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6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Career

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6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Career

Getting a job is not the goal.  Finding the perfect career is.

Millions of people in the world are unhappy in their jobs.  Why?  They have limited options.  They are afraid to change.  They have chosen careers that are not a good fit for their talents, or careers about which they are not passionate.  But you can avoid those pitfalls and take charge of your work life.  Here are 6 steps to finding the perfect career.

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Step 1: Create options

If you want the perfect career, you have to know what you want, and what you don’t want.  This requires options.  Luckily, many ways to create options exist: gain expertise through online classes or seminars, grow your connections by joining networking groups, update your resume and post it to several job boards, hire a career coach.  Any or all of these will increase your visibility and expertise, and therefore the number of potential options for your perfect career.

Step 2: Don’t be afraid to change

Most people start out with an idea about what their perfect career might be, and most people end up in a career that is different than the one they considered first.  That’s OK.  College majors are not life sentences.  If you didn’t find the perfect career the first time around, you can still create it.  Consider ways to use your major differently.  An education major might be useful because of its emphasis on planning; an accounting major might save you the expense of hiring someone else to balance the books for your entrepreneurial venture.  It’s all about reframing.

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Step 3: Know what you’re made of

It is impossible to find your perfect career without understanding yourself.  Take assessments.  Know your strengths and weaknesses.  Discover your passions.  Understand your motivations.  Your perfect career is not the same as someone else’s perfect career, and the more you know about what you’re made of, the easier it will be to determine the right fit.

Step 4: Define your non-negotiables

Does your perfect career require work/life balance?  Does it require a certain income level?  Does it have a high degree of autonomy?  Do you want to manage others?  Make a wish list for your perfect career, and decide what is absolutely essential versus what would be nice to have.  Refuse to compromise on the essentials.  Your perfect career is not just good enough; it’s perfect.

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Step 5: Interview jobs; don’t let jobs interview you

When you know what you’re made of, and you’ve defined your non-negotiables, use them to decide whether or not a role is right for you.  Interview prospective employers and screen potential jobs.  Will this job fuel your passion in 6 months?  6 years?  60 years?  How will it allow you to contribute in a meaningful way?  Do most of the responsibilities line up well with your strengths?  Will you have help in areas of weakness?  If not, it might be better to look elsewhere.  Have the confidence to say, “My perfect career is out there, and this is not it.”  Employers look for people who know themselves well and carry themselves with confidence.  If the fit for one role is not ideal, they might approach you with another that would be better for you.

Step 6: Be patient

Sometimes the perfect career is developed, not found.  Most people don’t start their careers with a very high income or an opportunity to manage others.  Often, specific experiences are necessary prerequisites for the perfect career.  If you have a job that affords you these experiences, it might be worth remaining patient in order to have more options later.  Also, never take a job just to have one.  It’s true that sometimes beggars can’t be choosers, but this is about finding the perfect career, not just finding a job.

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The perfect career is out there.  Have the courage and patience to find it.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2021

20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

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20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

“Please describe yourself in a few words”.

It’s the job interview of your life and you need to come up with something fast. Mental pictures of words are mixing in your head and your tongue tastes like alphabet soup. You mutter words like “deterministic” or “innovativity” and you realize you’re drenched in sweat. You wish you had thought about this. You wish you had read this post before.

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    Image Credit: Career Employer

    Here are 20 sentences that you could use when you are asked to describe yourself. Choose the ones that describe you the best.

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    “I am someone who…”:

    1. “can adapt to any situation. I thrive in a fluctuating environment and I transform unexpected obstacles into stepping stones for achievements.”
    2. “consistently innovates to create value. I find opportunities where other people see none: I turn ideas into projects, and projects into serial success.”
    3. “has a very creative mind. I always have a unique perspective when approaching an issue due to my broad range of interests and hobbies. Creativity is the source of differentiation and therefore, at the root of competitive advantage.”
    4. “always has an eye on my target. I endeavour to deliver high-quality work on time, every time. Hiring me is the only real guarantee for results.”
    5. “knows this job inside and out. With many years of relevant experience, there is no question whether I will be efficient on the job. I can bring the best practices to the company.”
    6. “has a high level of motivation to work here. I have studied the entire company history and observed its business strategies. Since I am also a long-time customer, I took the opportunity to write this report with some suggestions for how to improve your services.”
    7. “has a pragmatic approach to things. I don’t waste time talking about theory or the latest buzz words of the bullshit bingo. Only one question matters to me: ‘Does it work or not?'”
    8. “takes work ethics very seriously. I do what I am paid for, and I do it well.”
    9. “can make decisions rapidly if needed. Everybody can make good decisions with sufficient time and information. The reality of our domain is different. Even with time pressure and high stakes, we need to move forward by taking charge and being decisive. I can do that.”
    10. “is considered to be ‘fun.’ I believe that we are way more productive when we are working with people with which we enjoy spending time. When the situation gets tough with a customer, a touch of humour can save the day.”
    11. “works as a real team-player. I bring the best out of the people I work with and I always do what I think is best for the company.”
    12. “is completely autonomous. I won’t need to be micromanaged. I won’t need to be trained. I understand high-level targets and I know how to achieve them.”
    13. “leads people. I can unite people around a vision and motivate a team to excellence. I expect no more from the others than what I expect from myself.”
    14. “understands the complexity of advanced project management. It’s not just pushing triangles on a GANTT chart; it’s about getting everyone to sit down together and to agree on the way forward. And that’s a lot more complicated than it sounds.”
    15. “is the absolute expert in the field. Ask anybody in the industry. My name is on their lips because I wrote THE book on the subject.”
    16. “communicates extensively. Good, bad or ugly, I believe that open communication is the most important factor to reach an efficient organization.”
    17. “works enthusiastically. I have enough motivation for myself and my department. I love what I do, and it’s contagious.”
    18. “has an eye for details because details matter the most. How many companies have failed because of just one tiny detail? Hire me and you’ll be sure I’ll find that detail.”
    19. “can see the big picture. Beginners waste time solving minor issues. I understand the purpose of our company, tackle the real subjects and the top management will eventually notice it.”
    20. “is not like anyone you know. I am the candidate you would not expect. You can hire a corporate clone, or you can hire someone who will bring something different to the company. That’s me. “

    Featured photo credit: Tim Gouw via unsplash.com

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