There are those people that know exactly what they want to do with their lives from the time they’re very young. They never lose focus of that goal. Once they reach it, you’ll find them utterly happy and content.

For most of us, though, this doesn’t apply.

At first, we’re excited to just have a job that makes us the money we need to buy or do what we want. But that simple and straightforward goal often gets replaced with the wish for something more rewarding. Something that fills a much deeper need than merely having money.

Whether you’ve come to this point after years of unfulfilling work, or you’re a novice job seeker, the question of how to find work that is worthwhile may loom in front of you like a mountain.

So, how do you get started? How can you find a career that fits your interests, abilities, and dreams?

Five Steps to Find the Career That Fits YOU

To find a career that fits you best, you will have to know yourself. The better you understand who you are, the better the chances you’ll find a satisfying career.

  1. Figure out your values and motivation.

If your work conflicts with your values, it can greatly contribute to unhappiness. That’s because your values define our deepest held beliefs. So, what do you value? Adventure, independence, integrity, kindness, pleasure, power, or perhaps security?

Your values also play a role in what motivates you. What excites you?

A good salary, rewarding work, the impact your job will have, or the long-term benefits you may reap? Also, think about what type of work environment you thrive in. Do you work best alone or in a group?  Are you self-motivated or do you need a set structure?

  1. Consider your interests and passions.

To have passion for your work isn’t a must, but it’s important if you want to find the right career. It helps you want to keep going.

So, how do you determine your interests and passions?

Think about what you do in your free time. What are your hobbies? Are you involved with religious, political, or social organizations? Which previous projects have you enjoyed working on the most? What kind of things pique your curiosity?

  1. Understand your abilities and skills.

Abilities are those things that you’re naturally good at, things that come relatively easy to you. Artistic, intellectual, mechanical, musical, or numerical abilities are just a few of the ones out there.

Skills are special abilities. You’ve often learned them somewhere and are able to improve them with practice. If you have trouble identifying your skills, look at your grades in school, positive feedback on performance evaluations, or ask trusted family members, colleagues, and peers.  What have you been recognized for?

4. Find advisors and support.

Collecting a group of people that can give you advice from various perspectives is a valuable resource. Pick individuals you trust and respect, have expertise in their field, and can be objective. When they share information, listen carefully and openly.

Look for support and advice from family members, friends, colleagues, as well as networking with others who are facing the same career fit challenges as you.

5. Create your personal professional identity.

Gather all your information and ideas and put them down in writing. It will help you tremendously in understanding yourself and, in turn, what direction to take with a career that fits you best.

If you think gathering information might be challenging, you might want to consider  taking career assessments that can provide a wealth of insight about yourself in a short amount of time. I provide numerous career assessments that help clients learn more about their values, motivations, skills, abilities, and interests.

Then, use what you’ve discovered about yourself to create your professional identity. Write down who you are (personal identity), what you want to accomplish and why (career goals), and how (career plan). Remember, look at your career as a marathon, not a sprint. It may be a long and winding road, but with preparation and patience, you can find a career worth having.

If you feel stuck on your personal identity, career goals or career plan, please contact me to learn how I might be able to help you.