When you’re trying to work out what the right career is for you; it’s easy to get waylaid about the wrong issues. People can get too focused on whether there’s enough money or whether they’re working for a big enough name brand rather than on what really matters.
If you’re thinking about your first job or if you’re a mid-career professional considering a bit of a shakeup – then it helps to think about the job itself before making a decision on your next career move. So here are 5 things to consider when making a career decision that should show you how to pick the right job for you:
Wrong Job or Wrong Business?
If you’re stuck in a rut at work and you’ve been thinking about breaking out of that rut with a career change; you might want to slow down and ask whether or not it’s the job or the business that you work for that’s the real problem.
What’s the cause of your underlying discontent? Is it that the work is no longer challenging (perhaps it’s time for an upwards move rather than a sideways one). Is it that your boss is over-demanding and under-supportive (time for a company move)? Or is it that the work you do is boring, uninteresting and unlikely to be appealing no matter where you do it?
It’s really only that final case where a career move should be appealing to you. The other problems would be better resolved by changing companies and finding an environment that’s better suited to you. This can often be a much better idea than changing career entirely if you enjoy your work but are simply frustrated with the conditions you work under.
If it seems that a career transition is still a good idea after this step:
Work Out What You Want (And What You Don’t) From a Career
You can’t choose the right career if you don’t have a strong understanding what you expect from a job. That means you need to gain a deeper understanding of what it is about yourself that you can enhance from a job and what it is that you simply don’t want in a job.
Therefore it’s a good idea to ask yourself some questions such as:
- What is it that I really enjoy doing?
- What skills do I bring to bear on the things that I enjoy doing?
- What matters to me most about the work I do?
- What are the things I’m best at?
- What would my colleagues say are my best (and worst) qualities and why?
- What are the things I really don’t enjoy?
That’s not to say that you’ll ever find a job which only provides endless moments of interest, challenge and fun – every job has its dull elements and moments of drudgery. But you can find a job which ticks more of your boxes if you understand enough about yourself.
Work Out What You Need to Bring to the Table
There are some career paths that may be off limits to you later in life, for example, becoming a medical doctor is a long, slow process and many medical schools simply won’t consider anyone who won’t finish their training and get a substantial length of career out of it.
However, putting these specialist professions to one side – many careers really seek a bunch of soft skills combined with just a little training.
If you can identify the soft skills (and list them out); you can make sure that you are competent at these before making a move to undertake any training.
You can also begin to structure your CV and cover letter to show that you have the essential qualities a role demands without necessarily having a specific degree in the field.
Get Out and Ask Other People About Their Ideas for You
It’s fair to say that oftentimes other people, who know us well, may be able to see us more clearly than we can see ourselves. That means it can be a really good idea to solicit their input when you start defining the kind of career you want.
You should be able to ask them what they see as your strengths and weaknesses. You may get ideas for careers from other parties that you would never have considered yourself. You can even reach out on social media for input from people that you don’t know but who know a specific industry well or have substantial experience in a certain field.
However, it’s important to remember that advice offered freely is worth exactly what you pay for it (that is nothing). You are not bound to follow anyone’s suggestions once you have solicited their opinion. The truth is that we still know ourselves well enough to be able to eliminate some of the things other people offer up as unsuitable for ourselves.
Keep an Open Mind
Whenever you being the hunt for a new career; it’s easy to start narrowing down your options too early and ending up with an “alternative” which isn’t really any different from where you began. It’s important to keep an open mind throughout the career decision making process.
You want to take your time and examine each option which you encounter and make an informed decision as to whether it’s the right move for you or not. If you try and rush this process; you might end up missing out on the right career and end up plunged into another career that’s not quite right for you.