In a job market hungry for talent, it can feel like there are endless career-changing options. And while it’s a great thing, it can also be overwhelming.
Many of us find ourselves stuck in careers that we are not particularly passionate about. And figuring out what to do next can be a challenge.
This post is going to go through a process that will help you find a more meaningful career for you and pursue it.
1. Find out what you want
The first step to finding a more meaningful job is to understand what you want to do. It sounds simple and obvious, right? However, it is not that easy to do.
At a high level, I found the following steps helpful in understanding What do you want to do with your life:
Start by establishing a vision for your life
Ultimately, I believe your best fit for the job will fit and support your personal values. So that means your job needs to fit into the overall life you want to build for yourself.
But to get started, you need to be focused on a vision of what that life looks like. This sounds like a great thing to understand, but I discovered that you can get direction at a high level by following these steps.
Define your values
Defining your values can help frame what is most important to you. You can start by listing your values on the cards and putting them in order of importance for you. It is an exercise that helps put your priorities in perspective and helps you think not only about what, but why things are important to you.
For example, if you complete a values exercise and find that your family is the thing you value most than anything else in the world, it may tell you that you are going to want to find a job that will give you the flexibility to be available and present for them whenever possible.
Writing a future biography
Once you have defined your values, there is another exercise I have found that can really help you imagine the life you want to build for yourself. Try writing a future biography. There are future writing tools online that can provide writing guidelines for such an exercise, but the idea is that completing a future writing exercise helps you visualize the future you want to build for yourself, which will help give you an idea of how your work fits in where you would like to go.
Translate this vision into tangible career options with the Ikigai framework
Once you have a high-level vision of life that you want to build for yourself, you should try to find some tangible career options that will fit into that life.
My favorite way to think about it is to try to find your Ikiga. Ikai is a Japanese term that roughly means “reason for being” and represents the intersection of the following:
- What are you good at
- What the world needs
- What you love
- What can I pay you for
Here is a picture of an Ikiga chart illustrating the idea:
Write down things that apply in each of the four categories and try to find the node. For example, you may find that you mentioned photography as something you love, that you are good at, that can make you money and that people need. It could be your Ikiga and the path you want to take.
From the options you find that meet at the intersection of your Ikigai diagram, you will want to evaluate how each will fit into the context of the overall life you want to build for yourself.
Map out your skills and tailor your resume
Once you have a sense of what you want to pursue, your next step will be to write down all the skills and competencies you have for that particular career path.
From there, you will want to tailor your resume with these skills and competencies so that you will have a focused tool for applying for a job in pursuit of your ideal career.
Also, keep in mind that you may find that your ideal job does not involve working for someone else, which is fine. It’s still ultimately a good idea to complete this step, as you may find that you need some work experience for others in the short term to build the skills you need to get out on your own.
Close the gaps in your skill set
Once you have mapped out your skills, you may realize that there are some gaps that you have in your skills and background that can make it difficult for you to pursue your ideal career path.
When you apply for a job or start doing the job you want to pursue, you can focus on closing these gaps in your skill set by doing one or all of the following:
- Begin a relevant side riot
- Volunteering in the desired field
- Networking with people from the field
- Back to school and / or completing online courses
4. Go for low hanging fruit
The final recommendation when pursuing a more significant career is to take advantage of any low hanging fruit to reverse the axis.
For example, suppose you work in customer service, but have always wanted to work in marketing. If you work for a company that also has a marketing department, moving to a department at that company can be a lot easier than finding a whole new job.
You can also take advantage of your existing network and ask for their help in bringing you into the field you want.
It’s great to have options, but it can be crucial to find a job that is truly meaningful. By following the steps above, you will be able to discover what you want to do, and then deliberately move on towards your ideal career.
This article was submitted by Dan Slokom from The most suitable job.
Candice’s background includes human resources, recruitment, training and evaluation. She spent several years at a nationwide staffing company, serving employers at both beaches. Her writing on business, career, and employment has appeared in the Florida Times Union, the Jacksonville Business Journal, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and 904 Magazine, as well as several national publications and websites. Candice is often quoted in the media on local labor market and employment issues.
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