Originally posted on Forbes.
“How do I figure out what job is actually the right fit for me?”
At one of my recent keynote speeches, en a young woman approached the mic during the Q&A to ask this question.
Career clarity is something that doesn’t come easily to most. And when you consider that six in 10 Millennials are open to a new job, one can only wonder: are they actually job hunting because they are ready to grow into their next level, or are they job hunting because they don’t like where they are, and want to take another stab at perhaps finding a better place to go?
My belief is that most job seekers aren’t hunting for a new job, they’re looking for…themselves. As such, they’re hunting in hopes that the next job will perhaps feel like more of a match. And of course, without clarity, it’s a shot in the dark.
Let’s also consider the slow start many Millennials experienced in their careers due to the recession. Needless to say, it’s no surprise that so many feel stuck in their current jobs and afraid of leaping into something new.
1. Do a self-audit.
The more you know about yourself, the easier it becomes to unlock your most ideal career fit.
You can sit around and ask yourself the age-old question, “Who am I?” but that will only get you so far.
Studies show that coworkers are better than the worker themselves at recognizing how someone’s personality affects their job performance. That’s why it makes sense to ask your close friends, family, and coworkers to share a list of the skills they value in you and what they think you are great at. Talents often come easily they feel obvious—but they’re not! It’s hard to read the label when you live inside the jar. Request an outside perspective to remind you of what unique strengths you offer.
Another way to do a self-audit is in completing a series of personality tests, like the Enneagram or Myers-Briggs that even have career suggestions tailored to your results. The great news about these is there are free versions online!
Also consider the how of how you do your job might be more important than the what, as in what job title you take on.
For a moment, don’t consider what your job title should be, instead, think about how you want to use your energy during the workday… Are you ideally typing alone at your desk, or out with clients all day? Tune into how you think your energy is best used based on what gives you energy. Consider if you want the ability to work remote, to travel, to be completely alone or to have team engagement often. Ask yourself if you want to be speaking in front of others or spend your time behind a screen. List out what you want from your next job and be very specific.
2. Seek out jobs you didn’t know existed.
As kids, we were all asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. The problem with this is that, as kids, we were given limited information on what jobs were actually out there. That’s why most kids end up with the trite response of, “Teacher, Firefighter or Astronaut.”
You don’t know what you don’t know about what’s out there! In fact, there are more than 12,000 career options available to you. Do you know that list by heart? Probably not. As a career coach, this gets me excited.
When it comes to career options, the sky is the limit, which is why it all comes down to combining what you have learned about yourself — your core skillset — with the careers you find inspiring.
Linkedin is a powerful tool to help you with job hunting. Not only is it a great way to put yourself out there for career opportunities, but also it allows you to scan and search through other people’s profiles to see who and what inspires you. Notice how people write about their jobs, as they usually will provide the insight you cannot find in a job posting, and start maintaining a list of companies and job titles you find ideal.
3. Take Action.
You have done all of this prep work, and now comes the exciting part: committing to make the change and start the job hunt.
Begin by updating your resume, cover letter, and social media accounts to target your new career path. Hone in on what your elevator pitch is and be sure to practice this in the mirror every day before heading out the door to network and interview. Practice creates certainty, and certainty breeds confidence.
Part of this is about making the mindset shift to not just believing, but deciding that you can and will make a transition. Your career potential is not just defined by your past experiences; it’s defined by your soft skills, such as being motivated, communicative and resourceful.
Career transitions can be intimidating, but once you find a path that aligns with your strengths, passion, and needs, the process will end in success.
Don’t wait around for something to fall into your lap, start the work now and figure out what your change needs to be.
Ashley Stahl helps job seekers find their purpose, land more job offers and launch their dream businesses. Sign up here for her free jumpstart course on how to land a new job you love.