Finding the Perfect Career
As kids, most of us had a short, easy answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Teacher, firefighter, doctor—simple answers that satisfied our simple understanding of the future.
For many of us, the perfect career continues to feel elusive.
Sure we all want to have a meaningful, impressive career that pays enough to live a good life. But how do we find it? But once we hit our teens, that question carried a lot more pressure and a lot more options. And if you had a friend/sibling that knew exactly what they wanted to be when they ‘grew up’, any vague answers of your own probably felt inadequate.
It’s OK to change your mind!
Careers change all the time, companies change all the time, and people change all the time. You’re not stuck with the career you chose as a teenager or university graduate. As you proceed through training and employment, keep your mind open to opportunities you haven’t previously considered.
Your perfect career may not even exist yet!
The world is changing so rapidly. If you are getting ready to start college, your perfect career may not exist yet. My grandfather never heard of a job called: Full Stack Web Developer or even Audio Engineer. Even if you are in the workforce, things are changing so fast it’s important to build your value through experience and results in the career you have and let your success guide you toward your next career level.
If you have psychology or counseling background, you might consider art therapy (using art as a healing process) or equine therapy (using horses as a healing process). An English major might love a job as a proofreader, online ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, or a paralegal. Some of these jobs require a little digging via an online job search but keep an open mind. The possibilities are endless.
Choosing a career based on your degree
According to statistics, you will change jobs an average of six times over the course of your working life. The hard truth is the career you went to university for might not be the right fit for you now. That’s ok. Don’t panic.
Don’t let your future self feel restricted by your current education. Be careful not to stick it out in a career just because you paid a lot for the degree. You’re not limited to careers in the field you got your degree in. While many employers still look for a degree, they don’t necessarily look for a certain degree. What’s often more important are your abilities, skills, and experience.
Never got a degree?
We could talk for hours about the super successful executives running multimillion-dollar companies that do not even have a college degree. Success can also come fast through hard work and loving your job.
Spend some time thinking about YOU
… and write down your thoughts.
1. What are you interested in?
2. What can you do for hours without noticing the time passing?
3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
A career test will help jump-start this process. The good ones offer insights into your personality strengths and potential weaknesses (that’s the obvious part), but also your work style, and the jobs that are best suited for you.
If you’re currently in a job, a career test can provide useful information to share with your employer. Your perfect job may be within the organization you work for right now. Many employers are interested in promoting from within in order to retain excellent staff while placing them in the position best suited for them.
What are you curious about?
- Are you always looking for the next medical breakthrough?
- Do the opportunities in developing countries fascinate you?
- If you could take any higher education courses, what would you choose?
The answers to these questions can point you in directions where you’ll always experience satisfaction as you learn new things about what matters to you.
Or perhaps always learning new things doesn’t resonate with you at all. You may want a career that offers consistency where isn’t rapid change, and the skills you learn now will continue to be the ones you need in years to come.
For example, plumbers, electricians, accountants, and analysts all require less change over time than other occupations. These—or something else with stability over time—could be well suited to you.
What About Salary?
Income is almost always an important part of a perfect career.
What salary will make you feel valued and capable of meeting your financial requirements?
Don’t immediately dismiss careers that begin with a lower salary than your ideal. Many careers have set salary increases based on results, company success, and inflation.
Here are 3 types of tests that can help point you towards your perfect career:
- A Work Personality test will help you identify careers that are your best choices based on your personality.
- A Desires or Interests test help you identify potential career fields with questions about career interests and desires
- An Aptitude test measures your skill levels in specific jobs
You should consider printing the results and bringing them to your job interview. It can support why you should have the job you are seeking.
About that Work Personality Test
All of the questions are multiple-choice, and you simply pick each answer that resonates the most with you. It’s a good way to get to know yourself better without the pressure of giving the ‘right’ answer.
After your results are generated, ask yourself a few more questions.
1. Do any of the suggested jobs fit well with my current and future self?
2. How do the salaries compare and fit my lifestyle? Perhaps you’re already qualified for some of the positions.
3. What type of education or training do I need to pursue this career? A good career test will provide this information.
Is it the Journey or the Destination?
Finding the perfect career is a journey and a destination. An open mind and a sense of curiosity are excellent traits that will serve you well as you find the perfect career.
You might surprise yourself by realizing the perfect career is closer than you think.
1. Is where you’re at a good fit for you with a few minor changes?
2. Have you come across something you love doing as a hobby or side hustle that can evolve into the perfect career?
When you’re in a career that isn’t fulfilling, keep your eyes on the destination. A perfect career is one that will continue to be fulfilling and (dare I say it) fun for some time to come. The perfect career is out there for you, and everything you learn today will help you find it.