Without a clear path, knowing you want to pursue a new career can be disconcerting. We’re here to tell you that it is never too late to start fresh and that you can find your dream career with an organized approach.
How do you even go about getting started? We suggest that you spend some time brainstorming a few different lists and find the overlap in the middle. Lists may include what you’re passionate about, what your ideal work-life looks like, and what company culture is essential for you. We’ll be walking you through those in this article.
Brainstorm Targeted Lists
To narrow down your target careers, you need to find the intersection between the following themes. Approach each topic individually, and then take a break in between lists to start fresh.
What Are Your Passions?
This is a great starting point when looking for a new job. If you can find a career that meshes well with your natural talents and interests, you’re on the right track! Start by making a list of interests you’re passionate about. Is conservation near your heart, or are you devoted to helping eliminate gender gaps in society?
Perhaps your interest is more focused on tangible things, such as fitness or health. Would you love to share those with others? A personal trainer or strength coach career may be right for you.
Set a timer and brainstorm without editing. Consider any volunteer experiences or jobs you held when you were younger. Where would you spend your time if money were no object?
Once you have created your list of passions and interests, look them over carefully. What abilities are most well developed in yourself? Are there similarities between the things on your list that suggest that specific pathways or opportunities may align closely with what makes you happy?
Remember, when trying to discover where your passions lie, it’s important not to compare yourself against others. Instead, make a note of all the natural talents and interests unique to you.
What Is Your Ideal Work Environment?
Consider how you’ve always pictured your ideal work environment. What are the ideal hours you want to work, the people you’d like to work with, and even your geographical preferences?
Some questions to get you started:
- Have you always dreamed of living and working in an RV while traveling the U.S.?
- Perhaps you’ve always wanted to put on a business suit and work in a corner office?
- Would you love working in nature, or does the hustle and bustle of an environment filled with children appeal to you?
- Would you enjoy being a team leader?
- Do you thrive on organization and deadlines?
- Do you personally want to make an impact on people’s lives, or do you prefer more anonymity?
Ensure that you’re being truthful and realistic, both about the role and about your personality. Just because you have a cousin who thrives in sales doesn’t mean that it would be a great fit for you. Living in an RV seems carefree, but what about times where the internet is down or there is a breakdown on the camper? Would you thrive on those challenges?
Start to organize your thoughts. Rank your priorities, such as a flexible schedule or the ability to work remotely. Is that more or less important than health benefits? Ideally, you’ll create your list of top five, with the top three being your nonnegotiables.
What Is Essential for You in a Job?
This question ties into both of the previous questions. Once you know what type of environment and career path best suits you, it’s time to start thinking about company culture.
What are essential values for you in a job? Do you need flexible options, or do you prefer working remotely? Do holidays off mean more to you than excellent benefits?
What Is Your Minimum Salary Requirement?
What is the minimum amount of money someone would have to pay you before you’d be willing or able to work? While there are many factors involved with how much money you need (geography, lifestyle, family obligations, etc.), having an idea will help guide some decisions. For example, if working for a nonprofit organization is incredibly meaningful to you, but they’re only offering slightly more than minimum wage, would accepting that position allow you to meet your financial obligations, or would you have to pass?
And salary is essential, but it’s not the only thing to consider. Remember that many other benefits come with certain positions! These can include health insurance, 401(k) matching programs, tuition reimbursement, and more. When determining if a career is right for you, carefully weigh all of the pros and cons before making your final decision.
What Are the Education Requirements to Get Started?
Depending on the field someone desires, the necessary education could vary from a few months of coursework to obtaining a doctoral degree. It’s also important to remember that many careers require on-the-job training in addition to formal education. So, if you’re thinking about making a career change, be sure to research how much hands-on experience may be required as well!
You’ll have to determine if you’re at a stage in life that can afford a lengthy educational period. Although the time commitment may be daunting, having a realistic plan for obtaining your desired education can pave the way to success!
Consider the Geography of a Career
Some industries are geographically specific. Many jobs may be available in one particular area, but very few (if any) positions are found in other locations. Keep this in mind when thinking about where you can find work!
For example, if someone is looking for a job with an architecture firm, they’re most likely to find the bulk of the positions in urban areas. Even though there may be several opportunities available within your desired industry, certain companies only hire locally, so it’s essential to consider the geographical location before applying carefully. It also makes sense that some career paths lend themselves more easily to remote working arrangements than others—something else to consider while brainstorming potential future careers!
Finding the Overlap
Now that you have a few lists, it’s time to find the overlap. For example, if you are great at math, enjoy working with children, and are passionate about overcoming educational disparities, it might be a good idea for you to pursue a career in education. On the other hand, if you are good at math, enjoy working with technology, and want to learn more about web design, it might be a better decision to pursue a career in information technology.
This is where your research begins! Look for careers and companies that align with your passions, offer an ideal job and company culture, and meet your minimum salary requirement.
There are many resources to help—from online articles to working with a career coach. The important part is that you take the time to figure out what matters most to you and start narrowing down your options from there.
Begin to Research Companies
Once you’ve determined the type of career path that best suits you, it’s essential to do some research on specific companies within that field.
Remember, not all careers and companies will pay well, but staying true to yourself can be very rewarding in other ways! For example, working as a veterinarian for a nonprofit may come with low financial rewards, but knowing that you’re making a difference by saving lives every day can make up for it. Or perhaps, having a flexible role that allows you to live that dream RV life we mentioned earlier outweighs a higher salary without a remote option.
Create a Career Path With Thoughtful Planning
Researching potential career paths is not an easy task. Many factors go into choosing what you will do with the next few decades of your life. However, it’s never too late or early in life to find happiness in a profession. Spend time creating the best course of action for you!
Are you looking for a remote, work-from-home, or flexible job? Whether you’re a data analyst, copywriter, project manager, or you’re still finding the right job for you, our partner site FlexJobs can help you find great remote, work-from-home opportunities.
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