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At a young age, most of us are asked what we want to be “When we grow up” as if we should all have a unique career goal to work towards all our lives. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated. And unlike previous generations, many people don’t take a job straight out of high school and college and then stick with it until retirement. We are encouraged to find ours “Career path”– whatever that means – and follow it, but where do you even start? Here are a few ideas.

Think about what inspires you

This is the first obvious step – we all want to enjoy it and actually like our careers. (Maybe The biggest sign that you are on the wrong track is when you are afraid to talk about your job.) While passion is not the only requirement Many would say that you are satisfied with your career it’s still important, if only because passion keeps you going even in difficult times. You may also want to ask yourself if there is a job They would be free.

Illustration for article titled How to Find Your Career Path

Remember what you are good at

Perhaps you are not that passionate about a particular career – or you love multiple areas and cannot decide on just one. Then it’s time to think about your personality and Focus on your skills. If in doubt, you can use them “Don’t do what you love. Do what you are “ Advice.

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Make a test

Well, you say what if you don’t know what you can do or what you’re interested in? Career assessment tests in college or even high school help narrow down a field (maybe with the Myers-Briggs Personality Index… but take that with you a grain of salt), but if it’s been a while since you’ve taken these tests, there are other types of assessment tests you can take.

This one from Rasmussen College Assigns your self-reported skills and interests to potential jobs. (And they have one too Interactive chart of salary and job growth.) For potential programmers, SwitchUp recommends a career in programming based on your preferences. There are also Collections of other career tests.

You can also find a career that fits your motivational focus with this Placement test. And while these tests may be helpful, they are not the be-all and end-all of your career path.

Try an internship

If you have flexibility in terms of salary, an internship can be a great way to test an industry or type of career –and eventually get a full time job (especially if you have no previous knowledge). Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a job or you find out it is the wrong career for you, an internship can help build your network– From which you can receive career and career advice. (Not all internships are just about getting coffee. For example Google internshipsalthough hard to come by, bring you to real work.)

Find a mentor

A mentor could help you Take your career to the next level and give the inside look to make sure you are on the right track. Here is how to ask someone to be your mentor. When you’ve secured a good one, take advantage of everything they are ready to offer, including advice, connections, and services Answering questions about the industry they work in.

Also, if there’s a career you’re already interested in, check out any company or person in that industry to let you tailor a few days to see what it really is like.

Illustration for article titled How to Find Your Career Path

Explore unconventional careers

We all know the popular careers available to us – doctor, lawyer, teacher, computer engineer, police officer, shopkeeper, etc. If you’re not excited about the typical choices, you know there are thousands of unusual jobs out there for you maybe haven’t heard anything – maybe hidden in the Professional Handbook of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

MoneyWise has one List of 41 dream jobs that pays off well (toy maker! mystery shopper!), thrillist highlights 17 more (Luxury bed tester ?!) and Chron lists some others.

Ask other people

Perhaps the best way to discover a new career is to ask other people about theirs – provided you come into contact with people who are not all in the same field. Your LinkedIn network (or other social media sites, especially LinkedIn) might be a good place to look for information. Don’t forget either Reference librarian for your local library can refer you to career resources.

Illustration for article titled How to Find Your Career Path

Use the formula G + P + V.

The perfect career for you would most likely fit in the G + P + V formulawhich stands for gifts + passions + values. Take into account your strengths and passions, as mentioned above, and your values ​​- what is non-negotiable about the way you work?

Make a career plan

As with most things, your career will benefit if you do Have goals and a plan accordingly. You may think you want to be a writer, but the next step after that is editing. (Is that what you really want to do?) Or do you want to switch from an editor to a restaurant owner? (How do you get there?) Plan where you want to go with specific milestones. like it was a four phase project.

See your career as a stepping stone, not a linear path

Of course, none of these plans and ideas are ever set in stone. Also, keep in mind that you may start out very excited about a particular career only to fall in love with it later. In this case there are options Get new inspiration as you work.

Above all, remember Your career is a marathon, not a sprint and it can turn out to be a very winding road, hopefully pieced together from all of your experiences. A career that pays off.

This story was originally published in August 2014 and was updated on February 4, 2021 to be in line with Lifehacker style guidelines.