Think About What You Love
What are you passionate about? What excites you and makes you feel alive? Thinking about the things that you love doing will help steer you to what might be the best career path for you. Love numbers? Maybe you’re an accountant. Love fixing things? Maybe you’re a carpenter.
Remember Past Experiences
Think back to a time when you felt really satisfied with your work. Remember when you felt really proud about the job you did? What kind of work were you doing? Was it a project you managed, or something that you created on your own completely from scratch?
Think About What You’re Good At
What are your strengths? If you’re great at persuading people, maybe you’re a natural-born salesperson. If you’re not good with grammar, maybe you shouldn’t be a writer or editor. Making a list of your strengths will help you find the right career path for you.
Discover Your Personality Traits
Get clear on who you are and what interests you. Are you a people-person? Maybe customer service is a good fit. Are you shy? Maybe customer service isn’t a good fit. How would your friends describe you? These are all clues for you.
Look at Your Values
What’s most important and meaningful to you? Maybe you want to make a difference in the world, for people who really need help. (Think non-profit.) Maybe you just want to make money. (Think Wall Street.) What are your highest values?
List Out What You Want From Your Career
What do you want to get out of your career? Some jobs, such as consulting, allow you to travel a lot. Perhaps you want to work for a cause, or you want the prestige of being an accomplished expert.
Get Outside Yourself
Get a Career Coach
Speaking to someone in person and bouncing ideas off of them will help you find your way. There are career coaches, jobs coaches, and even life coaches available to help you find what’s right for you. They might have even more suggestions for ways you can the perfect career for you.
Take an Online Test
There are a lot of online tests to help you discover what career path is best for you. Just simply answer the questions given to you, and their algorithm will tell you what possible fields you are best suited for. Couldn’t be easier!
Imagine Yourself Doing That Job
See yourself doing that job. How do you feel while you’re doing it? Do you love it sometimes? All the time? By picturing yourself in that role, you can try to imagine how you might like doing it.
Get in the Real World
Read Some Job Descriptions
This one is easy. Just go on a job board and see what the required tasks are for certain jobs. This will give you a sense of what that job might be like, and if it’d feel like something right for you.
Talk to People in the Fields You’re Considering
Hear straight from the horse’s mouth what it’s like in that career you keep thinking about. How are the hours? Do they get to do the things you’d love to do? Connect with people on LinkedIn and set up a time to ask them some questions.
Shadow Someone Else
Know someone who’s in the industry you’re considering? Shadow them for a day and see what they do. It can be a real wake-up call. Maybe you had idealized how glamorous and exciting their job is, only to discover that it’s more hum-drum than you had imagined.
Try It Out
Really think you’re ready to jump into a new career? Try out an internship so you can test the waters and see how you like it. You can even do this in the evenings or weekends if possible, while you work your day-job or go to school.
See if you can find online a “day in the life of” or some first-hand accounts of what someone in that field does all. You might be surprised to learn that what they do is nothing like you had imagined.