How to find a career that is right for you

How to find a career that is right for you

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Do you ever stop to question whether or not you’re on the right career path? I know I have… I went through a radical career shift in my early 20s when I went from counterterrorism expert to career coach! It was difficult realizing that the career I had spent so long building and working towards wasn’t actually right for me, but actually finding my true path was so incredibly satisfying.

And I’m not alone in making that transition. About 75% of Americans have changed careers at least once, and about 33% are currently thinking about it. Finding your perfect career won’t happen overnight, and it may take time to really find the right trajectory for you. You might even be thinking, “How do I even know what the right career is?”

Luckily, I’ve been there, and I’m here to help!

If you’re feeling stuck, unsure, or confused, don’t worry. Here are five steps you can take toward discovering the career that will truly satisfy you.

1. Take career assessments.

Remember in high school, being given career personality tests that would tell you what you should be when you grow up? They may have seemed silly, but the right career assessment can actually be an incredibly useful tool in discovering your path , especially if you aren’t sure where to start. There are two elements to a career assessment.

    It should be valid and reliable. The test should actually measure what it claims to measure, and you should get consistent results over multiple tries.

2. Make a list of your options.

Overwhelmed by the need to make a decision? Whether you know exactly what you want to do or not, knowing how to get there is tricky. In order to find your dream career, you need to carefully sort through your options in order to find the best route.

Make a list of all your options, whether those are tangible job opportunities, education, or career paths. Once you have everything written down, you can parse out what isn’t exactly right, and narrow your goals. Try to create as many options for yourself, so you have plenty to choose from. You can also rank your options from best to worst, and even combine some that may be similar.

3. Look for overlap.

What you’re good at, what companies need, and what you like to do might all be different, but it’s important to try to find the overlap between the three. That’s how you find your optimal career path. Rather than looking at job titles, consider your interests, hobbies, and skills, and then work out how those translate.

While you’re at it, look back at your previous experiences to inform your future. What did you enjoy doing in previous jobs? What did you dislike? Knowing your values, passions, and skills will help you understand what kind of career you should pursue. And being alert of these factors means you can actively seek out careers that require your specific talents.

4. Network.

Whether you’re actively searching for a new career, or just trying to get a sense of what path you should be on, networking is a great way to dip your feet in the waters. The more people you meet, the more insight you can get into what the work environment is like, what the people are like, and how they enjoy the work. And if you are looking for that next job, networking is crucial. Surveys show about 85% of jobs are filled through networking!

5. Ask a mentor.

Never underestimate the value and power of a good mentor! When I made my career shift, I knew I couldn’t go at it alone. I decided I wanted to learn from the best — so I started working with mentors.

There are many different types of mentors, from the kind you pay to the kind that has been there, done that, to the kind that can advocate for you at work. The right mentor, no matter what type, will give you guidance and help boost your career. And the studies back it up — about 80% of CEOs attribute their success to having worked with mentors.

Trust me — I know finding your dream career isn’t easy, and the path can be scary. I remember it well. But just because it’s daunting doesn’t mean it’s not worth it! Think about how much time you’ll spend at work in your lifetime — 90,000 hours for the average person. You want to make sure you’re using your time to your advantage, by pursuing a career that makes you happy, aligns with your values, utilizes your talents, and more. You have the power to get there, and now you have the tools to get started. Are you ready?

How to find a career that is right for you

Are you tired of your job? Do you want to do something else? If you answered yes to either of those questions then that’s the first step in taking the next step towards advancing your career. The second step is finding the perfect job.

If you want to make a career move and change industries or look for a more rewarding job then you need to get online and start searching. The last thing you want to do is change companies and still be doing the same job. Trust me that doesn’t equal happiness.

The perfect job is a combination of a variety of factors including a salary that makes you want to work, benefits you can enjoy, daily tasks you want to complete and a workplace culture where you want to grow.

