Finding the Career for You

Are you on the right career path?  Does that question trigger uneasy feelings for you?  Allowing yourself to follow that question to the answer that fulfills you will change your life for the better, and ultimately, leave you feeling satisfied.

75% of Americans have changed their careers at least once, and 33% are considering it.  It does take time to make the transition, however first you have to identify where it is you want to go.  Have you identified the right career for you? If THAT question makes you uneasy, there are steps to help you answer it.

Take career inventories.

You probably took one in high school, and since you didn’t know a lot about yourself at the time, or maybe you were just excited to get out of class, maybe yours, like mine, decided that you’d make a great lumberjack when you grow up.  Rest assured, that they are better developed, that their databases have increased as jobs changed, and that you have acquired more skills and preferences since high school. You have most certainly discovered more things that you did not like, which gets you closer to what you do like.

Make sure that it is a well-respected assessment tool.  It should actually measure what it claims to measure, which means that you should have consistent results, not wildly differing suggestions, each time you take it.

Use it as a tool, not a prescription.  It won’t tell you what job to apply at, but it will point your compass towards an industry, and help you to reflect on the questions that it poses.

Sort through your options.

Start by writing down your education and certification, your skill set, actual job offers, hobbies and interests you find yourself talking about, and jobs you’ve been offered.  Rank them, and cross off ones that you feel completely at odds with. Start to narrow your goals.

Look for patterns.

Here’s where you start to find overlap.  Your skills, the job market, and your career preferences might look like completely unrelated, but you might find some commonalities.  For example, you might discover that all three require working from home, i.e., the ability to self-direct. Try not to fixate on job titles, just yet.  Be sure to include your values in this assessment. Compromising them may lead to early burnout.

Reach out.

Surveys show that 85% of jobs are filled through networking.  Let that information empower you to flex your job search tentacles at your next social gathering.  People love to feel helpful. Most people just want to be given credit in return. Find people in your field and ask them if you can interview them with questions like, “This is what I think your career looks like.  Is that accurate? What is the most stressful thing about your job? What does the cultural climate tend to be like in that field? Is the reward system more tangible or intangible? What’s the turnover rate in your industry?  What are the perks? What’s a typical day like? I hated _____ in my last job. Is there a lot of that in this career?”

You can take them to lunch, or even email them questions.  If they can let you shadow them for a day, even better!

Find a mentor.

About 80% of CEOs attribute their success to working with mentors.  Mentors can already be in the field, they might be a job coach, or they might work a parallel position of leadership in another industry.  Get the inside information, instead of assuming that you’re on your own. Be bold in choosing one, more than one, or even changing your mentor to find one that adds value to you.

Keep this in mind:  taking the time and energy to make the career shift puts you in a better position long term to avoid burnout.  You will spend 90,000 hours at work in your lifetime, so spend it in the place that suits you best.

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For professional assistance contact: JumpStart Resumes

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