Find a Career You’ll Love

careerquizzes01.jpgOkay, let’s cut to the chase here…this is probably our biggest problem. Luckily I’ve rounded up what we need to get started on the vast road to career actualization.

First things firstwhy are you struggling to pick a career path?

Is it that you aren’t sure what you’re interested in, or do you feel like your ambitions go against what you should be doing? If you’re lucky like me, it’s both. We can work on the second part later– let’s focus on figuring out what we want first.

My go-to reference for this stuff is John Liptak’s Career Quizzes: 12 Tests to Help You Discover and Develop Your Dream Career. It covers everything from building a list of possible career choices to doing what it takes to get the job you want. For about $10 I’d say this is the most valuable tool you’ll find, and they don’t pay me to say that.

I’ll cover some of the basics here:

 1. Explore your interests
What did you want to be when you were growing up? What would you do now if you didn’t have to worry about salary or job security? What are your interests outside work?

2. Take inventory of your skills
What are you good at? What do you remember standing out for at work, in class, or in your personal life?

3. Heed your needs
Are you looking to make a lot of money? Change the world? Be creative? Do you need to be in charge? Spend as little time as possible behind a desk?

Here’s what I came up with:

interests: research, writing, people, being creative, helping
skills: organizing, leading, writing, communication, research
needs: pay the bills, contact with people, continued learning and growth, control my own destiny, be creative
possible careers: PR, marketing, event planning, photography, city planning, counseling, writing, teaching, CEO, and on and on…

This is where #4 comes in–

4. Get out there
Chances are you’ll have a pretty substantial list of options that meet your requirements from above. Don’t fret over trying to pick your dream career right away, just pick one and start exploring! Network through Linkedin, set up some informational interviews, do some volunteering in one of the fields on your list. The hard truth is that taking career quizzes won’t get you closer to your dream career– you have to be willing to get off your computer and step outside your comfortable boundaries to make it happen.

But if you’re looking for a quick career quiz to get you started, this one is free and pretty comprehensive. The site does ask for your address and there are ads sprinkled throughout the quiz, but if you’re paying attention you won’t get sucked into any schemes.

It’s well worth all this effort up front if it means you end up in a career you enjoy. And as for that bit about feeling like what you’re passionate about isn’t in line with what you’re supposed to do? Chances are when you turn your dream into a career path you won’t give it a second thought.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

26 thoughts on “Find a Career You’ll Love

  1. The drive for many years has been to accumulate money, instead of finding fulfilling and rewarding work. We do need to spend a bit more time looking for how our interests can be turned into what we do.

  2. Nice post – thanks for sharing! While i do agree – i can’t help but remember what someone once told me. They used to love riding their bike – in the mountain, in the city, everywhere. And decided to turn that hobby in their profession (that’s what we are talking about, right?) – and started leading bike tours with tourists… and a few years later, they hated their job because they couldn’t just ride their bike (that’s what they liked!) but had to tailor bike tours for tourists, constantly take care of tourists, be organized, think of others’ skills and capabilities, and so on.

    As i said – i agree with the article 100% – i LOVE what i do 😀 But the story about the biker stays with me until today and the lesson i learnt is to always think twice – maybe some things are better left as they are…

    Have a great week, everyone!

    • Very good point! I think the “get out there” section applies to this unfortunate phenomenon– there’s no reason we can’t have lots of interests, we just have to be willing to find them!

  3. Oh if only I could go back and do it all over again knowing what I know now… It’s important to balance earning potential with perceived area of passion.

    • Another good point…still have to pay those pesky student loan bills! If your true passion isn’t lucrative enough, I say do it on the side as a hobby or volunteer until you’re in a better position to take the leap. I know what you mean about looking back–I keep telling myself that when I’m older and have my life put together I’ll talk of these years as that wild and exciting time of self-discovery.

  4. Great post Amanda…I am especially a fan of # 4. Action all the way…when you are out there it opens up “choices”. Choices a person might never have thought of otherwise.

  5. Good ideas. I was always jealous of people who knew eactly what they wanted to do since they were younger. Its harder for those who go through almost all of their schooling without realizing where they’re going, and even after graduation it takes some trial and error to really figure it out. Its tough and might even take a really long time to find a niche, but maybe thats half of the fun.

    • I’d say this is the hardest thing about the liberal arts life. The others won’t like this but hey this is a community for us: When they laughed off my Psychology major I always told myself I was getting a well-rounded education while all the engineers and business majors were basically just going to trade school ;).

  6. I’m in a similar situation trying to figure out what I am going to do post graduation in five weeks. I know what I enjoy and I know what I would like to do, but it is so general I’m having a hard time figuring out one career to go after. Chances are though, there are careers I am not even aware of and will have a better time discovering them if I keep my options open and try different ones. My grandma always asks what I want to be but I don’t know and I don’t feel like most people do. Unless you go to school for a specific job like a doctor or engineer, it is tough to pick what you want to do.

  7. Hi Amanda! Interesting post, very useful for those who are not sure what path to follow. I am the type of person who always knew what to do and I have sort of created my own path in life. I wanted to get straight As, i did. I wanted to study abroad, I managed to do as well.

    And guess what I am studying? PR. I love it, as I have learnt to improve my public speaking, writing and pitching skills. It is hard to succeed in this area, as it requires a lot of creativity.

  8. Great post! Choosing a career path is an extremely difficult decision, there are so many different jobs out there.

    I definitely agree with having to get out there and explore either through volunteering, talking to people and trying new things.

    It has taken me a long time to finally decide which career path I want to pursue. Mostly because I was terrified of failing, or not making enough money, and other people were constantly telling me to do different things.

    • Thanks Cole! It’s tough when you’re still figuring it out on your own and everyone thinks they have an answer for you. I’m glad you worked it out–thanks for the input!

  9. I still believe in finding what you love and finding someone to pay you for it. There is so much to be said about being successful at something you’re passionate about. Unfortunately fear can get in the way of pursuing those dreams. So instead people go down the wrong career path for other reasons. Thanks for sharing. ~ Johnny Bravo

    • Thanks Johnny–I definitely think fear is our only limiter. We took the risk once studying what we found interesting instead of following a path with clear results—now let’s take the risk once more in going after what we want after college!

  10. Excellent article, got several good points. I believe that whatever you choose to do in life, it should be something you really want to do, be passionate about and enjoy it

  11. Love your advice about getting out there and doing it. Liberal arts majors have the advantage that they were taught to think – this applies to any job, so now it’s a question of figuring out what you want to do. And, research companies you are considering to see if their culture fits what you want. i’ve written six books about how to find a job in the computer industry. You want to understand a company’s culture to make a good fit.

  12. I’ve done so many career tests its ridiculous! The good part is all/most point me to the degree I recently obtained. The bad part is, I can’t find a job doing what I love (or rather I can’t find one that will hire someone without 10 years of experience for an ‘entry level’ position). Thanks for the book, I may look into it!

    • It’s great to get some validation after investing a lot of time and money in a degree. The book does elaborate on what to do after you’ve picked a path, which I found very helpful. Let me know how it goes and please use your actual name next time so I can address you personally. Enjoy your week!

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