For many years, I didn’t know what my calling was. I would go from job to job and just get stuck over and over again. I always thought that maybe this was “it” without really truly assessing myself. I had to take the time to self-assess and really uncover what career path was best for me.
When it comes to figuring out your career path, you have to start by understanding yourself better so you can then determine the career you were born to do.
In this post, we’ll dive deep into figuring out the ideal workday for you and all of the essential elements that factor into your career satisfaction. We’ll identify your purpose and motivations, interests, and personality. We’ll look back at your work experiences to ensure your next career move is the right fit for you. One thing is for sure, you don’t ever want to get stuck again. By following this system, you’ll ensure that you’ll be able to find fulfillment and happiness in your next career direction. We are excited for you!
9 Simple Ways To Help You Figure Out Your Career Path
1. Take a Personality Assessment To Help You Understand Your Strengths
We recommend that you first learn how you can use your strengths to find happiness and success in your career. The most important thing is that you remember that the only way to move forward is to look inward first. The first step is to take the Strengths assessment.
Carve out 20 minutes and take the Strengthsfinder assessment. You will learn what your top 5 strengths are and how you can develop them more in your work and life.
This first step is extremely powerful because once you identify what your strengths are and you realize that they are unique to you, this will help you increase your confidence in applying for jobs. Only you are the best fit for a job that utilizes all of your strengths. Not only that, you will be happier in your career when you are doing the work you are strong in.
2. Get Feedback You Can Actually Use
Oftentimes, we aren’t even aware of what strengths come so naturally to us. That’s why today we are going to go outside of your own brain to get some friendly feedback. It’s time to interview your friends, family, colleagues, and relatives. Gather as much information as you possibly can and thank them for their time and input. You can do this in person, by phone, or by email.
Three important keys:
- Make sure they know that they have permission to be candid with you.
- Be quiet. Try not to be defensive or upset when presented with feedback.
- Say thank you no matter how you feel. Sometimes you just need to think more about it and you will realize it wasn’t that bad or they were right on!
Additional Interview Questions:
- What do you think is my greatest strength?
- What do you see as my special talent, ability, or gift?
- What do I do naturally or effortlessly that is special?
3. Find Your Purpose In Life
“We do not exist for the sole purpose of paying our bills, grooming our kids to be able to do the same, and, maybe, someday, retiring to finally enjoy life, should we ever reach that point. We are here to let our lights shine as brightly as possible, to drink in the joy of friendship and family, to serve and better the greater community and to tap into and inspire passion in everything we do. We are here to come alive.” – Jonathan Fields
Finding meaning is the #1 reason that people recently had changed or would like to change their careers. Meaning is being passionate about what you do. Meaning gives you the ability to set priorities to satisfy your needs and desires. Every person may have a different meaning.
The first principle of your ideal career fit is purpose and passion. Having a purpose gives you a reason to get out of bed every morning and go to work. It’s the reason you and I are both still alive.
If you are unhappy in your work life currently, there is probably something about your purpose that needs to be evaluated either with the purpose of the work you do or the purpose of the company or industry that you are currently in. Once you determine your purpose, use it to help you make an impact and difference in the world, generate your mission statement, and find that career path you were born to do that no one else on this earth can do but you. This is what will set you apart from the competition.
Determine what your purpose is by thinking about what activities you do where you lose track of time.
4. Find The Perfect Career Path By Identifying Your Ideal Workday
Visualizing your ideal workday will give you valuable information to use in developing your career plan and will help you become more targeted about your career goals.
Many people just fall into their first jobs and all jobs thereafter. Most people don’t give themselves the opportunity to really think about what their ideal workday would look like. Does your day end and do you say, geez, where did the day go?
You might be a victim of having your day happen to you, instead of doing what YOU want in your day.
Look at your perfect day and look at career opportunities inside of the ideal day. Where is there a product or service from this ideal workday that you can sell or do? Start brainstorming about the companies that you could work for that fall into that perfect workday.
Want to golf all day? Become a golf rep. Want to be on Facebook and Twitter all day? Become a social media manager. You design a day that is just perfect for you. See the difference between looking for a job online and actually designing your ideal workday?
Ground Rules of Identifying Your Ideal Workday:
- Remember not to have anything hold you back such as money and time.