Here are five tips to help you find the perfect job:

Make A List Of Your Wants

If you know you want a new job make a list of why you want to make a change and all the qualities of your dream job. Don’t just think about the salary – although that will probably be a deciding factor if you’re choosing between two job offers.

Make a list of all the qualities you want in your perfect job and then prioritize them. It will make finding your new job a lot easier.

Don’t Look At Titles

It’s better to look at industries and job descriptions. The title can sometimes be misleading and you’ll end up in a job you hate. Always read the description before applying for a job and ask questions about the daily duties in a job interview . If you’re going to make a change you want to make sure the job is perfect for what you want to be doing every day.

Make Sure You’re Paid What You’re Worth

Money is motivation. Always check the salary range when applying for a job. It’s important to be realistic about the salary in a job offer, but at the same time you want to be paid what you’re worth. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary from the get go because if you feel you’re underpaid (and if you truly are) you won’t be motivated to give 110% every day on the job.

Think Outside Your Comfort Zone

If you’ve always worked in one sector such as finance or technology it may be time to look into a new field. If you work in a field such as sales or human resources remember that companies in all industries need those types of positions. Thinking outside your industry can increase your career opportunities.

Use Social Media Networks

LinkedIn can be a great resource in helping find the perfect job. Not only can you see the full job description you can also learn about the company and find other people who currently or previously worked there. Don’t be afraid to connect with employees and ask about the culture or the specific job. People are on social networks to make connections, so use it to your advantage.

How to find a career that is right for you

I am a women’s money mindset expert and licensed psychotherapist best known for my personal finance blog, Girls Just Wanna Have Funds. There I help women in transition…

I am a women’s money mindset expert and licensed psychotherapist best known for my personal finance blog, Girls Just Wanna Have Funds. There I help women in transition survive the realities of financial abuse, career pitfalls so they can finally drop their money drama. My popular eCourse The Money Cure empowers women to change their money mindset, drop the money struggle. I crushed life’s curve balls after surviving my divorce and paying off $30,000 in debt in 8 months. Today, my track record has been to push women to break through financial ceilings and own their lives regardless of the cards they’ve been dealt. My work has been featured in Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, MSNBC, Essence, Muses & Visionaries, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America and Esquire Magazine.

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How do I choose the right career?

I thought I had chosen the right career path, realized it was WRONG, and then went through a process that I WISH I had done sooner! It put me in my dream career with the kind of lifestyle I want. Here is what I did:

Step 1: Figure out what you love

What do you love?

  • Maybe you love numbers, statistics, public speaking, event planning, design, debate, nature…make a list of everything.
  • Ask other people casually what their jobs entail and what they love about them. We are generally not exposed to a lot of the different interests of the working world – so much of our education is focused around primary subjects like math, humanities, and science. So get curious.
  • For me my top 3 interests were Journalism, music, and psychology.

Make a list of potential jobs:

    For psychology I looked into: School psychologist, market researcher, academic researcher, human capital consulting, advertising, sales, therapist, HR/recruiting

Research the ones that sound interesting to you

  • Search for blogs, article, and job descriptions online to get a sense of the line of work
  • Also how in-demand and fruitful is each career? How much do they get paid? How many openings are there? How competitive is it to get into the industry?

Step 2: After you have this research, narrow down your list by being honest with yourself about finding the center of the Venn diagram

Scrutinize each potential path:

  • What you love
  • What you can be the best at
  • What pays well

How to find a career that is right for you

I did this exact exercise and completely ruled out two of my passions and changed my major. Watch this video to hear how I worked through this diagram.

Step 3: Do informational interviews

Based on your research of careers, do informational interviews for the careers that sound interesting to you. This the pivotal step that many people skip and it must be done, can’t emphasize this enough:

  • Watch this video I made to know how to find people, reach out to them, what to ask in the informational interview, and how to follow up after.

An informational interview is where you talk to people in the careers that you are interested in to get their personal perspective to better inform your career decisions.

