British journalist Katherine Whitehorn once advised career seekers to “Find out what you like doing best, and then get someone to pay you for doing it.”
Most people who are successful in their careers will tell you they love what they do. It’s much easier to excel when you’re doing something you enjoy. That means finding a career that fits your talents, interests, values and personality.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself working in your perfect job. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you working with? What do you see, hear, and smell? Visualizing yourself actually working in your ideal job can help you clarify career paths that will fit who you are.
(Tip: It may be easier to think about what you don’t want in a job, then you can simply turn the negatives into positives to describe your ideal work situation.)
Ask yourself these questions:
- Responsibilities – What do you want to be doing every day? Do you want to be working with people or ideas or machinery? Do you want to create things or solve problems or help others? What activities have you done in the past that you found rewarding?
- Environment – Do you want to work in a small office or a large organization? Do you enjoy being constantly busy or do you prefer a more relaxed work pace? Do you enjoy working indoors or do you prefer to be outside?
- Schedule – What hours would allow you to balance your job with family and personal life? Are you a morning person or a night owl?
- Colleagues – What types of people do you enjoy working with? Do you prefer to work on teams or independently? How much direction do you want from your supervisor?
- Values – What is important to you? What types of employers might share your values? What careers will make you feel your work means something and gives you a sense of purpose?
- Salary – How much are you hoping to earn? How important is future income potential, benefits and perks?
- Opportunity – Are you looking to advance your career quickly or would you be satisfied doing basically the same thing for a long time?
Finding the right career path means knowing what will make you feel valued, productive and fulfilled. Finding a career that fits with your preferences and personality is the first step to being successful.