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A 10 step guide to finding your career path

Written by Penny van Puymbroeck on 13 February 2019 for Tech Graduates

In an ideal world, everyone would have a clear calling and settle into a life-long, fulfilling career doing what they love. Unfortunately, things don’t work out that way and many people find themselves unsure of which occupation to choose, or which direction their career should take them. Whether you’re just starting out, or are trying to decide your next move, this step-by-step guide will definitely help…

Step #1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Lifelong careers may no longer be the norm and more people than ever are expecting to change jobs during their working lives. A recent New York Times survey found that New York professionals expect to change careers three times during their lifetimes. We believe that that number might even be higher in the recent job market. Anyway, the first step to finding your career path is to view your career not as a linear path but as a series of stepping stones. Adopting this mindset can help you meld your experiences into a worthwhile career.

A 10 step guide to finding your career path

Step #2. Use the ‘Gifts, Passions and Values’ formula

A helpful approach to deciding your career path is to consider your gifts, passions, and values. This is known as the G+P+V formula and could help you find your perfect career. By focusing on your strengths and the things you care about, you can find jobs that don’t force you to compromise.

Step #3. Take a test

What if you don’t know what you’re interested in or even what you’re good at? Many high schools and colleges use different assessments or personality tests or similar tests to help students narrow down suitable career fields. This test will help match your motivational focus with a possible career.

Oh, and by the way, if you have a broad idea about the field you are interested in and want to know which specific role to apply for, shoot us a quick e-mail. We’d be happy to help.

Step #4. Focus on your skills, not just what you love

It’s possible that you may love multiple areas and are struggling to choose just one. While your personality, passions, and interests are important, don’t overlook the importance of your skillset. It’s not unimportant to match your self-identified skills with potential careers. By focusing on the skills you have, you can choose a career path based on who you are, not just what you love.

Step #5. Explore unconventional choices

Well, you say, you’ve done all the tests and they aren’t helping. What now? If you feel nonplussed by the convention choices available – police officer, librarian, doctor, teacher, lawyer, etc. – it may be time to think outside the box. There are literally thousands of jobs that you’ve never heard of from chocolate taster to professional Netflix watcher.

netflix A 10 step guide to finding your career path

While we highly recommend thinking outside the box at Exellys, we wish you the best of luck explaining those career choices to your parents.

Step #6. Choose an option you’d actually do for free

The G+P+V formula and various tests that we’ve discussed so far should have helped you sift through your available options. A useful technique at this point is to consider, of your options, are there any jobs that you’d do for free? Imagine you won the lottery tomorrow and were financially independent; what career would you like?

While enjoyment is far from the only requirement for being happy with your career, if you dread talking about your job, it’s a good sign that you’re on the wrong path. So, if you’re faced with multiple options and unsure which way to turn, choosing a career that you’re passionate about should keep you going when times get tough.

Step #7. Learn as much as you can about other careers

If you’ve read this far, you should have whittled down your career choices to a shortlist of jobs that you have the skills, temperament, and passion to apply for. The best way to make an informed decision is to speak with others about their careers. This can help you discover your true calling or plan a career change. Developing a strong LinkedIn network is a good start but don’t overlook resources right under your nose. Your college’s alumni office can likely point you towards other alumni who work in fields you are interested in. Make sure to talk to someone who’s already doing your dream job. You’ll learn a lot, trust us.

Step #8. Make a career plan

After speaking with people in your intended field, the next step is to view your career as a four-phase project. You need to begin with the end in mind; where do you want to go? Then, set concrete milestones that you plan to meet as you get there. Having a long-term plan will greatly benefit your decisions about which opportunities to take, and which to pass up, as you move through the twisting path of your career.

 

Step #9. Find someone to shadow

So far, our steps have helped you narrow down your options and hone in on possible career choices. It’s now time to take action. Find someone in the line of work you’re interested in who will let you shadow them for a couple of days. This will give you a real sense of what it is like to do their role and could help you plan your next move.

Step #10. Do an internship

Internships aren’t an option for everyone as they require some degree of financial flexibility. But if you are able to take one, internships are an excellent way to build your network, test out a new industry or career and possibly get a full-time job, especially when you’re still a student. While the majority of internships are aimed at recent graduates and, yes, involve menial tasks such as picking up coffee, most internships offer the chance to experience real work.

For instance, the Wall Street Journal offers a 10-week paid internship with the opportunity to contribute content to its website. Similarly, Google internships put you to work on actual tasks almost immediately. And obviously the Exellys internships are a great way to start discovering your potential and get hands on!

A 10 step guide to finding your career path

Conclusion

Whether you’re just starting out, are thinking about changing careers or just want to feel happier in your current career, this ten-step guide should help. Just remember that there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ career – every job is what you make it. So go for gold!

If you’re still curious about your next step, head over to our brand new website and get in touch with us. We specialize in helping tech graduates and professionals find their perfect professional match and we’d love to do the same for you!

Written by Penny van Puymbroeck Recruitment Manager