How to find what you want to do

Recently I posted that you will have the greatest chance of finding a job you like, if you are focused on what you want.

This seems like an obvious statement, but many job seekers have difficulty in developing a focus. Perhaps they have a variety of experiences they can draw upon. Or perhaps they do not want to miss any opportunities by becoming too focused. Or perhaps they simply like the idea of trying something new.

All are fair concerns. But I say again, you will have the greatest chance of finding a job you like, if you are focused on what you want.

So how do you do that?

My go-to source is Richard Bolles’ What Color Is Your Parachute? First released in 1970 and revised annually since 1975, Bolles takes the reader through a number of exercises to determine where your interests and your skills intersect, and how to determine what types of occupations these would suggest. His website, JobHuntersBible.com, is currently undergoing a revision to clean up dead links and the like, and is promised a relaunch early in 2014. In the meantime, I would suggest a job seeker to go old-school and use paper and pencil to complete the exercises in “Parachute.”

The 2014 version promises a complete revision from earlier versions

Another option is to do a Google search on “Career Assessments” and complete two or three. After that, if you are honestly self-inspective and consistent, you will begin to see patterns develop that should make sense for you. When I did the exercises, they revealed that I love to write, I love to teach, and I love to help others be successful, all very consistent with what I know about myself.

Finally, it is a rare day at my job when I do not consult O*Net OnLine. Sponsored by the US Department of Labor, is has a wealth of information for job seekers, not least to help decide what occupations to target.

  • Enter a job title in the “Occupation Quick Search” box, and see what other occupations this suggests.
  • If you know your skills, click on “Advanced Search” and then on “Go To Skills Search” and simply select the skills you like to use.
  • Click on “Advanced Search” and find “Interests” in the drop-down menu to play the Holland Interest Game (also described in Richard Bolles’ book).

Nothing says you have to stay in one career forever, so if you try something and don’t like it, then try something new. But I say again, you will have the greatest chance of finding a job you like, if you are focused on what you want.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

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