Goal: know exactly the highs and lows of a career, how long it will take you to progress, if the job can fit with your desired lifestyle:

  • It is the closest you can get to understanding what having a career would be like without spending the time actually in the job.

You must do informational interviews for every career path you are considering, it will really open your eyes and challenge your assumptions. Online research simply is not enough.

When I was trying to figure out my career, I met a TON of people and toured a lot of workplaces, and it gave me clarity. I talk more about my experience in this video.

Step 4: Choose a path and create a plan of action

You’ve done a ton of informational interviews, and now it is clear which career you would like to pursue. Now, talk to more people in your chosen field and take the best parts of their stories of how they got to where they are and follow their path.

I did this — I decided to pursue a career in HR after having an exceptional informational interview:

  • Based on my informational interview, I followed my mentor’s path exactly, enrolling in the same master’s program, getting an internship at the company she worked for. Knowing her path gave me direction and focus.

Don’t blaze your own trail, others have come before you, pick their brain and get their tips. Ask for help all the time.

When establishing your path, you should know Industry, company, role that you want:

    In your job search, which is most important to focus on?

Now that you’ve done these four steps you are ready to start pursuing your career!

This process is so worth it to make sure you have a fulfilling career. For more career advice check out my YouTube Channel, Self Made Millennial. BEST OF LUCK!!

This article first appeared on Quora.

Asking “what career is right for me?” is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. The right career brings you success and happiness. But if you make a poor decision, through using information that is too simple or not based on research, it can damage your prospects, relationships and prosperity for many years to come.

This article provides guidance on what makes a good career test, and the various criteria that can influence your career choice. Reading is optional, if you wish you can skip straight to the personality/career test:

Career Tests

There are many career tests, though the quality of them varies. The worst are based on opinions derived from stereotypes – e.g. “an ‘ESFJ’ personality type will enjoy nursing”. Research shows that such a simplistic approach does not lead you to the best career. The best career tests:

Are based on research with people already in careers Use themes, such as personality type Use your unique personality profile
Match your individual personality to careers Take account of the demands of the job Are statistically valid and robust

Our careers test meets all these criteria. It provides a free online report, with your personality type and leadership style, and explains some of the issues you need to take into account when choosing a career. There is also the option of a more extensive, low-cost report that shows which careers are best suited to your personality.

Career Choice factors

The factors to take into account, when trying to find the right career for you, include:

Your skills are based on your natural aptitudes and developed through training/education.

You may wish to consider factors such as the type of lifestyle you want, your beliefs, and the ethical nature of company or industry you want to work in.

Your choice of career might be constrained by financial or geographical limitations, family responsibilities, physical disability or your qualifications/education

You may want to consider if and when you want to start a family and “settle down”, whether you want a single job for the rest of your life or have the option to change career, and potential ambitions for setting up your own business. You should also consider what your retirement strategy will be.

Deciding what you want to do is of no use unless there are opportunities for you to pursue. You can find opportunities through various ways, e.g.: responding to advertisements for jobs or vocational training/sponsorship; making unsolicited approaches to organisations to see if there are any vacancies; networking through people you know to get referrals to potential employers; and creating your own business.

Your personality is a very important factor. It consists of things you know about your self, unconscious motivations, and your personality preferences which you can discover with our personality/career test.

Most of these criteria are relatively straightforward to take into account. You can often identify your skills, values, ambitions, etc. through reflection or discussion with a career counsellor. The area that is more difficult to establish is the match between your personality and the job. This is where our career test can help. We conducted research with 17,000 people into job enjoyment, described in our personality test technical manual. This showed that the main factors in job enjoyment were:

  1. The degree of difference (or stretch) between the job profile and your unique personality profile (not your personality type). If you have to stretch more, the job is less enjoyable.
  2. The nature of the job itself. Irrespective of how well your personality matches the career, some jobs are inherently more enjoyable than others.

