Finding a dream career feels impossible sometimes.
But it’s not. Take it from me — I went from a lawyer to a financial planner and blogger, knowing nothing about personal finance. Anything is possible – seriously.
I have 5 specific strategies that I know can help you find your dream career. So, here they are…
1. Shadow someone in your field
I cannot stress the importance of following someone around in the career that you want for at least a few days up to a week. Then you will see the day-to-day work you’d be doing in that career. It may feel silly to do this as an adult, but it will be so worth it in the long run. There is no better way to learn about a career than from seeing someone actually working in that career. Talking and conducting informational interviews may be helpful, but it’s no replacement for shadowing.
2. Prioritize the opportunity for growth
Do not be short-sited when choosing a career. A job now in a particular career may seem really appealing, but that’s not enough of a reason to choose that job. It’s important to have a vision of your career as a whole. Where do you see yourself in your career in 15 years? Does that job offer an opportunity for growth? In his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell said that he took lesser paying jobs to advance his career because of the opportunity for growth. The opportunity for upward movement in a given profession is an important factor to making your career choice (unfortunately it’s not discussed much at the time you’re making this decision).
3. Use this venn diagram
Of course you want to do something you love for work. Who doesn’t? But not everything makes money. And you actually do need money to live. Everyone enjoys doing more than one thing, so a good way to figure out your career path is to start by creating a list of all the things you enjoy doing and narrowing them down by opportunity for jobs and career growth. For example, I truly love organizing, but I did not choose to become a closet organizer even though I would love to organize closets all day. Closet organizing did not provide me with the type of career growth and continued opportunities in the market places, so I didn’t go down that road. You may love something, but if there’s not going to be a place for you to do it in the marketplace, keep it as a hobby and do something else that you like to do for your career.
4. Surround yourself with people you want to be like
You are the average of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time. This is pretty common knowledge, and sometimes it can be overused. But it’s overuse should not minimize its importance. That said, consider your inner circle and consider where you want to go in your career. The best way to bridge that gap is by surrounding yourself with people who are on that path or doing what you want to do. And if you don’t know anyone who meets these standards and find it hard to do in person, there are online networks or groups (Meetups via meetup.com, for example) that you can join to accomplish this.
5. Go for it (especially if you’re scared)
I used to hesitate (or not act at all) when I was scared or nervous about something. It wasn’t until I read self-improvement books (see which ones here) that I realized what a bad mindset this was. Now, I notice the fear and take that as a sign that I have to do whatever it is I’m nervous about. Life is about growing and the only way I can grow is if I take on new challenges, which by definition, means going outside of my comfort zone.
A Final Note!
I highly recommend reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. This is an amazing book for young, profession women who are success driven.
Whatever you do, don’t give up on finding a career that makes you happy. You deserve it.