In today's competitive job market, it can be difficult to find any type of job. Getting a job that you truly enjoy and find rewarding can be even more difficult. However, if you explore your passions and take the time to develop your skills and credentials, you can begin the career path that is right for you. Even if you currently have a job that you don't like, you can still find ways to make the most of it while looking for something better.
Method 1 of 4: Explore Your Interests
Step 1. Make a list of activities that you like to do to help define your interests
Before you can land a rewarding job, you must take some time to reflect and determine what you are looking for. Sit down and make a note of everything you like to do, regardless of how ordinary or banal it may seem. Almost any interest can be related in some way to a profession.
- For example, if you're passionate about gardening, this could translate well to a job in horticulture, landscaping, or plant conservation.
- Also, examine the subjects that you liked the most in school. For example, maybe you love biology or are passionate about history. If so, you could look for a profession in one of these areas.
Step 2. Identify past projects that you have been excited about
Take into account the things that you have worked on at school or at work. Does any project stand out a lot for you as special in some way? If so, it could be a sign that you would develop well in a profession that involves similar work.
- For example, if you had a great time interviewing classmates for a social studies project in high school, you might become a good journalist.
- Consider what aspect of the project you were excited about. For example, you might have loved designing the poster for a project you did in chemistry class, even if you don't like chemistry very much. This could indicate that you have a hand in graphic design.
Step 3. Assess your special abilities and strengths
Aside from your interests, your skills can play an important role in determining your ideal profession. Do a tally of some of the things you're very good at, whether it's specific skills or more general strengths.
- For example, under your overall strengths, you could include things like being a good leader in group settings or being very good at organizing your space.
- Some more specific skills might include things like speaking another language or being able to use video editing software.
Step 4. Take a career interests test
You can take a variety of assessments to help you identify your special interests, strengths, and possible career paths. If you are at school, ask your guidance counselor or career counselor if you could take one of these tests at school. Otherwise, you can take some of them online for free.
For example, the Holland Occupational Themes exam (literally, "Holland Occupational Themes") is available for free on the internet. Search for "Holland exam" or "RIASEC exam." The test will ask you to rate how much you would enjoy doing various tasks and will help you identify different types of careers that fit your interests
Step 5. Examine your values to determine what is important to you
Discovering your core values can help you determine what it is you want from life and your work. Consider the things that mean the most to you. What kind of work could you do to support those key values in your life?
- For example, if you value helping others, you might be a good fit with a profession in healthcare or education. If you are competitive or passionate about pushing your physical limits, you might do well as an athlete or fitness coach.
- In case you're not sure what your core values are, try taking a values assessment. Search "life values inventory" to find one of these assessments online.
Step 6. Talk to a career counselor about jobs that fit your interests
If you are in school, the staff may include a guidance counselor or career counselor who can help you narrow down the scope of possible career paths that would fit your skills, passions, and personality. If you are not in school, search terms such as "career counselor near me" to find a professional career counselor in your area.
Unfortunately, professional career counseling can cost a lot. In many cases, career counselors charge more than $ 100 per hour for their services. However, you may be able to find a free or affordable career counselor through a local government agency or non-profit organization
Step 7. Use mentors for advice and insight into your career path
If you have a teacher, friend, relative, colleague, or boss who has had a special impact on your life, they may be able to offer you some valuable advice. Ask if you can schedule a time to have a frank conversation about your future.
You might say, "I'm looking to change careers, and I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do from now on. I'd love to start my own business, just like you. Could we have lunch next week and talk about how you got started?"
Method 2 of 4: Develop Your Skills and Qualifications
Step 1. Obtain a graduate degree if it is required for the jobs that interest you
There are some jobs that require more advanced degrees (for example, a master's, doctorate, or even more specialized graduate degree). Also, a graduate degree can help you land higher-paying jobs in your chosen field. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree, read up on the requirements of your preferred program (s) so that you can start preparing beforehand.
For example, there are some graduate degrees in the humanities for which you must pass reading exams in another language (for example, French or German). To prepare in advance, you can study these languages on your own or at an undergraduate level
Step 2. Opt for a special certification to give yourself an advantage
There are some jobs that require professional certifications or licenses, while others may give preference to candidates with certifications, even if they do not require them. Find out about supplementing your degree with a certification or some continuing education classes to enhance your resume.
For some professions, a certification program may be all you need to qualify. For example, in the US, you can become a medical assistant, legal assistant, or web developer with just a 6-month certification program
Step 3. Get experience with an internship, if possible
Internships are designed to give you work experience when you are just starting out in a new profession. If you're in school or college, talk to your guidance counselor about how to apply for internships. An internship, in addition to looking good on your resume, will help you develop practical skills that will serve you well in your profession.
- Sometimes an internship can lead to a permanent job with the same company.
- Unfortunately, many internships are unpaid and therefore not everyone can afford to take advantage of them. In case you are a student but internships are not a good option for you, find out if your school or university offers a work-study program so you can get paid work experience.
- Common types of internships include research internships (in which you do research for a company), job follow-ups (in which you observe professionals at work), and paid or unpaid job internships (in which you do the type of work that is typical of professionals in your field).