Our personality test, at the Metarasa Personality Page, uses this research to predict your level of enjoyment in each job. This is based on personality and not the other factors described above. It provides free analysis for twenty careers, with a low cost option for 300 careers.

This free career aptitude test can help you decide what sort of work will suit you best, depending on your personality type, your skills and preferred ways of working. You never know, this could set you off on a new path to true job satisfaction. We all have to work, and for most of us, if you discount weekends and sleep, it takes up at least half our available time. But how many of us actually think deeply about the career paths we’re taking and whether we really get happiness from them?

Time to complete: 5 min.
How many questions: 25
Time limit: None
Type of results provided: Instant (career category and explanation)

When you were young, you thought you knew what you wanted to be when you grew up. Now, you’re grown up and you aren’t so sure. This career test will take the guesswork out of finding the perfect job that fits you by analyzing your personality traits. Once you take this short personality test, you will know what profession our of our huge careers database best suits you. That will put you on the road to professional happiness.

Career Test Instructions

This quiz is easy to take, no registration is required. While all of the 25 questions are simple, each one plays an important role in gauging your working personality and skill level. Answer each question honestly in order to get accurate results. There isn’t a time limit for taking this career aptitude test, so move through it slowly if you like (it takes around 5 minutes). Then, submit your test and receive your results.

What’s the Right Job for Me? Reading Your Results

What the test does: The career test will cross-reference your answers with our careers database and provide you with a career category and an explanation.
What to expect next: The test will tell you what type of career best suits you and will give you several examples of jobs within that career.
Examples of what you’ll get: If you’re best suited as a manual laborer, the test will point out that you can seek a career path as a logger, construction worker, trucker, or firefighter. If you’re best suited for the service industry, it will point you in the direction of nursing, sales, and some other jobs.

What’s Next

Once you finish the personality test and find work in your desired field, you’ll finally know what satisfaction at work feels like. You’ll be in the job that fits your personality type and skillset, so the stress will melt away. When that happens, you’ll be a new person. You’ll be ready to wake up in the morning and go to work. You’ll feel alive, invigorated, and able to take on whatever the world throws your way. You spend at least 8 hours a day at work. You might as well enjoy it. Take this career assessment test so you can get more fulfillment out of that. It’s time to stop having a job and start having a career.

How to find a career that is right for youStart Now

It’s the age-old question: ‘What career is right for me ?’ Or, ‘What’s my dream job ?’ It can be tough to work this out by yourself, regardless of whether you’re looking for a career change or starting from scratch. There are infinite career choices out there to explore. Some you will have heard of: teacher, builder, scientist. But what if the job you’d love the most is one you didn’t even know existed?

The good news is: you won’t be locked into one job for life. The nature of work has changed a lot over the last few decades. The average millennial will change careers 6 times in their lifetime, building a ‘portfolio career’.

“It’s more likely that a 15-year-old today will experience a portfolio career, potentially having 17 different jobs over five careers in their lifetime.”

— The New Work Reality Report , The Foundation for Young Australians

But before you explore careers , you need to work out where your talents and interests lie. It goes deeper than personality type , though the Big Five personality test can be a good first step toward knowing yourself.

To find a career with good job opportunities and a work environment that best suits you, you’ll need to go further. And that’s where this career quiz comes in!

What’s special about this free career quiz?

Unlike standard personality tests that put you in a box, this quiz will bust you out of the box and open you up to new possibilities. You’ll learn about your interests and abilities, and where they might lead you rather than pseudoscientific personality types .

Trusted

People love our quiz — it’s been taken over 49,000 times.

Data-backed

Uses insights from our own proprietary data.

Local

And unlike some other career quizzes that use outdated overseas databases, we use Australia-specific jobs and skills data. Plus, it’s supported by the RIASEC/ Holland code model, used by career guidance professionals . So you can use it as a trustworthy jumping-off point, and do your own research into a new career area .

