In an advertisement for university courses currently doing the rounds on TV,  one prospective student declares that it is time to find a career that she actually likes.

The ad reminds me of the multitude of surveys showing that so many people are disengaged from their jobs; working in careers they haven’t chosen; who feel trapped, and don’t know what to do about it. Often this leads to sagging confidence and energy; lack of clarity and certainty; and diminished creativity and resilience.

While everyone’s work and life circumstances are different, and no job is perfect (at least forever),  here are four key actions to take that will help you find a job you actually like, and head you in a career direction that really connects to your interests and aspirations.

First – take charge

You can’t adjust the wind; but you you can set your sails

Consider this: throughout your life, you will likely spend more time working than anything else other than (perhaps) sleeping. It therefore  makes a lot of sense to invest some time and attention to ensure you by and large feel good about what work you are doing and where you are heading. Actually your career will  ‘happen’ with or without your attention – it won’t stand still, nor will you.  Due to a range of circumstances, such as a change in the business, a change in your boss and how well you perform your job, your career will always shift about.  Despite these factors, you can largely control your career direction, but it does require your attention.

Second – know who you are and what you have to offer

To find a job you like, you need to understand and appreciate the values, interests, skills, experience and reputation that are uniquely yours and set you apart from others. Knowing who you are, what motivates you and what you have to offer, enables you to make informed decisions about what you are looking for. It means that you can position yourself much more confidently and clearly in the job market.

Third – find the opportunities

Once you know what your interests and skills are and the particular value you can bring to an employer, it is much easier to swing into job search mode.  Finding the right opportunities requires you to learn about the labour market and what opportunities and options are out there. You need to learn how to efficiently and effectively search for and find jobs; build your on-line profile;  write excellent job applications and prepare well for job interviews.

Fourth -plan, decide and act

A career without some degree of  future planning and goals, is a like a ship without a  rudder. You tend to drift around, falling into jobs, without any clear direction or compass to navigate the opportunities out there,  and to guide the decisions you make. Its important to think about your career vision, set sensible and achievable career goals and take action. 

When your plans and goals  take account of your  values and skills as well as the job and career opportunities that interest you most, you are well on the way to finding a job you actually like. Given that most people experience multiple career and job changes through their lives, you will also be much more prepared for when you want to change direction again.

Take a look at my  tip sheets for advice about how to future-proof your career and fast track your job search.

You can also send me a question   – it would be very cool to hear from you.

bye for now