Method 3 of 4: Get Good Jobs
Step 1. Check job forums specific to your field to find good opportunities
If you are actively looking for work, you may find opportunities that you would otherwise miss by using more specialized job forums. Find out if there is a specific website where you can search for job postings.
- For example, if you are interested in being a web developer, you can find specialized job postings on websites like Stack Overflow Jobs, Dice, or GitHub.
- You can also find profession-specific announcements through the websites of professional associations (for example, the American Association of Medical Writers or the American Alliance of Museums). Sometimes you may need to be a member to access job postings.
Step 2. Participate in job fairs to find opportunities and network
While you may not leave a job fair with a new job, it's a great way to meet people and find out about job opportunities in your area. Search for "job fairs near me" to find out about upcoming events and how to attend.
Colleges sometimes host job fairs and exhibitions for recent graduates and students. You may also be able to find large-scale job fairs in your area that are open to the general public
Step 3. Ask people in your network for recommendations
One of the best ways to get job opportunities is through people in your professional network of contacts. Check with the people you know to find out if someone is hiring. They may also be willing to be a professional reference or speak well of you.
Colleagues, bosses, professors, and friends who work in the fields that interest you are good potential references
Step 4. Take advantage of professional networking websites like LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an excellent resource for connecting with other professionals in your chosen field. You can also find job postings, educational articles, and various other resources to help you advance in your career. Create an account and use it to keep in touch with your colleagues, exchange endorsements, or advertise your skills to recruiters. Make sure your profile is kept up to date in a way that reflects your current skills and interests.
LinkedIn is the most popular platform for networking, but it is not the only one out there. Create accounts on similar websites (for example, Xing, Opportunity or Shapr) to increase your reach and explore as many opportunities as you can
Step 5. Volunteer at organizations in your field to get your feet wet
If you have the time and energy, volunteering can be a great way to develop skills and connections that could lead to job opportunities. If a company or other organization in your area works in something related to your chosen field, visit their website or call to find out if there are volunteer opportunities available.
- For example, if you are interested in venturing into the public health sector, you could volunteer at a local hospital or join an organization like the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) if you live in the usa
- Even if you only volunteer 2-3 hours on the weekends in the long run, you can still grow your network and add that experience to your resume.
- If you live in the US, check out websites like NationalService.gov or VolunteerMatch.org to find volunteer opportunities in your community.
Step 6. Get professional help with your resume or job applications in case you can't get a job
There are many labor markets that can be very competitive. So half the battle is just getting someone to see your application. If you've submitted a lot of requests and aren't getting a response, ask a mentor or professional career counselor for advice. They could give you advice on how to make yourself stand out. You could even hire a professional resume writer.
For example, you could make a difference just by reformatting your resume to make it look less cluttered or adding some skills that didn't occur to you
Method 4 of 4: Finding Value in Your Current Job
Step 1. See your current job as an opportunity to learn and grow
For the most part, people don't end up in their dream job right away. For many, finding a rewarding job can be a journey of a lifetime. In case you currently have a job and are not satisfied with it, find ways to make the most of it. For example, you could do the following:
- Think of skills you've learned from your current job that you can put to use in your future job.
- Make a list of people at your job who could be references for job opportunities in the future.
- Look for learning opportunities in the negative aspects of your job. For example, what are some red flags that you will know to look out for the next time you go to an interview for a position? Have you learned anything about how to deal with difficult colleagues?
Step 2. Focus on what you like about your job
Make a list of things you like about your job, whether it's spending time with your colleagues or getting into a relaxing flow while filing. You could also look for ways in which your work has had a positive impact on people or your entire community.
- For example, you may find the details of your job boring, but you get a sense of satisfaction from knowing that you are helping others.
- You can also look for ways your work helps you meet your personal goals (for example, saving enough money to buy something you want or helping support your family).
Step 3. Set work-related goals to make work more meaningful
Setting goals can give you focus and help you feel more challenged and gratified. Consider what you want to get out of your job, whether it's a better performance appraisal or experience that you can carry over to another job. As you work toward your goals, be sure to celebrate and acknowledge your progress.
- Very large and imprecise goals can set the stage for frustration. Set SMART goals ("specific," "measurable," "achievable," "relevant," and "time-bound"). For example, don't say "I'm going to get a better job soon." Instead, you could set a goal such as submitting a certain number of applications by the end of the month.
- All of your goals don't have to be big or long-term. It is also possible to set small, short-term goals (for example, reorganize your files or finish a certain number of tasks per day). Even meeting a small goal can give you a sense of satisfaction.
Step 4. Find rewarding things to do outside of work to establish a balance
Even if you do manage to land your dream job, you may need to balance your job with other aspects of your life to truly feel gratified. When you can, set aside time for other things that are meaningful to you. For instance:
- dedicate yourself to hobbies
- chill out with friends and relatives
- Volunteer for causes that matter to you
- taking care of yourself physically (for example, exercising, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep)
- work on chores and other obligations in your life
Step 5. Try to develop meaningful relationships with your colleagues
Regardless of the type of work you do, having good relationships with other members of your team can make a huge difference in how rewarding the job is for you. Take the time to get to know your colleagues, supervisors, or the people who work under your supervision better.
- This could mean spending time outside of work or just taking time to chat while working.
- Also, developing strong professional relationships is a great way to grow your network. One of your friends from work may help you get a better job later.