A plethora of people simply say that their goal or passion is to “help people.” However, every single job helps…someone….to do something. The real question is — who exactly do you want to help? With what? Why? Where? How? These are questions that may take some time to clarify, but once you do, then you can figure out a career path that is specific and fitting to you, rather than quoting your passion in a broad and generic fashion. By answering these questions, you can then figure out what exact role should you play in this world!
So how do you get more specific with identifying your ideal career path?
Many folks don’t know this but “career exploration” is a distinct process (separate from and prior to job search) that includes practical steps you can take to reach an outcome of finding and feeling a sense of confidence and clarity in which career path is right for you.
Tell me more.
The process isn’t a quick one, it may take a few weeks or months. It requires a commitment to the journey of exploring options, learning deeply, reflecting often, being fluid and malleable to narrow in deeper, until you reach out a point of feeling certain about the optimal path.
What are the steps in career exploration?
Reflect: You want to start by being as open-ended as possible, to give yourself the benefit of the doubt — the world is your oyster, so lets figure out where you fit best in it. Don’t start by closing yourself out of options before knowing what your options are or what would be right for you. You can take a career assessment of your choice, or check out our interests-based reflective assessment at iamwoken.com.
Get Options: Once you do that, you’ll want to translate your initial interests into relevant options for roles and industries. Remember this is just a starting point! Your learning process may lead you to an entirely new outcome, one that wasn’t on your initial list of options.
Learn: Now, you can dive in and deeply learn about each role and each industry. You’ll want to do online research, host networking/informational calls to learn more, and also check out “experiential learning” opportunities to dive headfirst into these roles and industries and see firsthand what is a good fit for you (online courses, certifications, shadowing, volunteering, independent projects, freelancing, webinars, etc). Your main goal is to figure out what you need to know to feel that you have an accurate picture of each role and industry.
Compare, Contrast, Prioritize and Reflect: As you learn, see how you feel based on what you’re hearing. What sounds good? What sounds not good? Did you learn about new roles or industries? Do you have any you can cross off the list? When you have career options, they have differences. What are those differences and what do they mean for you? Which is better and worse and why?
Continue until Clear: This process may only take a few weeks or months, but I have never seen a client try the process and not find clarity. Remember,
Learning + reflection → clarity
Reap the Rewards: By doing this process before you actively apply for any roles, it will actually make your job search more efficient and effective in successfully finding you a fitting role, and will be the best odds of landing you into a role that is on a broader career path you’re excited to pursue.