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How To Pick A Career The Right Way On The First Try

How To Pick A Career The Right Way On The First Try

It happens to the best of us. You spent years getting an education and training that will help you pursue a career, but then you find a job in your chosen field and realize it’s not as great as you expected.

Of course, you can always go back to the drawing board and pick a new career; however, switching fields is often expensive and difficult — especially if it means going back for more schooling or training. Wouldn’t it be nice to get it right the first time around?

Here are some tips on how to pick a career the right way, the first time.

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1. Learn about different job titles

If you spend just five minutes sifting through a job board, you’ll quickly learn there’s no such thing as simple job titles anymore. For example, if you go to a traditional online job board and search for marketing positions, it’ll return openings ranging from “marketing manager”, to “social media and PR coordinator”, to “public information officer.”

As if choosing a field wasn’t hard enough, you now need to pick which of the thousand different varations of job titles is your best match. You need more direction about what positions would interest you. So, dive in and learn about what’s out there. Find out the basic distinguishing characteristics of different roles so you can begin to rule out which won’t suit you.

Once you’ve narrowed your focus, reach out to real people and ask for a short informational meeting or phone call. Ask them not only about their own jobs, but also other jobs in their department that they may be familiar with. If you’re having trouble finding people in your network who can answer your questions, get involved with online forums like Reddit or Quora. These are great resources to connect with people in specific industries and ask them direct questions.

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2. Take advantage of technology

In the past, if you wanted the best guidance in choosing a career you needed an expert to help you out. Decades ago, you had to hire an expensive career coach to give you personality tests or arrange informational interviews so you could figure out what you wanted to do. Luckily for you — and unfortunately for career coaches — you can now get expert guidance from your phone.

You have access to multiple tools that will give you a more complete picture of what your ideal job would look like. Just Google a phrase like “career exploration apps” and you’ll find a lot of effective tools you can download onto your smartphone. Leverage the technology available to you and get a leg up in your research.

You can also use online career resources from prestigious universities like Berkeley, Northeastern, and MIT. Google “career center .edu” to find their career center pages. Next up, peruse resources that have been compiled by career guidance professionals. They have already done the hard part of researching and vetting the best career tools, and in many cases, you can access the information even if you’re not a student at the school.

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3. Think about what interests you

Forget what grades you earned at school in various subjects. Forget what you majored in. Just answer this question: What do you spend most of your time doing when you could be doing anything at all?

Make a list of your favorite activities and then ask yourself: Why do you really like to do that thing? Suppose you love to knit. Unfortunately, there are few careers related to knitting, but if you think about what draws you to the activity, new options arise. Sure, you might like knitting because it’s fun and relaxing, but why is that specifically true for you?

Do you like the end result of producing tangible results after meticulous effort? Or do you like the creative side of your hobby? Dig deep and you’ll find out more about the type of work you want to do and your ideal workplace. This can lead you to an unexpected career that is perfect for you.

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Conclusion

If you’re about to enter the workforce, the odds of choosing the right career can seem like a million to one. However, with the right research and guidance, you can beat those odds by finding your perfect career and position on the first try.

What are some other tips on how to pick a career? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash; Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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