Maybe a milestone birthday is on the horizon…a relocation is in your future…or you’ve spent ages in the same role. All of these and more may spur you to explore a new career path.
What is career exploration? Simply put, it’s evaluating different career options based on your interests and skills. For a lot of people, career exploration can seem daunting. They like the idea of venturing in a new direction, but they don’t know how to explore and choose. Keep reading to discover 5 steps that will make career exploration easy and fun!
1. Get to know yourself through someone else’s eyes
Do you ever get stuck when you’re asked to think about your own strengths? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Discovering your strengths is critical to understanding which career(s) to explore. Asking someone who really knows you is a great way to gain a new perspective into yourself.
Ask friends, family, and co-workers for 5 words that describe you. Then, ask them what they most appreciate about you, and what is one tangible benefit you have brought to their lives. Not only is this a fun and highly self-gratifying exercise, but it will also give you insight about what you do for others, thereby helping you understand your purpose.
2. Take a trip down memory lane
Think back to your childhood and bring to mind any significant incidents. What did you get in trouble for? Did you excel at something in particular? How did teachers describe you to your parents? Look at your old report cards. Revisiting the past can provide you with a goldmine of information and help you learn a forgotten side to yourself.
3. Take a career assessment
A career assessment is a great way to match your interests and skills. There are several available, both paid and free. The O*Net assessment is a free assessment tool that allows you to pick your interests and suggests “job families” that may suit you. Alternatively, the MBTI assessment is a personality assessment that not only gives you insight into your personality, but also suggests which jobs you are best matched for. Ask your IMPACT Group Career Coach about these invaluable tools.
4. Craft a virtual career fair for yourself
Career fairs are great avenues for meeting experts in a particular field or connecting with companies you want to work for. But what if you could create your own virtual fair for yourself? Think of 5 roles that interest you and look for people in your network who are in those roles. Set up phone calls or interviews with them to understand what they do. Ask them what they like and dislike about their roles, then delve into the skills and experiences required to fulfill them.
This step will give you a better idea of the careers that interest you. Plus, it’s a fun way to reconnect with people in your network.
5. Do something out of the box
Sometimes we are stuck in a rut and unable to think clearly about what we want to do. This may just be the best time to get innovative and do something diametrically different from our ordinary lives. If you work in finance, spend a day with your sales team and vice versa. Ask to work on something outside of your job description. Volunteer at a local organization or school. The idea is to do something so different that it plants new ideas within you. You will come away with new insights about yourself.
Remember that this is an exploration – and explorations can be a lot of fun with the right attitude. Think of it as a treasure hunt: who knows what you will uncover! In this case, it may be an entirely new career path.