What to do if you have no idea what you want to do when you grow up. So you’re fresh out of university. All the cramming and caffeine-fuelled sleepless nights have finally paid off. You’ve reached the other side and maybe it feels different than you thought it would? Maybe you saw all the grown-ups in their matching suits and shiny heels, walking past your campus whilst you were downing last night’s cold left-overs, and assumed university would spit you out in a similar form? If you’re here because your pumpkin hasn’t quite turned into a royal carriage yet, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet.
“What am I going to be when I grow up?” A great deal of people never discover the answer, and I don’t want you to be one of them. The quest for a life craft that leaves us feeling like we’ve achieved something here is such a universal feeling that it’s no wonder so much confusion comes with it. The reason so many people struggle to understand what career is right for them is two-fold. Firstly, they are not crystal clear about who they are. Secondly, they are not aware of the myriad opportunities that are available to them in the modern world. So how do you overcome these two major hurdles and figure it out?
Well! Follow my 5 steps to proven success and well see if we can’t get you that kick-ass career you’ve always known you wanted.
1. Understand Yourself
“Who Am I?” An age-old question, and one that rarely ever gets properly figured out, even by the best of us. But it is still one of the few questions of our lives that deserves our full attention.
Often people come to me wanting a quick fix. They hope that in a one-hour coaching session I’ll tell them exactly what job will turn that career dissatisfaction into instant satisfaction. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
To understand yourself, you simply need the right attitude and the right assessment tools. By the right attitude, I mean you need to approach this task with a level of self-awareness and honesty. The right tools include personality-profiling and personal or professional coaching. You need to combine the personality testing with time spent clearly defining your values and needs.
2. Get clear on your purpose.
On to the next big question, “Why am I here?” This is often such a scarily big question; it just seems easier to place in the ‘too hard’ basket until the next existential crisis. So, let’s break this down a little. What we are really asking ourselves is ‘how do we do something of value with our time?’ Happiness research has shown it is incredibly important that we feel like we are adding value and contributing to something larger than ourselves.
Are you thinking that is all fine and well, but the vastness of the question still lingers? Regrettably, I can’t squash/water down the importance of this question, but here are a few other questions you can ask yourself that might be a good starting point: When do I feel pure joy? What achievement am I most proud of? What do people come to me for advice on? When was the last time I felt truly energised? What excites me? What unique interests did I have as a child? What would I be doing if money was no object?
3. Uncover your passion
When you are clear on what your passions are you can decide how you will incorporate them into your career plan. Do you bring your specific skills/passions into an adjacent career? Or do you work in a career that allows you plenty of time to pursue your creative passions and meet your other key needs? You need to tailor-make your own job title.
Also, your passion is not necessarily the same as your greatest skill. It’s important to get clear on both what you love, and what you’re good at. Sometimes we can get confused here. Think long and hard, and don’t forget to celebrate your talents.
4. Research your specialty
You are an insanely capable being, but once in a while you may need some help, or perhaps some coaching? Being clear on your personality profile, values, interests, passions and purpose is a fantastic starting point, and working with someone like a career coach can really round out all this newfound insight you’ve discovered about your new inspired self.
Working with a career coach, or through online research, you need to create a list of the careers that are suited to you. You then need to do a small feasibility assessment asking yourself questions about the financial viability, how much study is required, and what is the availability of the type of work you’re after.
5. Plan your approach
I don’t know about it being ‘all in the planning’, but whoever it was that said that was definitely onto something. Planning your approach is hugely important in order to make sure that where you end up is a place you actually wanted to go.
Start with a stand-out CV and LinkedIn profile that clearly outline your talents and key achievements. If you work in the digital space, be sure to have an online CV. Ensure all photos are professional. Set appropriate security settings on your Facebook profile; you have a personal brand and you need to protect it.
When you have the desired list of organisations or types of organisations to work for, then get onto LinkedIn and hit up both your professional and personal networks to get coffee meetings. People are often flattered when you offer to take them to coffee to get some insight into the industry or ask their career advice – so network away!
So. What do you want to be when you grow up? I hope these five steps helped, and I hope you don’t forget that as simple as it seems, you’re the only person who can change things for yourself. Why not have that fabulous career? Why not take the time to discover the nitty-gritty of what you actually want? It is your life after all – so why not?
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