As the year comes to a close, you may be looking to make some moves toward finding the perfect career in 2023. The truth is that the title of this article is a little misleading. There is no “perfect” career… but there can be the perfect career for you.
The job that suits you best should give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Think about what has attracted you to jobs in the past. Are you drawn to a particular industry or type of service? Do you prefer some work environments over others (e.g., all-virtual, working in a team, etc.)? What kind of job meets your financial needs and lifestyle?
Why is finding your perfect job important? For starters, we spend a lot of time with our work family. Sometimes, this means long hours, special projects, overwhelming deadlines, presentations, and no recognition. A career that aligns with your personal values makes the time and energy spent at work more meaningful. That sense of meaning can help to outweigh the stress and demands of the job.
Here are a few tips to help you find your ideal career path, whether you’re just starting out or are thinking about a career change:
- Identify a field or industry. Start with a list of your skills, hobbies, and interests. They may point you to a specific job (for example, accounting) or a broad industry (such as healthcare). If you’ve already decided on your ideal field, great! See where your list overlaps the jobs in that field. Next, find out what education and qualifications are needed to be successful in those careers. Would you need to get additional training? Also, research the pay scale and expected growth for careers in the field. There’s no use preparing for a job that won’t meet your income and personal needs.
- What are your “dream” companies? Make a list of the companies that work in your selected field. For each one, list what you know about their mission and what they look for in employees. To learn about their pay and benefits, check the companies’ websites, look up reviews on Glassdoor.com, and ask people you know who’ve worked for them. Based on what you learn, ask yourself – is this a place where you could see yourself working?
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for your dream employer to post your perfect job. Email a professional cover letter and resume to them. You never know what might happen if you step out of your comfort zone. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back from them. It’s a risk you take when you make the first move.
- Don’t stagnate. Continuously apply for different positions within your current company or in your desired career – if you are qualified. Applying and interviewing will help you sharpen your skills to eventually land your dream job. If you are not qualified, you’re wasting the employer’s time and yours. Instead, use that time to get the training and experience you need.
- Be realistic. Know your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you don’t like working with people, most likely you will not thrive in a career that requires lots of interpersonal contact. You can change your skills, but there is only so much you can change your personality to fit a job, no matter how hard you try. Set yourself up for success and focus on what works for you.
Finding your ideal career will take time and effort, but don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and find the job that’s perfect for you. When in doubt, remember this: life is short. We aren’t promised tomorrow, and you don’t want to wake up one day and realize that you spent your time in a career that held little value for you.
Back in February, I wrote about how being passionate about what you do fuels your purpose. This purposefulness sets you up for success – both professionally and personally – because it makes you excited to show up every day and make a difference. If you don’t have passion for what you do for living, then why are you doing it?
From all your friends at Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, we wish you a joyous holiday season and best wishes in the New Year!
Sharine Sample is the Regional Workforce Development Manager at Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina.