If you’re a young person just entering the workforce, you’ve probably been told countless times how important it is to find a career you love. Though that sounds good, it’s not always so easy. If you’re the type of person who knows exactly how to translate doing what you love into a career, that’s great! However, sometimes what you ‘love’ isn’t exactly great career material.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what you want to do for your career, don’t worry, you aren’t alone! Here are some tips to find a job that’ll make you enjoy going to work each day.
ask yourself: what do I like doing?
Determining what you like doing is a good start for deciding what kind of career would be a good fit for you. Sure, not all hobbies translate well into getting paid. For instance, if your favourite hobby is binging on Netflix, you might find that tough (but not impossible!) to translate into a career.
Hobbies that double as skills tend to be best. For instance, avid readers might find they enjoy a career in publishing or marketing, which requires a lot of reading day-to-day. That said, not everyone has a hobby that can translate into a career, and that’s okay. There are lots of other avenues to find a career you’ll enjoy.
know your strengths
What you want to do isn’t necessarily what you’d be great at (though, usually there is a lot of overlap!) People tend to be good at things they do a lot, so there’s a good chance that your skills and strengths overlap with activities you enjoy. But it’s always a good idea to ask yourself “what am I really good at?” Maybe your friends say you’re great at giving advice, or maybe you’re a natural leader. Those qualities can help you determine what careers are suited to you.
choose a career with opportunities to grow
If you’re like most young workers, you have a healthy dose of ambition. That means you see yourself climbing the corporate ladder and growing into roles with more responsibility over time. Maybe you even see yourself in a job with a management component at some point. Does the career path you’re considering have opportunities for growth that appeal to you? If the career looks like a dead-end, there’s a good chance you’ll feel unhappy and trapped down the line.
ask yourself: will I want to do this in 5 years?
While you probably don’t have a crystal ball to peek into your future, you should feel relatively certain that you could see yourself sticking with this career path for many years to come. If you can’t picture yourself in this career for the next 5 years, let alone 40, it’s probably not something you’re passionate about. Not everyone has to ‘love’ their job, but you should feel confident that you’d enjoy going into work each day for many years to come. Of course, as in any career, your exact responsibilities will evolve over time. You’ll hold different jobs, learn new skills, and maybe even pick up more responsibilities over time. But you should feel confident about the field you’ve chosen.
think about more than just your salary
There’s no denying it: making a living matters. It’s why we work, after all. We all want financial stability. However, as one of our time’s great philosophers, The Notorious B.I.G. says, “mo’ money, mo’ problems.” When it comes to choosing a career you enjoy, money shouldn’t be your sole consideration. Note: we said your sole consideration. Of course you’ll require a salary that’s enough to pay for all your essentials and provide a comfortable lifestyle. And you will have to negotiate your salary. That said, if you want to get to the heart of a fulfilling career path, the amount you get paid can’t be the single most important factor in your decision. Chasing after the highest paying job, while it might be fulfilling in the short-term can quickly lead to burnout and resentment down the line.
ask your friends and family for advice
We’ll be the first to admit sometimes well-meaning friends and family can give misguided advice. However, they also know you better than anyone. If they have some ideas about careers that they think would be a natural fit for you, it doesn’t hurt to hear them out! You never know, they might just steer you in a direction you never considered on your own.
checklist: 14 questions you might want to ask yourself
- what are my skills? (hard skills and soft skills)
- what do I like? what kind of work gives me energy?
- what kind of work environment or company culture would be right for me?
- what sector might be right for me?are there companies or organizations I would really like to work for?
- how important is the work life balance for me?
- how important is the salary for me?
- what type of job would suit me? Part time? Full time?
- where would I like to be in a couple of years? What kind of employers/jobs might lead me there?
- do I want to travel for work?
- do I want a job nearby?
- do I want to work for an employer that is willing to invest in my growth?
- do I find it important that my work has a clear added value for society?
- do I want to work for a multinational company that offers me international career opportunities?