Your results will not simply show you a job or industry. Instead, they will show you your career personality , and where your interests lie.

“When you train or work in one job, you develop skills that can be applied (on average) in 13 other jobs.”

— The New Work Reality Report , The Foundation for Young Australians

The result is a short yet accurate quiz that takes into account your work style , strengths and interests. Take this free career aptitude test , and get started exploring a new career path now!

Completed the quiz, and want to know more about your potential new career?

Our new Job Outcomes section is perfect for any job seekers curious about their new career’s job outlook . It can give you all the information you need for your future career. From qualification levels, income, job growth and more; it contains everything you need to know to help you with your career options .

Maybe you’ve just completed the career quiz and you’re wondering, ‘What should I study?’ You can find out more about the courses you can undertake below. Start exploring subjects to get on the right career path .

How to find a career that is right for youChoosing a career path (or changing one) is, for most of us, a confusing and anxiety-riddled experience. Many will tell you to “follow your passion” or “do what you love,” but as Cal Newport argues in So Good They Can’t Ignore You, this is not very useful advice. When I graduated from college, I liked lots of things. But love? Passion? That would have been seriously overstating it.

We all want to choose a career that will make us happy, but how can we know what that will be? Research suggests that human beings are remarkably bad at predicting how they will feel when doing something in the future. It’s not hard to find someone who started out thinking that they would love their chosen profession, only to wind up hating it. In fairness, how are you supposed to know if you will be happy as an investment banker, or an artist, or a professor, if you haven’t actually done any of these things yet? Who has ever, in the history of mankind, taken a job and had it turn out exactly as they imagined it would?

So if passion and expected happiness can’t be your guides, what can be? Well, you can begin by choosing a career that fits well with your skills and values. Since you actually have some sense of what those are (hopefully), this is a good starting place.

But a bit less obviously — though just as important — you also want to choose an occupation that provides a good motivational fit for you as well. As I describe in my new book with Columbia Business School’s Tory Higgins, Focus , there are two ways you can be motivated to reach your goals.

Some of us tend to see our goals (at work and in life) as opportunities for advancement, achievement and rewards. We think about what we might gain if we are successful in reaching them. If you are someone who sees your goals this way, you have what’s called a promotion focus.

The rest of us see our goals as being about security — about not losing everything we’ve worked so hard for. When you are prevention-focused, you want to avoid danger, fulfill your responsibilities, and be someone people can count on. You want to keep things running smoothly.

Everyone is motivated by both promotion and prevention, but we also tend to have a dominant motivational focus in particular domains of life, like work, love, and parenting. What’s essential to understand is that promotion and prevention-focused people have — because of their different motivations — distinct strengths and weaknesses. To give you a flavor of what I mean:

Promotion- focused people excel at:

  • Creativity & innovation
  • Seizing opportunities to get ahead
  • Embracing risk
  • Working quickly
  • Generating lots of options and alternatives
  • Abstract thinking

(Unfortunately, they are also more error-prone, overly-optimistic, and more likely to take risks that land them in hot water)

Prevention-focused people excel at:

  • Thoroughness and being detail-oriented
  • Analytical thinking and reasoning
  • Planning
  • Accuracy (working flawlessly)
  • Reliability
  • Anticipating problems

(Unfortunately, they are also wary of change or taking chances, rigid, and work more slowly. Diligence takes time.)

By now you probably have a sense of your own focus in the workplace, but if you don’t, try our free online assessment.

Knowing your dominant focus, you can now evaluate how well-suited you are motivationally to different kinds of careers, or different positions in your organization. More than a decade of research shows that when people experience a fit between their own motivation and the way they work, they are not only more effective, but they also find their work more interesting and engaging, and value it more.

If you are promotion-focused, look for jobs that offer advancement and growth. Consider fast-paced industries where products and services are rapidly changing, and where the ability to identify opportunities will be essential, like the tech sector or social media. To use a sports metaphor, look for a career where you get to play offense — where boldness, speed, and outside-the-box thinking pay off.

