Finding the right career can be tricky. When you’re in college, you think you have it all figured out—what kind of job you want to land, how much money you want to make, the kind of lifestyle you want for yourself as a professional, and pretty much the kind of life you’re going to live.
But after you go out into the real world, you realize that nothing is like what you thought it would be. You get your dream job, but it does not make you happy. Or you get more than the salary you thought you would get, but you end up spending all your hard-earned money to fill the emptiness inside of you.
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If that sounds like you, then maybe it’s time for you to reconsider the job or career that you’re currently in—and find the right one that will make you happy and fulfilled.
Here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Figure out your motivation
According to Forbes.com, there are nine employee motivators: trustworthy leadership, relevance, proving others wrong, career advancement, perspective management support, stability, self-indulgence, impact, and happiness.
Know which of these nine motivational tools are most important to you, and find out which ones are most prevalent in your chosen or prospective industry. One way is to do some research on prospective companies and their key people. Choose a few of the most well-known names in the industry and do a quick people search to find out not only their work history, professional accomplishments, and public affiliations, but to learn more about how they treat their colleagues and employees. Unless they’ve taken steps to manage their online reputations, you should be able to find both positive and negative information about them, including what past employees and other co-workers may have said about them online..
Doing this will help you discover what kind of management approach, workplace culture and employment regulations you can expect from this specific company or industry, so that you can determine if it is the right fit for you.
2. Know your personality and where it will thrive
Remember those personality tests they made you take in school? They may actually be useful in choosing the right career path for you. Dig up those results and find out what they say about you—or just take the quiz online—to help give you an idea of what job or career you are best suited for.
If you are an introvert but your current job requires a lot of collaboration and teamwork, then you may be better off in a different position where your strengths can be fully utilized. Or you may be someone artistic and free-spirited who’s stuck in a desk job, when you can be out there doing something more creative and less structured.
Usually these personality test results come with job or career recommendations, so better take a look at those as well.
There are many personality tests online that you can take. Just make sure to choose reputable ones to get accurate results.
3. Tap into your passions and expertise
What are the things you can imagine yourself doing happily even if you don’t get paid for it? What are the things that you are particularly good at? Write these down, then search for jobs or specific career paths where you will be able to make full use of these skills and talents.
Who knows? You may just find a lasting and satisfying career for you.
4. Consider the lifestyle that you want
You can be passionate about a writing job for that publishing company, but if it pays lower than what you need to sustain your goal to live independently from your folks, you may find yourself unhappy in the long run.
Think of what an ideal lifestyle would look like for you, and figure out how much money you will need to make for you to achieve and maintain that kind of lifestyle. It’s important to take this into consideration when choosing your job or career path, because even if you find a job that you enjoy, you might find yourself feeling increasingly discontent or unhappy if it cannot allow you to sustain the kind of life you want to live.
5. Think of what king of environment you’d like to be in
Although often overlooked, one’s preferred location or environment is also an important factor to consider when selecting a career path. Perhaps you want to uproot your life and work abroad in a glamorous city, like Paris or London. You will have to do some research on what kind of industries are prevalent in that area, so that you can figure out how to make your dream of living abroad a reality.
Or let’s say you grew up on a small town farm, but you want a fast-paced career that you can only find in cities like New York. This will obviously require not only a big move, but also a lifestyle adjustment on your part.
But location isn’t the only consideration when it comes to “environment.” It can also be the type of work environment you want to be in, day in and day out. Are you more of a corporate person who thrives in a strict office environment where you have to adhere to dress codes and company rules? Or are you the tech startup type who prefers relaxed environments with bean bag chairs for desks and a foosball table in the middle of the office?
Think carefully about these trade-offs when choosing a career path for you.
Unlike the job hunt, finding the right career path takes longer and requires more trial and error. In your journey to finding the right path to take, you must be willing to make mistakes and try again and again to get to where you want to be.
Trust in the process—you’ll get there eventually.
Finding the right career is arguably the most important decision you will ever make, so make it a good one. if you are looking to go into teaching, nursing or being a doctor, make sure you do your CRB check online.