A lot of the coaching work I’ve been doing with emerging leaders inside organizations and people in their 20’s and 30’s has been about finding a career they love. They are having success in their current role but feel that there is something more out there for them. Often times I hear they don’t know where to start and feel “stuck.” Very often people immediately jump to job searching online without doing the internal work necessary to figure out something they actually want to do and end up frustrated when that process doesn’t work. With that being said, I wanted to share a five-step process based on research for finding a career you love.
- Reflect on your values, strengths, and ambitions
The first step in figuring out where you want to go with your career is to identify what’s important to you, what you’re good at, and what you want out of a career. Very often identifying our values can help us figure out how to make the best decision. When we make a decision without thinking about our values, that is when stress tends to occur. Additionally, it’s important to get a good unbiased opinion of what your strengths are as positioning yourself in a job focused on your strengths will lead to a more positive situation.
Question to ask yourself – “What are my top 5 values and why?”
2. Define multiple career paths that could be fulfilling
There probably isn’t only one career that will be fulfilling for you and trying to identify that one opportunity will only lead to frustration. It’s important to cast a wide net in the beginning and do some internal searching to figure out what could be interesting for you. It’s also vital to write all of these down as opposed to just thinking of them in your head, checking a few online job boards, and then moving on. Think about some careers your friends and family have and if you could see yourself in a similar situation. Try to think about people that are similar to you and the careers they have found themselves in.
Question to ask yourself – “What fulfills me outside of work, and why does that fulfill me?”
3. Identify your network and network of networks
It’s no secret that the way to a new job in 2019 is utilizing your network and network of networks. What I mean by network of networks are those people that are connected to people you know that are doing something that is interesting to you. Don’t be afraid to send a message on LinkedIn asking to learn about the work that someone else is doing. Do not ask for a job, but you never know where those LinkedIn coffee meetups can take you. Enter with a mindset of curiosity and learning as much as you can and leave by showing gratitude for the other person’s time. This is the part of the job process that can get some people uncomfortable, but there is a good way to do this. During or after your conversation, see if there is a way to provide value in this person’s life. Maybe they have young child that is an athlete and you can offer to do a free sports lesson, or possibly you can return the favor and connect them with someone in your network. Think of a way that you can provide value for this person taking the time to meet with you.
Question to ask yourself – “What value can I provide this person when we meet?”
4. Test out careers of interest
The try before you buy method that is typically mentioned in retail can also be useful when thinking about your career. It can be detrimental to rush into a career that you think is going to be great without doing your homework and actually figuring out ways to try it out. If you are interested in a specific career, ask to shadow someone for a few hours and actually try to do that type of work. If you are applying for a sales job, make sure that you know you like sales and try selling something even if that’s different than what you’ll be selling in your new job. This often requires thinking outside the box, but before making that jump, identify a few ways to test out what you’ll be doing next.
Question to ask yourself – “Where can I find opportunities for me to try out different careers?”
5. Launch into a job search
Most people skip the first four steps I’ve described above, and immediately launch into sending their resume into the dark hole that are job boards. They put their resumes on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Monster, etc. and get frustrated when nobody is reaching back out to them. The truth is that this does not work, and a very high percentage of jobs are not found this way. A better and more effective way is to utilize your network to learn about organizations that are of interest. Reach out to the alumni that works at a company you’re interested in or find a way to connect with someone at the company through a mutual friend, and offer to meet them around their office for coffee or for a quick phone conversation. The best way to learn is to ask questions and get curious about the good/the bad/the ugly of that organization.
Question to ask yourself – “What are the 5-10 organizations I’m interested in, and how can I make connections there?”
The two biggest issues I’ve found people make when looking for a meaningful career are, they don’t write down their thoughts/internal work and they do not fully utilize their network or network of networks. If you are ready to take the next step to find a career that you love and would like to work with me, feel free to email me at HFanaroff@gmail.com, or find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.