So how do you find the job that’s right for you? While there is no single ‘secret sauce’, here are some ideas to steer you in the right direction.
What do you do for fun? Think about how you spend your leisure time. It is possible that a hobby can turn into a career.
Would you work for free? Considering volunteer work (and what you would do as a volunteer) can uncover your strengths and passions.
What do you read? If you often read and talk about a specific subject, that could provide some info about your ideal job or career.
Think of the opposite. Look at the flip side of your weaknesses. If there is something you don’t enjoy or are not good at, the opposite of that could lead to the right job. For example, if working in an office makes you feel crowded or claustrophobic, perhaps you’d enjoy working outdoors. If you’re not a particularly organised person, perhaps a creative environment where you can be artistic rather than organised would suit you.
Avoid yes/no thinking. How often do you quickly reject an idea about a new job or career path? Avoid that black/white or yes/no way of thinking. Ask someone to challenge you so you can start to be more open-minded.
Look forward. Will your job or career be around in the future - and is this important to you? We are living in a time of big change. Research suggests that the ‘future of work’ will be vastly different to today’s workforce. If you’re looking for a career rather than just a job, it’s important to make sure your job won’t be taken over by robots in 10 or 20 years’ time.
Take online assessments. There are a wealth of online career and strengths assessments (and most of them are free). Although these assessments might not have all of the answers for you, they’ll provide great ‘food for thought’ and some language you can use when talking about yourself in a job interview.
Find your sweet spot. This is the intersection between what you’re good at, what organisations need and what you truly enjoy doing. And of course what you can be paid for. In Japanese culture, this is called ‘ikigai’ or ‘reason for being’.
Finding your ikigai: Questions to ask yourself
- What are my skills - inside and outside work? What do I do well?
- What have I enjoyed studying/learning about most?
- Do I have friends with jobs that interest me?
- When I see a job advertisement that excites me, what is it that creates that excitement?
- Which of my previous jobs did I love the most and why?
- What topics do I enjoy talking about with friends?
- If all jobs paid the same, what would I do?
- If I could try someone else’s job for a day, what would it be?
- What is my personal wish list ie the top 10 criteria for a great job?
Finding the right job for you can be challenging - and it’s different for everyone. Don’t forget, most of us will have a lot of different jobs during our working life and not every one will be a perfect fit.