A Strategic Approach to
One of Life's Biggest & Hardest Decisions
If you are:
- Just headed into college
- Currently in a career that is just not working out
- You are feel like your stuck and your back is up against a wall to make a decision about your career
- Or… you are finally at a point that you want to figure out a more fulfilling career you love
Then, you are not going to want to look past this 7 step guide to find the career you love.
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How to Find the Career You Love?
If I had to make a decision about how to find a career that I love today, I went back and made a 7 step strategy. It’s a strategic approach to one of life’s biggest and hardest decisions.
This strategy would have made achieving my goals of working at Apple and starting my own company much easier than it ended up being…
The Back Story to How I 'Fell' Into My Career
When I was in college, I had access to CareerBuilder.com through my high school and I used this to make my career decisions going into college.
I had gotten 3rd place in an Accounting competition, so I went off that and decided to take Accounting at first in college.
Full disclosure, I decided to smoke a little bit of weed, went into class, and didn’t participate much in the Accounting courses. The head of the Accounting department at the college was the professor of one of the classes I was in and I ended up with like a D and a C in the two Accounting courses I was in that semester – my first semester of Sophomore year.
So, I had to switch gears a little bit. I turned to an Internet Marketing major, but found out they really only had two basic Internet Marketing courses since it was newer and developing back then around 2008 (am I getting old?), so I switched again.
I had an Operations Management course, which was another new degree program at the business school. The professor took a logical approach to the course and allowed open book and open notes on all the exams. I then found out he taught most of the courses, so I switched my degree. These open note and open book exams definitely helped me get my GPA up from a 1.8 to a 2.63 GPA… I still don’t know how I graduated, as this GPA seems low. But, I wasn’t complaining!
With my backstory out there, let’s dive into the 7 steps to find the career you love today – how I would do it if I had to do it all over again.
7 Steps to Find the Career You Love
Step 1: Research Potential Jobs
- Research potential jobs around your interests, hobbies, or passions.
- Disregard everything besides one question “Would I absolutely love doing this?”
- Make a list of the different types of job titles, job types, or areas of work you think you might love doing.
- Use your imagination!
Step 2: Head to Glassdoor.com
- Your next single question to answer right now is: “How much money do you want to make?”
- Need vs want decision, but for this I would focus on how much you want to make – from a conservative view.
- On Glassdoor.com, begin searching through the different job types of specific jobs, overall professional areas, and other keywords to discover jobs and their income potential at different companies.
- Eliminate the options on your list that do not fit your income criteria.
- Add some options that you run across which you would both potentially love doing and have and income you desire.
Step 3: Further Review on CareerOneStop.org and BLS.gov
- Note about these websites: Although CareerOneStop.org and BLS.gov a government affiliated website, they do have a ton of insight on there.
- Type in one item on your list. This brings up a list of potential jobs related to your search.
- Click on a Job. You can see a brief description, a video, outlook on job growth or decline, general salary ranges, typical education and experience required, certificates and licenses that can help in getting a similar job, and more.
- Second Check
- I would use this as another check to see if the jobs remaining on the list fit your criteria of both being what you would love doing and has a salary range you want.
- Both websites provide various, sometimes different information, that should be used when slimming down your list.
- Outside the United States?
- These websites are located here in the United States
- Search for websites specific to your country to do this research step.
- Use these American websites as a reference, too!
Step 4: Head to LinkedIn
- Goal: Connect with other people on LinkedIn who are currently in the professions you have listed to get direct insights from people in similar positions and professions.
- First, Review Your Profile. Make sure your profile is well done before beginning to network, as you’ll be connecting with other successful professionals and you never know where a connection could lead beyond a light discussion about careers.
- Updating Your Profile. I have a FREE 10 Days to Build a Better LinkedIn Profile Course that will improve your profile beyond the majority of profile’s currently on LinkedIn, no matter your profession, industry, and experience level.
Step 5: Start Connecting
- Search. Start searching for people who are in the types of positions and professions on your list.
- Message. In your connection request message, mention that you want to connect with them to learn about their current position, as you are looking to begin a career in the same field.
- More Details on Messaging. There is a specific module in the FREE 10 Days to Build a Better LinkedIn Profile Course that covers messaging on LinkedIn. This is specifically for recruiters, but all of the principles remain consistent for how to message others on the platform when working to get information on careers and opportunities.
- New Connections. Understand that some will connect with you, and some will not.
- Messages Responses. Of those who do connect with you, some will message you back and some will not.
Step 6: Follow Up Messaging
- For those who accept your invitation but don’t message you back at first:
- Follow up with another direct message as soon as possible thanking them for the connection and ask one specific question about their company or the position.
- Start with one and make it relevant and specific.
- Too many people mess up this part and lay on too hard to their new connection, when they are doing a favor spending time sharing their insights.
- For those who accept and message you back:
- Review what they say. It can sometimes help you to adjust your message before sending it to more people depending on their response.
- Some will give you insight with open arms and give you too much information.
- Some you will have to pry the answers out of.
- For those who you have to pry answers out of:
- Start with the same method of sending a message with one specific question at a time, like you’ve done with the people who accept your connection request but don’t reply to your connection message right away.
- Continue with shorter, one question messages until they open up a bit more and get to know you.
- Some will stop messaging you all together…
Step 7: Get Insights to Make Decisions
- Continue connecting and messaging people in the various fields, positions and professions on your list to get good insight into these careers.
- Some questions I like to ask:
- What is a day in the life like?
- How many hours do they work per day or per week?
- Although a more touchy question, what is their rough pay?
- If possible, get a few people who are having a good amount of conversation with you onto a phone call to spend 20-30 minutes picking their brain over the phone.
Most people will have discovered a few careers they have identified they would love at this point. If you don’t, start over with doing research and follow the same 7 step process.
Bonus: Lay Out the Path Forward
- Narrow down to specific positions and specific companies you would want to work at.
- Review the job descriptions for various jobs around the field, profession, or specific positions you decided on.
- List out potential qualifications you may need to obtain, such as certain experience, education, license, and certifications.
- If you don’t quite yet qualify, work on obtaining the qualifications you lack from the list.
- Working on your online personal brand. With around 95% of recruiters now online, with most on LinkedIn, I would suggest making sure your profile is targeted toward getting in-front of these recruiters.
Learn the beginning process of how to do LinkedIn Personal Branding in the FREE 10 Days to Build a Better LinkedIn Course.
I hope this helps you to find the career you love so you can confidently choose your college major, make a career transition, or make that tough decision about your career. Getting insight from professionals using this strategic seven step process to find the career you love will truly change the way you approach making a career decision and decrease the ability for you to make a bad career decision.
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Join me for Careers Over Coffee Episode #14 next week, where I’ll be diving into How to Get a Job in a Recession.
If you didn’t know, a major recession happens roughly every 8-10 years and it’s been 11 years now since the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009. It’s coming, so let’s get ready!
I’ll see you next week!