Discovering what you love to do is difficult. But that’s because the answer is usually right in front of your nose and you can’t see it.
I recently met a woman who said, “I know it sounds frivolous, but I just want a job that I love doing.”
There’s nothing frivolous about this.
You can have a job you love doing — or at least a job you like a lot if you use talents you enjoy, or work with people you enjoy, or do work that aligns with your purpose.
There are nay-sayers out there who believe a job is a job and love has nothing to do with it. Or those that say a job is what you do to pay the bills. I’m not disagreeing. You may not LOVE every job you hold, but wouldn’t it be nice to find one?
Identifying what will allow you to love your job seems harder than it actually is. The truth is, the answers are right in front of your nose and you can’t see them.
The secret to uncovering what’s next is taking action. Don’t just think about it, do something.
How To Find A Job You Love
Here are some things you can do to get closer to figuring out what’s next.
Make A List
Think about the times in your life you felt happy. What were you doing? Keep thinking and write them all down.
Recalling moments you were happy (at work or outside of work) will help you identify what you enjoy doing. You were probably using skills that come so naturally to you, you’ll overlook them.
“If you can’t think about what you want to do, start a list of what you aren’t interested in and don’t like to do,” says career coach Shelley Piedmont. “That can be a jumping-off point when you are stuck.”
Be True To Your Values
Your values play an important role in how much you love your job. You don’t often think about these things and they can change based on the point of life you are in or recent changes.
Your values also help you make hard decisions.
Author and storyteller, Brene Brown, created a values worksheet to help you identify your top values and the behaviors to support them. You can find it here.
Do you know what makes you feel fulfilled? And do you know how you like to be rewarded?
Ed Han, a recruiter and job seeker advocate says “I would say that it’s essential to understand what is it that makes you feel rewarded for accomplishing something at work.”
To get to the heart of this, think about times at work you felt rewarded or fulfilled. What were you doing? And did you receive recognition?
Look For Recurring Themes
Wait a day or so and then review the list and look for re-occurring patterns or themes.
Think about: What skills were you using? What problems were you solving? What types of people were you helping? What types of people were you working with? Why were these moments fulfilling?
When you see some of these patterns, write down your findings. Writing it down helps make it real and helps remind you of what you are looking for.
Enlist Help From Others
Reach out to past colleagues you worked with, volunteered with or went to school with and ask them what they think your strengths are.
These people can easily identify your best qualities. All you need to do is ask.
While you are having these conversations, go ahead and ask them for their ideas about what they see you doing next (jobs or organizations).
Take An Career Assessment
There are many assessments out there to help you match your skills, personality, and interests with occupations.
One free assessment that aligns with your interests is O*NET Interest Profiler; Because this ties back to the occupation data in O*Net, it’s easy to review the results and detailed information for occupations that interest you the most.
Gina Riley and other career coaches recommend a paid assessment, such as YouMap®.
Riley says “There are all kinds of coaches using this tool. Leadership, careers, nutrition, business … you name it. The tool is super adaptable.”
YouMap® costs $129. Though this includes valuable insights and actions, I highly recommend working with a coach to debrief your results so you truly understand what they mean and how they apply to your job search options. Consult this list of certified YouMap coaches.
One more resource is Alison Doyle’s Career Tool Belt which has a list of Free Tests For Career Changers.
Conduct research on the occupations and jobs you may love. You can use O*Net to research alternative job titles, tasks, technology, wages and growth information, for occupations.
For example, if you were interested in Training and Development, O*Net lists these sample job titles: Computer Training Specialist, Corporate Trainer, Job Training Specialist, Leadership Development Specialist, Learning and Development Consultant, Learning and Development Specialist (L and D Specialist), Management Development Specialist, Trainer, Training and Development Consultant, Training Specialist
Next, use a job board like Indeed to see what jobs really sound like.
“Another step to advance towards finding a satisfying role,” according to Debra Feldman, “is talking to individuals who currently work or used to work in one of the positions identified.
Brainstorm With A Trusted Colleague
One way to help you make sense of your findings is to talk with someone you trust. Ask them what they see you doing next or review your list of findings.
You could even enlist the help of someone you trust and ask them how you could make money doing these things. Forging a new career path may involve starting your own business.
Start Your Job List
Make a new list of the job titles you’ve identified and been supplied with that seem most promising.
As Debra Feldman, a career coach, recommends “Another step to advance towards finding a satisfying role is talking to individuals who currently work or used to work in one of the positions identified.”
Look for people in your network who hold those roles or used to be in those positions and have an informational meeting with them.
This Is A Process of Self Discovery
This is about the journey mostly, not the destination. What will you learn about yourself in the process of trying to discover a job you love?
Now, more than ever, you want to find a fulfilling job, maybe even one you love. And that starts by understanding what you need.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.