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Published on February 25, 2020

What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out

What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out

Before we’re old enough to vote or even get a driver’s permit, people are asking us what we want to be when we grow up. While most of us don’t ever grow up to become astronauts or princesses, the question of “What job should I have?” is one that perplexes a lot of people — and for good reason.

Finding a career that hits all the right marks of money, satisfaction, and work-life balance is no easy feat. Sure, there are hundreds of online quizzes out there from the goofy to the scientific that promise to tell you what job is right for you, but have you ever met anybody who entered a career field because of a job quiz they took?

Landing the right career is more a path of discovery than anything else. Most people simply have to go through a bit of trial and error to discover what job they should. Take some time to ponder these questions and examine how each plays into your own path of discovery towards the right job.

1. What Are Your Interests?

This question often gets rephrased as “What are you passionate about?” Looking at potential careers with a requirement of passion, however, isn’t particularly constructive. Most people like a lot of things, but how many of your likes would you say you have a genuine passion for?

The idea that following our passions will lead to happiness is fraught with inaccuracy. For starters, research suggests that people aren’t particularly good at predicting how they’ll feel about something in the future.[1] The workforce is full of people who thought they’d love a chosen career but ended up hating it a few years later.

Let’s ditch the word “passion” and replace it with “interests” as it allows for a broader path of discovery. Most people don’t finish college with a passion for advertising, but they may have interests in graphic design, writing, and psychology.

2. What Kind of Personality Do You Have?

Your personality can play a huge role in determining your success in a job.[2] How you think and behave naturally impact what job is right for your unique way of looking at the world. Some of us like calling the shots and directing others in a team setting, while others prefer to follow orders and buckle down on a particular task at hand.

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If you’re outgoing and high-energy, a job where you’re working alone at a desk for hours probably isn’t the right fit.

Consider taking an inward look at your personality and asking yourself a few questions when exploring potential job and career possibilities.

  • Do you like to lead or follow?
  • Do you consider yourself competitive?
  • Do you like structure and routine or do you prefer flexibility and freedom?
  • Are you promotion or prevention-focused?

Another aspect of your personality to take into consideration when exploring job possibilities is the promotion or prevention mindset.[3]

Those with a promotion mindset tend to see goals as an opportunity for advancement and achievement. They are more likely to seize opportunity and embrace risk but are also more prone to error.

The flip side of the personality coin is those who have more of a prevention mindset. They tend to look at goals a layer of security. They are often very analytical and detail-oriented in their thinking, but they may work slower and be less likely to take risks.

Both mindsets are better suited for certain jobs than others, and most of us tend to have a dominant focus that leans more towards one than the other.

3. Who Do You Want to Work With?

You’re going to spend a large chunk of your time working, and, depending on the job, that could mean being surrounded by a lot of people or hardly any at all. Some of us are more social and spending eight or nine hours a day alone would be torturous. Then there are those of us who would be miserable working in an office with 300 other people.

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Getting along with your coworkers can have a big impact on your job satisfaction and performance, but it’s also important that you take into account the people you’ll be serving. If a job is a poor social fit — for example, an introvert in public relations — there’s a high probability of unhappiness.

4. What Culture Comes With the Job?

Doing some investigation work can quickly answer whether a particular career is a good match for your personality. Those who consider themselves to be a free spirit probably won’t be happy or perform well in a rigid industry with strict guidelines, such as the insurance industry.

Looking at the culture of a specific job should be taken into consideration before accepting any employment offers. Creating a winning company culture is a discussion for another time, but if the company’s beliefs, work environment, and mission doesn’t align with your own values, it’s probably not the best fit.

5. What Education or Training Do You Have?

Most careers are going to require some sort of training. Now, of course, many artistic careers do involve formal education programs, but it’s also not uncommon for professionals to be self-taught. The self-educated route isn’t an option for many jobs, though — nobody wants to visit a self-taught brain surgeon — and years of schooling may be required.

When considering a potential job field, there are three important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is advanced training needed?
  2. How long is the training program?
  3. Am I willing to spend the money needed for it?

If you’re feeling uneasy about the realities of these answers, it may be time to look at other options.

6. Can You Learn to Be Good at It?

If a person isn’t good at their job, they’re likely to either burn out and quit or get fired. However, nobody is going to be good at their job right out of the gate. Author Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, for example, argues that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. Whether or not this is completely true, expertise is something that comes with time and practice.

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Nobody is going to be good at everything, no matter how much time they put in. I could spend all the time in the world working on math, but I’ll never be a mathematician. It’s just not something I have a knack for.

This is why it’s so important to try different things. Eventually, you will stumble upon something and have that lightbulb moment where you realize you could be good at it.

7. Is There Room for Growth in the Field?

Alright, let’s get practical for a second. Some career fields are simply going to offer a lot more career possibilities and job growth than others. As much as you may have an interest in 15th-century Polish poetry, there just aren’t a lot of jobs out there that need that sort of expertise.

It is generally a good rule of thumb to aim for a field that’s hiring. A dwindling industry may have increased competition or little room for long-term career growth. Check around for which industries and career fields are going places and which ones are on the decline.

8. How Much Work-Life Balance Do You Need?

Lots of jobs don’t function on a 9 to 5 schedule, so it’s important to examine what sort of work-life balance you need and how that matches up with potential job choices. Some people may enjoy the rigidity of a 9 to 5, while others may want something that changes from day to day.

Do some background research into a potential job’s requirements regarding travel and what sort of hours people in that field tend to work. If you’re not willing to work an overnight shift, going into a field such as police work or nursing probably isn’t a good fit.

9. Where Do You Want to Live?

Even with the advantage of the internet, there are some jobs that are still limited to location. There’s little need for crab fisherman in Nebraska. Having an idea of where you want to live is another important factor that too many people neglect when exploring what job might be right for them.

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If you’d like to work in the fashion industry or as a lawyer, there’s a good chance that living in a bustling urban environment such as New York, Miami, or Chicago is in your future. If you have an interest in the outdoors and environmental conservation, you’re probably going to find more jobs in rural areas.

10. Will the Money Match up With Your Personal Needs?

Ah, the money question. Obviously, this is one question that can’t be ignored. Money shouldn’t be the main factor when deciding what job you have, but it is definitely is a factor to consider.

Do a little research on the average salary for a particular job and then ask yourself if it’s enough for you to comfortably live on.

How much money we need to live comfortably often changes as our lives progress, so take career growth and the money that comes with it into consideration.

Final Thoughts

There’s no secret formula for finding what sort of job you should have other than exploration. Just like finding the right life partner, you simply have to see what’s out there and what’s a good match.

It will likely take some time and self-reflection, but by carefully examining your own personality, needs, strengths, and interests, you’re that much more likely to provide a good answer when you start asking “What job should I have?”

More Tips on Finding the Right Job

Featured photo credit: Nik MacMillan via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the Senior Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, a national law firm based in Canada

What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out How to Achieve the Career Success That You Want How to Prioritize Work When Everything Seems Important 9 Reasons Why Motivation Matters in Leadership How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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