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Four Steps to Find the Right Career Fit Fast
For a lucky few people, figuring out what they want to do as a career is simple. They lock in on something they like to do early on and then build the skills they need to be great at doing it. But it's not so easy for the majority of us.
Most people spend their time job-hopping as they look for a career that fits. And settling in the right job doesn't happen that fast for most people. A recent survey indicated that a full 49% of workers have made a drastic career change at some point in their lives - and the average age they did it was 39.
So, the reality for most people is that finding the right career involves plenty of guesswork and lots of real-world experience. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are some ways to speed up the process of finding the right career.
Here are four simple steps that will lead you to a career that's the right fit in no time. Let's get started.
1. Conduct a Thorough Self-Assessment
The first step in the process of identifying the right career is to take the time to conduct a thorough self-assessment. It's important because having a high level of self-awareness is a prerequisite to knowing what type of career you'll find fulfilling.
You should identify and document:
Skills, Aptitude, and Abilities – Although there's no guarantee that you'll enjoy doing a type of work that you're already good at, it's important to identify your current skills, aptitude, and abilities. This will let you know what careers are immediately available to you if they should prove a good fit.
Financial and Emotional Needs – Like it or not, your potential earning power will play a big role in finding the right career. For example, if you begin a career you're passionate about you may love your job, but find that it doesn't meet your financial needs.
Conversely, choosing a high-paying career doing something you don't enjoy won't work, either. So, it's important to set some standards for yourself before you start your search.
Personal Work Style and Preferences – Understanding your personality and the way that you work best will help you narrow down your career choices.
For example, if you like to work independently, you're not going to want a career that will force you to collaborate with others constantly. And at the same time, you're going to want a career that brings you into contact with people with personalities compatible with your own.
2. Identify Careers that Intersect with Your Self-Assessment
Once you have the results of your self-assessment in hand, the next step is to identify some potential careers that intersect with what you've discovered about yourself. Ideally, you want to find careers that match one or more of your skill sets, have the potential to meet your financial and emotional needs, and that mesh with your preferred work style. And you should conduct your search in that precise order.
The reasons for that are simple. First, it's that it's all but impossible to find satisfaction doing a job you're not particularly good at. Second, you'll need to earn a living from your career, otherwise, you'll just grow to resent your job. And third, the closer your job is to your work style comfort zone, the better a fit it will be.
But keep in mind that it may be impossible to find a career that checks all of the boxes and is within reach. You may find that you'll have to be a bit flexible with your preferences. Or you might find that you need to learn some new skills to make a potential career a better fit.
3. Research Companies Related to Your Target Careers
Once you've identified some careers that might fit, the next step is to gather some data about the companies that might hire you to start on those career paths. The reason for this is that you're going to want to get a feel for what your options are, and how much room you'll have to grow within a particular industry. A good place to start is on sites like Company Reviews and Glassdoor.
By doing this, you'll start to get a better idea of what your prospects are for each given career. Plus, the information you find might help you to eliminate some of your potential careers. For example, if you find out that a particular industry's notorious for difficult work environments or a lack of upward mobility, it might influence your decision on how to proceed.
4. Start Networking with People in Your Target Careers
Once you've narrowed down your career choices, there's just one thing left to do. It's to start to get to know others already in the field you're considering. After all, there's no better way to learn about a career than from someone who's already pursuing it. And then you'll be able to find the answers to whatever remaining questions you have about the careers you believe might be a good fit for you.
Most people begin their networking by joining and participating in sites like LinkedIn. But depending on the careers you're looking into, you might find more specific networking communities to join. However you choose to go about it, what's important is to make as many diverse connections as possible. That way you'll get a variety of opinions and perspectives on the careers you're considering.
And there's another benefit to doing this kind of networking as a part of your career search. It's that you'll end up with plenty of contacts to help you once you've chosen a career and started to look for a job. And, once you've started on the path to your new career, you may be able to draw on those contacts to find a mentor to help you grow in your new role.
Finding The Right Fit
The truth is, you'll never be quite sure if your chosen career is right for you until you've been at it a while. But if you follow the four steps detailed above, you'll at least eliminate careers that are bad fits early on – and increase the odds that the career you choose will be the right one for you.
And in the process, you'll learn quite a bit about your options. That means you'll be better prepared for the road ahead once you begin your chosen career. And in the long run, there's no better way to make sure you end up with the fulfilling career you want without having to go through too many course corrections along the way.
About the Author
Philip Piletic closely follows the impact of technology on education, and its evolution from traditional to modern methods that include e-learning, courses, gamification, and others. He has also helped the Sydney-based IT & Business school in developing their IT courses.