Find out how to discover a job you’re keen on
The central theses
- It can take years to figure out your career path, but patience is part of the process.
- Narrow down your job search step by step and start with an honest self-assessment and industry research.
- Invest in yourself by building your skills, networking, and learning how to sell your personal brand.
Most people spend around a third of their lives working, which is why it pays to find an engaging and stimulating job.
Perhaps you are just getting started in your career or you are a seasoned professional looking to transform the industry. Either way, finding a job that you love can add to your life.
But your dream role won’t just land in your lap– –You have to spend time doing research and effort to earn it.
The path to your ideal position involves serious introspection.
What makes you happy
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are you willing to sacrifice in order to get a job that you actually want?
Being proactive is critical to reaching a position that you look forward to. Below we’ve outlined some practical steps you can take to find a career that you love.
Step 1: Take the time to think with complete honesty
Before you even think about combing through a job search, you need to look inside.
Why? Because job satisfaction usually comes down to whether or not you feel fulfilled by your job on a daily basis. What fulfills and motivates you?
Tons of career websites suggest that you go back to your childhood dreams to find out what makes you tick. However, this is not the most practical advice. Your idea of a great job as a kid is likely to be very different as an adult, as your priorities have likely changed. Unfortunately, adulthood has fewer monkey bars and more bills.
Instead of going back to childhood or figuring out what you would do if you won the lottery, come back to earth and ask yourself a series of questions to find out what to expect from a career.
- What are your existing skills? Are they transferable to another career?
- Whose career do you admire?
- What are you interested in?
- What are your non-negotiable desires for your next job? Flexible schedule? Completely remote? Services?
- What are your lifestyle priorities?
- What is your desired salary range?
- Do you feel good about starting a new career?
Take a personality test
Take a personality test like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or the Strengths Finder Test. While these type of personality and aptitude assessments may not guide you to your next job, they can give you an idea of which career paths are most promising based on natural inclinations.
Assess what you like about your current position
If you are planning a career change, take stock of your current employment situation. Do you feel engaged Do you like the company you work for and the people you work with? Do you have room to grow and the ability to learn new skills here?
These basic questions can guide you towards what you need for your next role and where you are likely to be happiest. Perhaps your career has reached a point where you are stuck and feeling suffocated. Or maybe you’ve found that you work best with people and that you spend most of your time in isolation.
Keep a list of your likes and dislikes about your current job to fill in the gaps for your future position.
Step 3: Learn more about your target industry and position
Once you’ve narrowed down the industry and career path you want, it’s time to do some research.
Visit industry forums to ask questions and read the experiences of current professionals in the field. Find out about the industry and where it will lead in the future.
Find out the answers to these specific questions:
- What are the barriers to entry for this career path?
- What is the likelihood that this career will be relevant ten years from now? In twenty?
- What training, certification or technical skills do I need to be competitive?
- Who are the biggest players in the industry?
- What are the salary ranges for this industry?
Step 4: network and lever connections
Try to spend time with professionals in your target industry to discover new career opportunities. Who are the makers?
And don’t limit your network to just LinkedIn and face-to-face meetings, you never know who a potential professional connection might be. Tell your neighbors, friends, and family that you are looking for a new job. You may be surprised at the possibilities that arise from these everyday interactions.
Step 5: Get Real Skills and Skills
If you change industries, there is a good chance that you will have to invest time outside of your normal work hours to make the transition successful.
You may be able to volunteer or work on a contract basis for a company you are interested in, for example, to gain experience. Night school or online courses are also good options if you want to develop certain skills like coding or photo editing.
Being as prepared as possible is one thing, but it will be next to impossible to acquire all the new knowledge necessary to take on a new role.
But that doesn’t mean you are doomed to fail.
Think about yours transferable Skills, for example. Research skills, analytical skills, written communication, organization and leadership experience are examples of transferable skills.
Soft skills are weighted just as or even more heavily than technical skills in certain industries. Being team-oriented and eager to learn can often make up for experience and technical gaps.
Step 5: save, save, save
When you feel like you’re ready to embark on a new career path, adding extra cushion to your emergency savings is helpful. A financial cushion can give you peace of mind that you need to focus on finding a job that you feel strong for rather than just considering the final number in the job offer.
While a decent living will likely always be a factor in any career decision, building a strong financial foundation can give you the flexibility to grab a chance at something new.
If you’re starting out in a new career or industry, a sturdy savings account can surprise you if you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. As a result, you can accept a starting salary without worrying about how you will pay the rent.
Because many positions have compensation levels based on experience, it can take years to do what you used to do. Be realistic about whether or not a lower starting salary is a deal breaker.
Step 6: customize your resume and cover letter
As you prepare to transition to a new type of job and industry, improving your “personal brand” is important.
Take some time to revise your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to accurately reflect your updated career goals.
Many companies, especially larger ones, use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to automatically organize and filter candidates using algorithms. Unfortunately, even if you are well suited for a particular position, this can mean a bot tossing your resume away because you are missing certain keywords on your resume.
In order not to get discarded by bots, carefully search the job descriptions to incorporate keywords that match your experience. Weave these keywords into both your resume and cover letter so that your application is prioritized.
Step 7: make a list of the employers you love
Once you’ve cleaned up your cover letter and resumed your resume, it’s time to start looking for employers that you could see yourself working for. Make a list of potential companies in your target industry and sign up for job alerts with the companies that interest you.
Is there a general application on the company site? You can use these general applications to sell yourself and what you bring to the table.
Step 8: Get a wire transfer if possible
A referral can help you tremendously when looking for a job or changing your career. Of course, this strategy works best when you have a personal relationship with a professional connection, but you will be surprised how far you can go with a great portfolio and research.
Step 4, Networking, can help you build those solid connections that can and will help you with a job posting and referral. This can be the difference between a foot in the door and a rejection email.
The path to a job you love
Learning how to find a job that you love can be intimidating. It might even feel a bit like dating at times– –minus the uncomfortable moments. But the right employment match is worth the effort. If you have enough time, research, and hard work, you can find a job that will result in long-term satisfaction.
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