new way of thinking our parents and grandparents would balk at. Sometimes, work is just work, and your passion for watching TV won’t pay the bills. 

With all that said, you can choose a career you love or find joy in the one you have.

Get Out of Your Way

Many online sources will encourage you to explore different careers at a young age, but we’d like to point out that age is just a number. 

At the age of 96, Shigemi Hirata graduated from the Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2016- so if she can do it, anyone can. 

While you may have valid fears that keep you from pursuing your dream job, your biggest obstacle is you. 

So get out of your way already!!

Focus on what you are good at and invite your friends and family to join in on your search- and if the perfect role don’t appear, let your inner entrepreneur shine and build it yourself. 

It is within your power to create the life you’ve always wanted. It all starts with you; it all starts now.

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