Whether you’re looking for a career change or just starting out, asking yourself ‘What job is right for me?’ isn’t uncommon. In fact, 30% of professionals change jobs every 12 months and throughout their working years, the average employee changes careers between 5 to 7 times.
However, looking for a new position takes time and energy. So much so that the process of finding a job (from searching for opportunities to figuring out how to write your best CV and start doing interviews) is for many, a job in itself.
It’s only natural then that job hunters may want to have a clear, convincing career goal before putting in the effort. Keep reading to find a step-by-step guide to identifying the best career path for you.
Step 1 to find the ideal job: start from yourself
Before you dive into the world of LinkedIn and start applying for anything you might be suitable for, asking yourself the right questions is a necessary step.
Here are some ideas:
- What are my skills? What am I really good at? Once you find the abilities that you possess and, importantly, enjoy applying, don’t forget to gather evidence to support what you offer.
- What is a good day at work like? If you’ve been employed before, it should be relatively easy for you to remember a time when you felt focused and satisfied during your workday. Try to concentrate on what caused that buzz.
- What do I dislike? Negative thoughts may seem like a bad place to start — unless you give it a spin. If you hate commuting on the tube and office spaces frustrate you, maybe that’s a sign that you would enjoy working outdoors.
- What do I like to read? We all read, whether it be a book, the newspaper, or a social media post. But what type of content are you most attracted to? That will give you some clues on which topics you don’t mind focusing on for hours.
- How do I spend my free time? Hobbies often become jobs or business ideas. If you’re volunteering in some way, think of what is so attractive about the job that you’re even willing to do it for free.
Step 2: build your ideal job from the ground up
It’s now time to start identifying the actual position. Focusing on job titles is not necessarily the best idea.
Job ingredients should be your main priority instead. Your dream position is made of several smaller parts, including:
- The location and organisational style
- What you do on a daily basis
- The kind of people you’d like to work with
- Your salary expectations (from monthly income to benefit package, figure out what you’ll need to live a comfortable and fulfilling life)
- The results you’d like to achieve and the type of services or products you’re passionate about
- The skills you’ll use and the ones you’ll develop
- The work/ life balance
Many professional career advisers suggest you apply a diagram structure to your search. Your ideal job is the ‘sweet spot’ between what you can offer, what you actually enjoy doing, and what companies or other employees need. There may be one job title for that, or several, and in some cases, you may end up tailoring a whole new position.
Step 3: do your research
Now that you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for, it’s time to test your theory out in the real world. Online job descriptions won’t give you the detailed information and insight that you need to make a decision.
Asking other people is the quickest and best way forward. Reach out to your professional network to speak to someone who is actually working in the position(s) that you have in mind. Ask them what they love the most about their job and what their professional environment is like. You will also have the chance to acquire knowledge that you can use during the job interview.
Step 3: wrap things up
Now that you have all the information you need, you can narrow down your prospective career to the one or two options you’ll actually be applying for. Some people find it useful to write things down and even assign scores for each job in all its different components.
Others let the information sink in and simply rely on emotional validation, asking themselves: ‘Is this the right career choice for me’?, trusting that their instinctive answer will be based on the research that was previously done.
Step 4: prepare to explain
Your choice may be clear to you now and you may have plenty of data and knowledge to back it. However, you will have to explain your decision and your suitability for the role to recruiters and potential employers as you start your job hunt.
‘Why do you think you’d be a good fit for this job’ is one of the most common job interview questions. By being able to give a concise and convincing answer that covers both your passion for the role and your top skills, you may just be getting the job offer of your dreams.