How to find out EXACTLY what type job of you should be doing TODAY in 7 steps

Everybody would like to be paid handsomely to do a job that they love, however, most of us have to put up with doing a job that we are capable of doing, that we can do most days of the week and where our skills and services are in demand.

Despite some negative reports about the state of the world’s job market – there are jobs out there that need to be filled. Which job should you take? You may not find a job where you get paid to do something you “love”, let’s be realistic, but with some careful planning and thought, you should be able to nail down the job you should be doing today.

The “job you should be doing today” is the one that is most in demand and matches your skills and talents most closely, while including as few of the things that you don’t like doing as possible. Here’s how to find that job in 7 easy steps.

1.      Look at your financial situation and family responsibilities

First on the list is to look at your physical needs, and the needs of those who depend on you. There is no point trying to be a struggling artist and earning a few bucks here and there if you have big bills to pay. In this case, you need to put your responsibilities above your desire to do something you feel passionate about.

“Career decisions are not decisions about ‘what do I love most?’ Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself?” says careers expert, Penelope Trunk. She was the founder of 4 successful start-ups and is adamant that, “If you tell yourself that your job has to be something you’d do even if you didn’t get paid, you’ll be looking for a long time. Maybe forever.” Be realistic about your options.

2.      Nail down the things you are good at

So, now that you are being realistic – you need to look at what you are good at – or your saleable skills. Are you a great manager of others? Do you have terrific communication skills? Are you reliable and can work flexible hours at short notice, do you have a heap of specialist qualifications in a sector or technology that others don’t?

Write a list of the top 5-10 skills you have that are marketable. Be honest with yourself. Look at your past job history to see where you have achieved and failed. For example, you may see yourself as a manager but if the times you have worked at managing others have left you stressed and taking sick leave – is this really a skill you can promote? Be brutal with yourself and make your list authentic.

3.      Nail down the things you are bad at

Where have you failed? What can you honestly say that you are not an expert in? Whereas some people hate administrative tasks and repetitive tasks such as data entry, others thrive on them and could do them all day. For some people, customer and client engagement and face-to-face contact is gruelling; other people wouldn’t dream of doing a job where they weren’t client-facing.

As with point 2, nailing things you’re good at, be honest with yourself with point 3. It can often take until our 30s or 40s (or even later) to work out that there are certain tasks we simply cannot thrive when doing, and should avoid if possible. Make a list of the things you simply aren’t the best at. Knowing what these things are will help you find the job you should be doing today.

4.      Affirm the 5 things you like to do the best

Now it’s time to think positively and philosophically about what you like to do, as opposed to what you are good at. You may be great at coordinating staff calendars but perhaps it’s not your favourite thing to do. This is where we match your saleable skills to your desired tasks – they may not all match yet – so do not be concerned if they don’t mirror each other at this stage.

What do you love – within a work context? You may be an excellent cook but if you have only worked in business admin and have never worked in hospitality, there is not much point adding this to the list. Write down the 5 main tasks you love doing at work and put them in order. Do you love writing proposals and reports? Are you great at editing other staff members’ copy? Do you love securing new business and bringing new clients on board?

5.      Affirm the 3 things you like to do the least

Sometimes the things we are good at are not the things we love doing. At this stage of your planning write down the 3 things (so far in your career) that you have been employed to do, but really dislike doing. These could even be ‘cultural’ factors such as disliking working alone in isolation, or perhaps not being a fan of group work or working in a busy team with lots of pressure.

Cast your attention over your past history and try to identify the parts of past roles you really hated. Maybe you excelled at a particular job but hated the fact that you had a 7am start and your quality of life suffered? Keep this list short and identify your least favourite 3 things to do at work.

6.      Research your industry, or top 3 industries

This is where the process starts to get serious and where you need to decide the ‘industry’ or ‘top 3 industries’ where you are likely to find work. In most cases, this is probably similar to work you have done before and have experience with. Focus your research into a narrow funnel of potential employers.

Spend some time reading information online about the industry or industries you are likely to enter to arm yourself with the most current information for your job search. Keep a folder (hard copy or virtual) of your research and summarise it so you can start to see trends, or gaps in the market you may be able to fill.

7.      Look at job demand

After you have looked at the industry or industries you are aiming for, look to job demand. Even with sectors that are currently struggling such as retail, there are still many opportunities. Look at the entry level of qualification you might be able to aim for and have a look through posted job ads on the internet in your area and see if you have the applicable skills.

If at this stage you find that the industry or industries you indentified in part 6 are not in demand, then consider going back to this step to re-examine your opportunities. Is there a way for you to enter the sector in another role? Could you teach or mentor others while taking on a more hand-on role for a lower wage? Look at job demand as the final stage of your process and stay here until you find an industry that you wish to work in, that also has job demand.

Result = this is the type of job you should be going for today – tomorrow might be another story!

If you have been keeping notes throughout this process, you should now have a clear map of where you might be able to go next – both from an “ideal situation” perspective and a “realistic” perspective.

The job you may get tomorrow will not be the role that you hold for the rest of your life, in fact, you can almost guarantee that there will be multiple opportunities still ahead for you. Work slowly towards your goals and give as much importance to achieving your monetary, financial and physical needs as you do your hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Be realistic about what you like to do, what you’re good at and what your preferred job market is looking like and head down the road of success – today!

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