So, what is your perfect career? A few years ago I took a long, hard look at myself. I had been working in radio (broadcast media) for over a decade and I wanted to transfer to a more stable, growth industry, as radio was becoming too competitive, too unstable and was showing little growth. I found myself working in the area of promotions, which I hated. I disliked coordinating events, I wasn’t good with details, I disliked being asked to coordinate national and international meetings and I was getting frustrated in my role.
Writing and Pros and Cons list of my career options
I wrote a blog post called How to Write a SWOT Analysis which is where you work out your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I worked out that one of the things I did like about my current job was writing press releases, and writing pages for the web. Because of my SWOT Analysis, I was able to identify that I wanted to focus on writing – as it was what I was best at. So I embarked on a job as a copywriter, and from there I progressed to Content Strategy – a digital marketing role.
Finding the right career is something that just about everyone struggles with. Lots of people either find themselves bouncing from job to job trying and failing to find something that they really enjoy, or they get stuck in a boring job that slowly becomes more and more frustrating until the very idea of getting up in the morning to go to work fills them with dread.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself in order to make sure that you’re looking in the right places for your dream career.
Question #1: What really engages you?
There’s no point putting a lot of time and effort into finding a job if you’re just going to end up getting bored after a few months and either moving on to something else or growing to resent your job for leaving you unsatisfied. In order to avoid this then you need to think about what it is that you really want from a job. To find your perfect career, then this is something to really consider carefully.
Are you a creative kind of person, or are you better with hard facts and figures? Do you enjoy abstract concepts and ideas or do you prefer to work with things that are more concrete and definable? There are plenty of resources online to help you figure out what kind of work suits your personality and psychology best, like Digital Ladder.
Even within certain industries, there is so much variation that you’re likely to find something that fits you like a glove. Not everyone who works in marketing is going to do so in the same way, and not everyone who wants to lead a team of people is going to have the same techniques. By having a job that suits your personality, you’re going to find it much more engaging. Your idea of a perfect career will be different to the next person’s.
Question #2: Where do you think your skills will best fit?
Of course, it’s not just about how much you want to do the job; it’s also about how well you can do the job in the first place. Think about the skills, qualifications, and experience that you have. Where do they fit? What kinds of roles to they give you the opportunity to try? If you’re interested in something enough to develop a genuine level of skill in it, then it’s not going to entirely surprising that jobs that use those skills will be engaging for you.
Working in a position that allows you to use skills that you have is often and incredibly encouraging experience. If you lack a certain set of skills or qualifications that would allow you to do a job that you really want, then don’t be afraid to think long term and work to gain those skills so that you can perform that role at some point in the future. Postgraduate education is always a good thing to strive for.
If you want to work within a creative sector then something like a creative writing masters offers you plenty of the skills you need or a masters in school counseling online can help you move into a career in education. The key is to try and figure out what kind of skills you need for your specific career goals. A perfect career is something to aspire to.
Question #3: What are you good at, and what do you hate?
My SWOT Analysis helped me to figure out that I really hated event management – whereas some people thrive in this type of role. It also helped me work out that I loved writing – and that I was terrific at taking large, complex documents (such as whitepapers) and breaking them down for easier reading. I loved interviewing people and I loved SEO, coding and uploading digital content.
You need to have a really honest look at your skills and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. However, it’s important to be realistic – remember no one likes every element of their job; there are always challenges we will need to overcome.
Your perfect career could be right around the corner
It’s important to remember that, even if you are following this advice, things aren’t always going to be easy. You’ve got to stick with it even if it feels like things aren’t going your way. Unless you’re extremely lucky, looking for your dream job is going to involve a great deal of rejection, and that can often be enough to leave a lot of people feeling incredibly discouraged.
However, the true key to being able to find your perfect career is your ability to bounce back even when you find yourself struggling to find something for long stretches of time.