- You aren’t finished until you are super excited about your day. This would be something that you are happy about doing for the rest of your life.
- The more specific the better.
5. Know The Most Important Factor For Your Career Satisfaction
Over several decades, countless studies have been conducted to discover what makes people satisfied at work. According to the Career Leader assessment, research has found that interests, motivations, and favorite skills are the 3 factors that lead to career satisfaction.
Now a question for you – Which one of these three factors do you think is most directly correlated with career satisfaction?
If you guessed interests you are RIGHT! Interests are the most important of the 3 factors because interests are a part of our core and are stable and they stay with us through our lifetimes.
Career interests really don’t change and are therefore a very stable part of an individual’s career path. Interests are not just hobbies, but rather they are deeply embedded, long-held emotionally driven passions. They are intertwined with your personality and they are activities that make you feel fulfilled, happy, and committed to work. Knowing your interests will help you choose the right path and avoid the wrong path. You can be good at a job, and you can like the rewards you receive from it. But only career interests will keep most people happy and fulfilled.
6. Get Motivated By Identifying Your Values
The next factor to career satisfaction in your ideal career path is your motivations which are also called values. Motivations are the rewards each of us needs in our life. Some examples of motivations are flexibility, autonomy and intellectual challenge. Motivations are really important to be aware of to make sure you are aligned in a job correctly and it is also important to remember that your motivations can change based on your current life situation.
If you are a new mom, you might have different motivations and want more flexibility than when you are a recent college graduate and you wanted challenge and teamwork.
In order to have a happy, successful, and fulfilling life, you must act upon your values, both in your personal life and at work. Taking your values into account when you choose a career path could be the most important factor that determines whether you will or won’t be satisfied.
7. Uncover Your Favorite Skills
The next factor to career satisfaction in your ideal career path is your skills and this is what most assessments and HR focus on at most companies. If you have ever done an assessment at a company, you know the focus is usually on your core competencies and how well you are doing at a skill. But this is just one part – skills are like muscles, you build them up but you must also have an interest in them to be satisfied in your career.
Some people are drawn to career paths because they have the ability and like the rewards, even though they aren’t interested.
How I Found My Favorite Skills
When I graduated from college, I was very skilled at finance so I jumped into that career path. I got raises and promotions because I was skilled but I didn’t enjoy finance and numbers at all. So I lost interest after a while.
This is what happens if you are in a field where you are not using your favorite skills. After a short period of success, you will lose interest and either quit or just work less productively. All that to say – in Love Your Career Formula we focus not just on what you are skilled at, but also your favorite skills that you are great at AND that you love doing too.
A skill is an ability or expertise. A favorite skill is a skill that you not only possess but you are also interested in and willing to use. This is the difference between a skill and a favorite skill.
8. Design Your Ideal Work Environment
Your work environment can either enhance or detract from our enjoyment of the work. The items listed below will help you evaluate each aspect of your work environment so that you can design it just the way you want it.
Why is it important to figure out your ideal work environment?
This is often an interview question! People are happiest and most productive when they work in an environment that suits them. By the same token, companies have different personalities, so it’s important for them to hire people who fit. We all spend the bulk of our day at work, so making sure the work environment is right for you is critical.
Job satisfaction is greatly influenced by the physical environment you find yourself in and the corporate culture. Find a job where you can thrive, where you are challenged, where the people are genuine, and where the environment is supportive.
9. Master the Art of Resume Storytelling with Work Experience Stories
YOUR story makes you completely different from everyone else out there and that is what makes you unique. Everything you have done up until this point makes you the unique person that you are. No other person has the same work experience as you.
The trick is to tell the story during the interview and in your resume. You have to tell a story that shows how many amazing things you have done and how you can do the same amazing things at the next job that you work at.
Many people don’t think they have enough or “good enough” work experiences but the trick is how you frame it. For example, if you currently work at a restaurant and want to make a career change, you can demonstrate challenges you faced and overcame in the restaurant job that has made you the person that you are today, ready for a new career path.
There are three things that will factor into your work experience stories.
- A challenge or circumstance when you began the project or task.
- An action you took to create a result or solve a problem.
- The result that followed, quantified whenever possible.