Most people already know the career path they want to pursue at a young age. Their choice of dream career is aligned with their skills or interests. Choosing a career path is not as easy as it seems, though. Many spend most of their adult life figuring out a career path to pursue. If you’re in a similar situation, you have come to the right place, as you will find practical tips to guide you in your ideal job search.
5-Step Ideal Job Search Guide
A career path represents the positions you hold as you grow and progress in your chosen field. For example, if you want to pursue a career in the editorial industry, you will most likely first gain experience as an intern. From there, you will blossom into an editorial assistant and have an opportunity to be promoted to assistant editor and then senior editor.
Some career paths follow a vertical path wherein your job responsibilities advance as you change roles. Meanwhile, other careers follow a lateral path wherein you have equal roles but are more specialized.
There are five basic steps for an ideal job search to match you with the right career.
1. Identify Your Career Goals
Start with self-reflection before you explore the available career options in the market. Develop a list of questions to help point you to your career goals. Below are some questions you can start with, but feel free to come up with your own questions.
- What do I want from my career?
- Where do I see myself in 5 or 10 years?
- What activities do I enjoy most?
- What are my soft and hard skills?
- Is salary vital to me?
- What career paths are aligned with my interests?
Identifying your career goals will enlighten you about the best options to satisfy those goals. Revisit these goals from time to time to ensure that your career choices are aligned with your goals.
2. Take a Career Assessment Test
A career assessment test is an excellent tool to help you find your ideal career path. You might have taken high school or college tests to evaluate your skills and interests. Psychologists design these tests to give you in-depth insight into your personality traits, skills, knowledge, aptitude, and interests.
Ensure you are honest and accurate in answering the questions on the career assessment test. The results of the test will be valuable in evaluating prospective career options. This test plays a vital role in career planning; it won’t necessarily tell you which job to pursue but it will point you in the right direction. This test allows you to find the ideal work environment conducive to your personal and professional growth.
A career assessment test also lets you understand where your strength lies. This information is crucial as you tackle any job because it gives you confidence that you have the right skill set, whatever career you choose to pursue. It also creates awareness of your weaknesses, so you can manage them strategically.
3. Find an Overlap with Your Interests and Skills
The career assessment test will provide valuable information you can use as you enter the job market. It is beneficial as it lets you learn about your marketable skills. Once you know about your skills, you can write them down.
You can also create another list of your interests. Your list of interests can serve as a guide to which industries you could potentially work in.
Now, compare both lists of your skills and interests. Find an overlap between the two; that would be your ideal career path. You should choose a career that you are interested in and good at. When you have the skills and interests for your chosen career, you will likely excel in it. It is a more sustainable career choice than something that pays well, but maybe nota career that you have the passion for, for example.
If you are changing careers, you can also reflect on your past job experiences. What roles did you excel in the most? What jobs were able to maximize your skills and passion?
4. Know Your Personality Type
Your personality type is based on a set of personality traits that you possess. Your personality determines how you respond to various situations in your life and career. Knowing your personality type when choosing a career is important because it is also often aligned with your strengths and interests.
Several personality tests are available that help determine your personality type. Some people have one personality type, while others have two. Every individual is complex so you must identify yours to find a career match.
The most popular personality tests for this purpose are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, The Jungian Type Index, The Big Five Personality Test, for example. Personality assessment tests are helpful, not only in finding your career, but also in discovering your talents. Researched-backed tests are more productive as there is a better fit between your job roles and your personality.
5. Network or Find a Mentor
Networking is a great way to test out different career paths and options. When you meet people from various industries, you can get a glimpse of their work environment and personality types. This approach allows you to determine if this is the kind of career you want for yourself. Are these the type of people you see yourself working with? Is this the kind of work culture that you could thrive in?
Another option is to find a mentor. Discuss career options with someone you look up to in a specific industry. They can provide valuable insights about the particular career path you’re considering, so you know what to expect. Many successful CEOs admit to working with mentors who’ve helped them build the foundation of their successful career endeavors. Take time to learn from the best.
Ultimately, it is your decision, but it is helpful if you get some insight from those who’ve been through it before.