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I Have 8 Ideas to Spot Your Ideal Career Path. Do You Have 5 Minutes?

I Have 8 Ideas to Spot Your Ideal Career Path. Do You Have 5 Minutes?

Some grow up knowing exactly which career path they want to take while others just can’t seem to figure it out. Maybe you’ve been in the same profession for years and you’re looking to get into something else, but you’re just not sure what. We’d all love to find our calling early on in life and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, that is rarely what happens. If you’re struggling to decide which career path is right for you, here are some ideas to help ease the stress.

Take the Tests to Find Out What Excites You

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something that you’re going to enjoy. Make sure you won’t dread getting out of bed every day. It’s not as difficult as it seems. Sit down, think about the things that you genuinely enjoy doing and write them down. Having a passion for something isn’t the only thing required when discovering a career path, but it’s certainly an essential part. When you thoroughly enjoy something, it’ll definitely help you power through the bad days.

If you need some help, try taking the free personality test below. It requires you to really think about what you enjoy and to evaluate yourself. When completed, you’ll be given a list of different professions based on your answers:

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Big Five Personality Test

The next test asks a series of 60 questions about different things you could see yourself doing. Such as working with people or working with spreadsheets on a computer. At the end of the test you’ll be given a list of professions that you may enjoy just like the test above:

My Next Move Career Test

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Use the G+P+V Formula for Perfect Match

  • G-Gifts
  • P-Passions
  • V-Values

“Gifts” means to consider your strengths. Start by thinking about what you’re good at and writing it down. “Passions” means to think about what excites you. Do you enjoy helping other people, working alone, solving problems? Lastly, “values” is really all about your personality and lifestyle. What about the way you work is nonnegotiable? When you use your strengths towards what you’re invested in, a path that supports your values will lead you to a career that you genuinely enjoy.

Find a Mentor to Clear All Your Confusion

Having a mentor is extremely beneficial when figuring out which career path is best for you. They could really help you take your career to new heights. It’s like having an insider to talk with about the career and make sure you’re on the right path. If you’re unsure how to ask someone to be your mentor, try this: when you find a career that you’re interested in, explore different companies and people to see if you’re able to shadow for a few days. This will give you a better idea of what you’ll be doing in that line of work.

Take a Look at the Options You Have Never Considered

There are popular careers that we all know about such as being a teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc. For some, those typical choices may not peak your interest in the slightest. There are thousands upon thousands of jobs out there. Many you probably have not heard about. Take a look at these unusual jobs from Business Insider.

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You Don’t Have to Hop Between Full-Time Jobs, Internships Can Be Your Choice

If you have some flexibility, an internship is an awesome way to get first-hand experience in the field of work you’re looking to get into. As the internship comes to a close, you may be able to score a full-time job. It may help you discover that you’re on the wrong career path which is okay. Something positive comes from both outcomes. Either way, it’ll help build your network and introduce you to people who you can get career and job advice from.

Prepare a Clear Career Plan to Stop Yourself from Distracted

As with a lot of things in life, it will be more beneficial if you have some plans made and goals set for yourself. Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a writer, but after writing comes editing and you’re not sure that’s what you want to do. Maybe you’ve been a nurse for years, and you’d like to become a florist. It’s important to think about how you’re going to get there.

Make a map planning out where you want to go with steps, possible obstacles, and goals.

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Take Aptitude Tests to Understand Your Interest and Strengths

You may be sitting there thinking that you don’t know what interests you or what your strong suits are. Personality and career assessment tests help narrow down careers that you may enjoy, and are at least worth looking into. You may have taken them in high school so you could start thinking about what you’d like to do. Maybe you took one in college when you started to rethink whether or not the major you chose was a good fit. This one from Oprah’s website includes 5 aptitude tests on the first page. You can download and complete each one. When finished, head over to page two to see your results and what they mean.

Make Use of the Resources You Have

There’s no harm in reaching out to people. One of the best ways to find a career path is to talk with and ask people questions about their field of work. It will give you a little insight when you’re unsure what the job entails. Another great outlet to look into and take advantage of is LinkedIn. It has tons of information about a laundry list of professions, and you have the option to message people when you have some questions. Take a look at this site which lists many different careers and what they entail. It’s a great resource to use when researching.

Look at You career As a Stepping Stone

A career isn’t about racing to the top. Look at your career as if it were a marathon. Instead of a sprint, learn to enjoy all the twists and turns, all the ups and the downs that you encounter along the way. When you put all of your experiences together, you will find a career worth having.

Figuring out and deciding what career path you want to take may be long, frustrating, and difficult. It’s impossible to know if you’re going to enjoy what you choose to do twenty years down the line, but it’s important to think about the here and now. What do YOU enjoy? Choosing a particular career does not mean you have to spend the rest of your life in that profession. Explore all of your options and have fun doing your research. Knowledge is power!

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Erica Wagner

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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