These days it isn’t just college leavers who are asking the question “What job is right for me?” – It’s people of all ages, including those in their forties and fifties and even folk in the baby-boomer generation who are in their sixties and seventies. But how is it possible to know exactly what the right move is, whatever your age?
Choosing a job is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, and yet it’s one that you don’t get a lot of help with. Job choices are often made out of fear – fear of unemployment, fear of recession, fear of failure and quite frequently, those fears don’t belong to you, they belong to someone else.
Try starting from out from a positive place. Instead of looking for a job which will calm your fears or those of your family and friends, try looking for a job which will bring you happiness and fulfillment. Be willing to be open to new ideas, and you should be able to find a job which will give you both satisfaction and a decent wage.
Remember that the right job for you today is probably not going to be the right job for you in ten or twenty years’ time. People change as they gain experience and they start to want different things. And the workplace is undergoing vast changes at the moment too. You may have an idea of your ideal career. This could involve a “right job,” such as CEO of a company, becoming a cardiac surgeon or a university professor. However, if you are just out of college, that won’t be the right job for you now. So think regarding a series of “right jobs” leading to your ultimate career goal.
Build on existing skills and learn new ones. Which of the skills that you already have do you enjoy using? Could you develop them to a higher level or learn related skills? Is there a job out there which would allow you to do this? The right job for you now might be a stepping stone on the way to the last right job, even if it is in an unrelated field. So don’t consider only a career path which follows a linear and logical pattern. Look beyond the obvious, and you will see that many jobs can give you invaluable skills and experience which will enhance your career.
As you progress along your career path, build up a network of contacts. These are people who might be able to help you in the future, for example by giving you a reference, some good information or advice about a particular industry, work experience or even a job. Keep track of everyone you meet who has any connection, however tenuous; you’re your ideal career. Keep the relationship going, even if only by sending the occasional email or a card at Christmas.
Keep doing research. By keeping up to date with industry news and developments, you will be aware of new vacancies and opportunities. And you will be in a position to update your skills so that when you find the right job, you’ll be the right person to fill it.