If you are prevention-focused, look for jobs that offer you a sense of stability and security. You are good at keeping things running, at handling complexity and always having a Plan B (and C and D) ready at a moment’s notice. Consider careers where your thoroughness and attention to detail are valued — for instance, as a contract lawyer or data guru. You work best when you are playing defense — you can spot a threat a mile away, and protect your company or client from harm.

But what about entrepreneurs? you ask. I’m thinking of starting my own business — which motivational focus is best for that? For any successful venture, the truth is that you need both promotion and prevention. An entrepreneur who is all promotion may get her business going, but she probably won’t keep it going for long, since she’ll be unprepared for the obstacles that will inevitably come her way. And the prevention-focused entrepreneur will get so bogged down worrying about obstacles that his business may never get off the ground at all.

This is one of the reasons that good partnerships can be so invaluable — it often takes a Steve Jobs to see a product’s potential, and a Steve Wozniak to actually build it and make it work. So if you are starting a new venture, make sure that you’ve got a healthy balance of promotion and prevention thinking in the right places.

CareerBuilder | February 18, 2021

How to find a career that is right for you

Use your skills and get paid what you deserve in the best fit for you.

The right job means something different to everyone and your career path is going to be unique. One of the toughest parts of your professional life can be determining what you should do for employment, how to figure out if that’s right for you and finding those opportunities.

Know what you need from a job

Examine your situation and what your current needs are – do you need a temporary gig or side hustle to make money? Or, are you trying to build a career path and take your next step?

Before you even look at job descriptions, get real with yourself about what’s important. Doing this will save you time as you scroll through open jobs and determine which ones to apply to. Consider logistics such as how many hours you can work per day or week, if you need flexibility or a set schedule, and if finding the right culture fit is a priority.

To help you sort through all of these options, think about the stressors in your current situation and what would alleviate them. Make a list somewhere – on your phone, in a Google Doc, on a piece of paper – to remind yourself of what you need. You could also update your job seeker profile with your career goals and what you’re looking for in a role.

Use the right tools to save time

Smart technology can get you to the right jobs, faster. One popular way to search for jobs is on a job board, where thousands of employers post their open roles. Create an account, add your resume and get yourself in that network of companies, so you can apply quickly and your resume is at the fingertips of hiring managers who are searching for talent. If the job board offers it, take it one step further and complete your job seeker profile – list skills, goals, experience and more to illustrate how you are a well-rounded candidate.

Now that you’ve put yourself out there to be easily found by recruiters and hiring managers, use the filters and search functions on that job board to see the right roles for you.

Filter by employment type. This goes back to the first point – what job schedule or workload are you looking for? Whether it’s seasonal, work from home or fulltime, select what you need to find the perfect job.

How to find a career that is right for you

Dive into your earning potential. Learn more about what you could earn in your area, in another state or city, and by education level. Know your worth before you apply and before you head into any interviews.

How to find a career that is right for you

Filter by pay. If you have a goal or minimum salary or hourly wage you need to make, include that as part of your search. More and more employers are including pay in the description to save time for both recruiters and job seekers.

Filter by application type. Whether you want to manage each detail of a multi-step application or are comfortable with a 1-click easy apply to jobs, you should look for roles that meet your job-hunting needs.

Stay on top of your career

Your career isn’t static, even if “climbing the ladder” isn’t really your thing. As you progress from one job to the next, and your life changes – maybe you get married, have kids or move out of state – your needs from your job will shift as well.

Once you’ve landed the right role for you, right now, set aside some time each month to check-in on your career progress. Does your profile accurately reflect your skills? What about adding a cool project you just completed to your resume or profile? Are you continuing to see what other roles are out there? That last point is especially crucial if you’re in a role where you are underemployed or feel it’s temporary to get back on your feet.

