Career Choice: How to Start the Journey
Jun 29, 2016 05:31PM
By Kelly Lewis
Kelly M. Lewis
Perhaps you are still in the beginning stages of identifying work that fits you perfectly, feels like a natural extension of yourself and gives you a sense of purpose in the world. But where does one even begin to start sorting through the thoughts racing through our heads regarding finding that career?
So often we try to go about these life-changing searches without a plan or methodology. As a result, we end up doing a lot of thinking, create more confusion and gain very little progress or clarity in actually moving towards our ultimate goal.
Here are a few tips to get you started on your search for meaningful, fulfilling work.
Get it out of your head and down on paper. Create a career search notebook (or binder or spreadsheet, whatever works for you). Divide it into sections including a section for clues you uncover about yourself; a section to record the things you know for sure you want as part of your future career; and finally, a section to keep track of careers that pique your interest and what you learn about these careers through your research.
By creating this written document, you can take all those thoughts swirling in your head and capture them in one place. Not only does this afford clear space for new ideas and clues to arise, it also allows you to see the pattern in your clues. Identifying these trends helps lead you down a path to a career that fits well.
Where to look for clues. Natural gifts, aptitudes and the story of one’s life provide enormous clues to finding work that fits perfectly. On your career search journey, consider asking yourself three big questions: Who am I? Why do I work? Where do I work?
These three core questions will help you begin to identify important clues such as your natural talents and personality; what rewards you expect from your work (besides a paycheck); and the type of work environment that suits you best. Break these questions down bit by bit, adding everything you uncover into your career search notebook. Get crystal clear on elemental pieces of yourself.
Then put the puzzle pieces back together again to create a list of ‘must haves’ that you know for sure you want as part of your future work. Then use this list as a spec sheet or map to evaluate potential careers. If a potential career meets the items on your spec sheet, explore further. If it doesn’t match, don’t even consider it—it’s not a right fit for you.
The key to a career you love lies in its alignment with who you truly are: Your innate talents, aptitudes and personality. Work doesn’t have to feel like ‘work’ if you’re doing what you were designed to do.
Kelly Lewis, of Kelly M. Lewis Coaching & Associates, in Edina, is a certified career coach specializing in career aptitude testing and career choice programs. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call 952-456-8467 or visit KellyMarieLewis.com.