Finding the Right Career
Choosing or Changing Career Paths
Whether youâ€™re just leaving school, finding opportunities limited in your current position or, like many in this economy, facing unemployment, it may be time to consider your career path. Regardless of your reasons, the right career is out there for everyone. By learning how to research options, realize your strengths, and acquire new skills, as well as muster the courage to make a change, you can discover the career thatâ€™s right for you.
In This Article:
â€¢ Finding meaningful work
â€¢ Overcoming obstacles
â€¢ Occupations that match your interests
â€¢ Evaluate your strengths and skills
â€¢ Develop skills and experience
â€¢ Consider starting your own business
â€¢ Tips for career changers
Finding meaningful work in todayâ€™s world
You may have fallen into the trap of thinking the sole point of work is to bring home enough money to live comfortably. While adequate compensation is important in any job, itâ€™s not the whole story. If you are unsatisfied with what you do every day, it takes a toll on your physical and mental health. You may feel burned out and frustrated, anxious, depressed, or unable to enjoy time at home knowing another workday is ahead. Whatâ€™s more, if you donâ€™t find your work meaningful and rewarding, itâ€™s hard to keep the momentum going to advance in your career. You are more likely to be successful in a career that you feel passionate about.
Whether youâ€™re looking to enter the work force for the first time or contemplating a career change, the first step to choosing a fulfilling career is to uncover the activities that get you excited and bring you joy.
Discovering new possibilities
The first step in considering a career change is to think carefully about what really drives you. You might find it hard to get past thinking about â€œwhat pays the mostâ€ or â€œwhat is most secure,â€ especially in todayâ€™s economy. However, itâ€™s important to first discover your primary interests and passions. This can open doors to careers that you might not have considered. Once you have that foundation, you can start fine tuning your search for the right career. You may be surprised at how you can fit your passions into a new career.
Exploring your career opportunities
â€¢ Focus on the things you love to do. What have you dreamed of doing in the past? What do you naturally enjoy doing? Jot down what comes to mind, no matter how improbable it seems.
â€¢ Look for clues everywhere. Take note of projects or topics that stir your compassion or excite your imagination. Reflect on stories of people you admire. Ask yourself why certain activities make you happy, and pay attention to times when you are really enjoying yourself.
â€¢ Be patient. Remember that your search may take some time and you might have to go down a few different roads before finding the right career path. Time and introspection will help you identify the activities you most enjoy and that bring you true satisfaction.
Overcoming obstacles to career happiness
Itâ€™s always challenging to consider a huge change in your life, and there may be many reasons why you think changing careers is not possible. Here are some common obstacles with tips on how to overcome them:
â€¢ Itâ€™s too much work to change careers. Where would I ever begin? Changing careers does require a substantial time investment. However, remember that it does not happen all at once. If you sit down and map out a rough plan of attack, breaking down larger tasks into smaller ones, it is a lot more manageable than you think. And if the payoff is a happier, more successful career, itâ€™s worth it.
â€¢ Iâ€™m too old to change careers. I need to stay where I am. If you have worked for a number of years, you may feel that youâ€™ve put too much time and effort into your career to change midstream. Or you may be concerned about retirement and health benefits. However, the more youâ€™ve worked, the more likely you are to have skills that can transfer to a new career. Even if you are close to receiving a pension or other benefits, you can start to plan now for a career transition after retirement.
â€¢ I donâ€™t have enough skills to consider a new career. You may be unaware of the skills you have, or low self-esteem may lead you to underestimate your marketability. Either way, you probably have more skills than you think. Consider skills youâ€™ve learned not only from your job but also from hobbies, volunteering, or other life experiences. And gaining skills is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You can volunteer once a week or take a night class to move forward, for example, without quitting your current job.
â€¢ In this economy, Iâ€™m lucky to have a job. I donâ€™t want to rock the boat. In todayâ€™s climate, it might feel like too much of a risk to consider changing careers. However, if youâ€™re unhappy in your current job, doing research on other options will only benefit you in the long run. You may discover a career with a more stable long-term outlook than your current career, for example. And you donâ€™t have to quit your current job until you are confident of your new career path.
What if Iâ€™ve already lost my job?
Being unemployed or underemployed can be tremendously stressful. It can increase the pressure of meeting mortgage payments and other financial obligations. You may feel ashamed for not working, or feel the loss of your job has stripped you of your identity, at home and at work. This is especially true if you have been in the same field for a very long time.
However, unemployment also has a bright side. It gives you the chance to reflect on your career path. If youâ€™ve been considering a new field, now is the time to research the options and see what might be the right fit for you. You may end up in a much stronger position than if you had originally kept your job.
Finding the right career tip 1: Identify occupations that match your interests
So how do you translate your interests into a new career? With a little research, you may be surprised at the careers that relate to many of the things you love to do.
Different online tools can guide you through the process of self-discovery. Questions, quizzes, and personality assessments canâ€™t tell you what your perfect career would be, but they can help you identify whatâ€™s important to you in a career, what you enjoy doing, and where you excel. One example, frequently used by universities and the U.S. government, is the RIASEC/Holland interest scale. It outlines six common personality types, such as investigative, social, or artistic, and enables you to browse sample careers based on the type of personality you most identify with. Find links to this and other online career tests in the Resources section below.
Researching specific careers
If you have narrowed down some specific jobs or careers, you can find a wealth of information online, from description of positions to average salaries and estimated future growth. This will also help you figure out the practical priorities: How stable is the field you are considering? Are you comfortable with the amount of risk? Is the salary range acceptable to you? What about commute distances? Will you have to relocate for training or a new job? Will the new job affect your family?
Get support and information from others
While you can glean a lot of information from research and quizzes, thereâ€™s no substitute for information from someone currently working in your chosen career. Talking to someone in the field gives you a real sense of what type of work you will actually be doing and if it meets your expectations. Whatâ€™s more, you will start to build connections in your new career area, helping you land a job in the future. Does approaching others like this seem intimidating? It doesnâ€™t have to be. Networking and informational interviewing are important skills that can greatly further your career.
You may also consider career counseling or a job coach, especially if you are considering a major career shift. Sometimes impartial advice from others can open up possibilities you hadnâ€™t considered.
Finding the right career tip 2: Evaluate your strengths and skills
Once you have a general idea of your career path, take some time to figure out what skills you have and what skills you need. Remember, youâ€™re not completely starting from scratchâ€"you already have some skills to start. These skills are called transferable skills, and they can be applied to almost any field. Some examples include:
â€¢ management and leadership experience
â€¢ communication (both written and oral)
â€¢ research and program planning
â€¢ public speaking
â€¢ conflict resolution and mediation
â€¢ managing your time effectively
â€¢ computer literacy
â€¢ foreign language fluency
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Article Source: http://goarticles.com/article/Finding-the-Right-Career/7548929/