Don’t forget to invest in yourself to stay on top of the trends in your industry and be a highly-skilled worker, in whatever it is you choose to do.

8 Steps to Choosing a Career

How to find a career that is right for you

Image by Lisa Fasol © The Balance 2019

With thousands of options, how will you choose a career that’s right for you? If you don’t have any idea what you want to do, the task may seem insurmountable. Fortunately, it isn’t. Follow an organized process and you will increase your chances of making a good decision.

Assess Yourself

How to find a career that is right for you

Before you can choose the right career, you must learn about yourself. Your values, interests, soft skills, and aptitudes, in combination with your personality type, make some occupations a good fit for you and others completely inappropriate.

Use self-assessment tools, and career tests to gather information about your traits and, subsequently, generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on them. Some people choose to work with a career counselor or other career development professionals who can help them navigate this process.

Make a List of Occupations to Explore

How to find a career that is right for you

You probably have multiple lists of occupations in front of you at this point—one generated by each of the self-assessment tools you used. To keep yourself organized, you should combine them into one master list.

First, look for careers that appear on multiple lists and copy them onto a blank page. Title it “Occupations to Explore.” Your self-assessments ​indicated they are a good fit for you based on several of your traits, so they’re definitely worth exploring.

Next, find any occupations on your lists that appeal to you. They may be careers you know a bit about and want to explore further. Also, include professions about which you don’t know much. You might learn something unexpected.

Explore the Occupations on Your List

How to find a career that is right for you

At this point, you’ll be thrilled you managed to narrow your list down to only 10 to 20 options. Now you can get some basic information about each of the occupations on your list.

Find job descriptions and educational, training, and licensing requirements in published sources. Learn about advancement opportunities. Use government-produced labor market information to get data about earnings and job outlook.

Create a “Short List”

How to find a career that is right for you

Now you have more information, start to narrow down your list even further. Based on what you learned from your research so far, begin eliminating the careers you don’t want to pursue any further. You should end up with two to five occupations on your “short list.”

If your reasons for finding a career unacceptable are non-negotiable, cross it off your list. Remove everything with duties that don’t appeal to you. Eliminate careers that have weak job outlooks. Get rid of any occupation if you are unable or unwilling to fulfill the educational or other requirements, or if you lack some of the soft skills necessary to succeed in it.

Conduct Informational Interviews

How to find a career that is right for you

When you have only a few occupations left on your list, start doing more in-depth research. Arrange to meet with people who work in the occupations in which you are interested. They can provide firsthand knowledge about the careers on your short list. Access your network, including LinkedIn, to find people with whom to have these informational interviews.

Make Your Career Choice

How to find a career that is right for you

Finally, after doing all your research, you are probably ready to make your choice. Pick the occupation that you think will bring you the most satisfaction based on all the information you have gathered. Realize that you are allowed do-overs if you change your mind about your choice at any point in your life. Many people change their careers at least a few times.

Identify Your Goals

How to find a career that is right for you

Once you make a decision, identify your long- and short-term goals. This helps to chart a course toward eventually landing work in your chosen field. Long-term goals typically take about three to five years to reach, while you can usually fulfill a short-term goal in six months to three years.

Let the research you did about required education and training be your guide. If you don’t have all the details, do some more research. Once you have all the information you need, set your goals. An example of a long-term goal would be completing your education and training. Short-term goals include applying to college, apprenticeships, other training programs, and internships.

Write a Career Action Plan

How to find a career that is right for you

Put together a career action plan, a written document that lays out all the steps you will have to take to reach your goals. Think of it as a road map that will take you from point A to B, then to C and D. Write down all your short- and long-term goals and the steps you will have to take to reach each one. Include any anticipated barriers that could get in the way of achieving your goals—and the ways you can overcome them.

This may sound like a lot of work—and it is. But it’s much easier to forge a career path when you know what you want. Taking these steps early will save you a lot of struggle and uncertainty in the long run.