7 Steps to a New Career

By: Molly Owens

If your job is leaving you feeling bored, frustrated, uninspired, or burned out, you're probably wondering what else is out there. Where can you find a career that makes you excited to get to work each day? Does your dream job really exist? It may seem overwhelming to try to find that perfect career, especially if you're feeling stuck in your current one, but if you start small and do some hard thinking, you'll find that a satisfying career is not so far out of reach.

1. Start positive. If you're dissatisfied with your current job, it may be hard to identify the elements you like about it. Most people, though, enjoy at least a few aspects of even the dreariest job. You may hate your boss but love your colleagues. Or maybe you believe in the cause you're working for, despite the dismal pay. Make a list of the things you like about your current job-these are your first clues about what to look for in a new one.

2. Think big. Now's the time to make a wish list. What characteristics would make a job perfect for you? Would it be flexible hours, a cooperative team, more responsibility? Maybe you'd like a chance to work in a creative or artistic setting, or the opportunity to show your leadership potential. Don't worry about whether these things are realistic or whether there's a job out there that fits the bill (not just yet!). Make a list of all the factors that you're looking for in a dream career.

3. Brainstorm. Compile a list of every job, no matter how farfetched, that you've ever thought you might like or be good at. Don't censor yourself; once you've got a good list going, you'll start to see patterns. Look for common factors in the jobs you've listed. Maybe your fantasy careers are all active, fast-paced physical jobs (like firefighter, forest ranger, and FBI agent), or they might involve caring for and helping others (nurse, teacher, counselor).

4. Test yourself. There are dozens of career tests on the market designed to help you discover your ideal career. While these tests range in quality, from novelty tests on free sites to scientifically validated tests provided only by psychologists, there are many excellent resources online. Look for a website that provides well-researched career assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Strong Interest Inventory, which will provide you with comprehensive information on appropriate careers for your personality type and interests.

5. Do some research. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a great resource for career searchers. Visit their website at bls.gov and click on the Occupational Outlook Handbook to view salary ranges, educational requirements, job descriptions, and growth projections for hundreds of careers.

6. Check with an expert. A career coach can help you further identify the elements of a career that will bring you lasting satisfaction. A knowledgeable coach can also suggest careers similar to ones you've come up with yourself, and help you decide which careers best fit your goals.

7. Start where you are. If it's not practical for you to completely retrain for a new career right now, think again about what's missing from your current job. Is there a different position within your current company that provides more of what you need? Could you keep your job title, but find a new company with a better work environment? You might even ask your boss about making changes in your regular responsibilities that would allow you to do more of what you enjoy. Changing careers is a major goal, and if you can start by taking gradual steps towards doing what you really want, you'll find that your efforts pay off quickly in greater satisfaction with your work.

Top Searches on
Careers and Job Hunting
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Careers and Job Hunting
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles