9 Ways to Find Your Career Path When You’re Feeling Lost
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Today’s Question: Some people just know what they were meant to do – but some of us need a little help finding our direction. What advice do you have to help job seekers looking for the right career paths? How can they identify paths that will be fulfilling and rewarding?
1. Get in Touch With Your Inner Child
I have found that following your inner childhood dream normally points to what you are supposed to be doing in the world. As children we see no limitations, so we gravitate toward doing the things we dream about. When we become adults, we forget how to dream because the troubles of life consume us and we just do what we need to do to survive, whether we are purpose-filled or not.
2. Follow the Excitement
While you’re job hunting, it will be apparent that the companies and job descriptions that excite you are steps in the right direction. Ultimately, you want to land a job that doesn’t feel like a job to you. It needs to be something that’ll excite you and bring out your passionate side.
— Jonathan Razza, Liason Technologies
3. Track the Tasks That Matter to You
As you go through your workday, keep track of activities that make you feel fulfilled. You’ll start to recognize your interests and values, and that can steer you in the right direction.
— Adrian Granzella, The Muse
4. Exploit Your Gifts and Talents
We all have areas we excel in. If you can exploit what you’re good at, you will have a high chance of success and fulfillment. When this happens, it is then time to sharpen your skills in order to be the best version of yourself.
— Sean Douglas, Life Coach and Motivational Speaker
5. Apply Your Passion to Something That Pays
Bills wait for no man’s (or woman’s) success, so it’s a good idea to pick a career path that also pays the bills. For instance, my dream job is to live off revenue from my novels. My actual dream job is to make a living writing website copy, blog posts, and social media statuses for clients. I thoroughly enjoy both.
— Alexis Chateau, Alexis Chateau PR
6. Figure Out What You Believe In
Before you try to find a career, it’s crucial you know what you believe in. It’s hard to have passion for something you don’t believe in. Many people choose a career based exclusively on money – unfortunately, that’s the incorrect way to do it. Money is an outcome you’ll get regardless of where you go. If you work hard, you’ll make money. One of the most important contributing factors to success, though, is passion in your job. That begins with knowing why you do it – and knowing what you believe in. For example, Apple believes in making the best products in the world that innovate and change our lives. It’s a simple belief – it means the status quo isn’t good enough – and they channel that belief into how they do business and operate.
As someone trying to find his or her focus, the most important question is: What do you believe in? Until you can answer this, you’ll keep bouncing between jobs and feeling unfulfilled. If you find a career path that gives you a sense of purpose, then it’s likely you’re on the right path.
— Max Soni, DotComSEO
7. Utilize the Resources in Your Community
Job seekers should explore their options by utilizing resources available in the community. For example, WorkSource and Goodwill are organizations that provide different kinds of job search training and career exploration. Small Business Association (SBA) is good for people who are thinking about being their own bosses.
Then, job seekers should schedule informational interviews with alumni of schools they went to and professionals of different industries. The purpose of informational interviews is to talk to professionals who can provide insights into what it is like to work in a particular industry.
Last, if job seekers are sure that they like a particular industry or position, they can ask for a referral at the end of an informational interview. Always bear in mind that learning and growing are the themes of all these activities.
— Andy Chan, Prime OPT
8. Consider What You’d Like to Gain
Think about what you want to gain from this specific chapter in your career. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming to figure out your entire career in one fell swoop. To make it less daunting, try to focus on your key priorities for this particular phase in your career. For example, if developing strong functional skills is important, go to an established company where that function is core to the strategy of the business.
9. Talk to the People Who Know You
When searching for a career, it’s important to speak with family, educators, friends, and coworkers. Individuals close to a person can share observations of their skills and personality traits. When you better understand your own skills and personality, it can make it easier to look at career fields that can put those to use.
— Chris Rapone, Combined Insurance
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