Find Your Dream Career in 5 Easy Steps
Some of us know what we want to do from the very beginning, but the majority of us struggle to find what career path to take. No matter what career you choose, it’s never a straight road to get there. Here are 5 easy steps to remember along your professional journey.
Recognize Your Passion
If the career you have chosen just isn’t working out, think to yourself, why? Life may be pointing you in a different direction to something you will be even more passionate about. Work hard to find out what you like and what you don’t like, and identify what you’re good at. Some people may be holding out from their dream career because they are too scared to persue it, while others may realize their passion while in a completely different field.
Take Sarah Cutkomp, a 4th-grade teacher at Eastshore Elementary School, for example. Her day to day consists of collaborating with colleagues to provide the best learning environment for students. She admits, she didn’t know if this was always going to be her path. She says, “In college, I thought I wanted to be a social worker, and volunteered at a shelter for children and really gained a passion for children there. After a few months, I realized that I wanted to be in a profession with children, but I wasn’t sure if this was the right one for me.” After graduating from Cal State Fullerton, Sarah decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become a teacher. She earned a masters and credential at UCI. Cutkomp says, “I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.”
Take a look at the things that you are passionate about, and articulate that into the proper career that you know you won’t get bored of. Many young adults think they know exactly what they want to do, but don’t look at every career path that will satisfy their passion. Step one is looking at every possible path that you could take because you might change your mind.
There are so many resources to connect with working professionals like Linkedin, career fairs, and recruiters. Laura Holloway is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Sharp HealthCare, and she has been in this profession for the last 10 years. She says, “Finding a career – or any job, even – takes hard work and relationships. Volunteer for organizations you admire, join professional organizations, put yourself in situations where you’ll meet people. Get business cards and follow up with a friendly invitation to meet for coffee to learn more about that person.”
Join Programs & Take Advantage of Resources
Take advantage of all of San Diego’s resources, such as local job fairs in the area that are specific for your passion. Find out what industry you want to explore, and then do your part in researching. If you are passionate about Public Relations and Marketing, PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) is one of the many organizations that you can join, that host exclusive events for you to network. If you are more interested in business and sales, educate yourself on local businesses in the area by researching the San Diego Business Journal. San Diego is anything but short of resources.
Think of the Lifestyle that Comes With the Career
A lot of people have dreams of careers they think they are meant to have. There are a lot of factors that go into jobs that people don’t consider that you need to ask yourself. Think, “Can I sit at a desk for 8 hours a day?”, “Do I want a job that isn’t the typical 8-5?”, or “Do I want stability or to travel for work?”. These are the most important questions. You could think that you want a certain career, but once you think of everything it entails, it may seem less appealing to you. It’s your job to see all parts of an industry, even the bad parts.
Holloway says, “I’ve volunteered throughout my life, so a life and career of servitude has always been very important to me. For others, though, different things could be most important and those are completely valid. For anyone looking to take a leap or make a change, I always suggest sitting down and being very honest with yourself. Do you need to make a certain salary? Do you care about the structure of your team? What kind of a relationship do you want to have with a boss?”
Considering all of the little things that come with a career, including the lifestyle, will lead you to the job and company that you’ve always wanted.
Get a Mentor
In life, finding out what you like to do is a journey, and you’re allowed to change your mind in the process. You may realize you have bigger dreams that you are no longer scared to conquer, or you decided you want a career with a bigger salary and more stability.
Take the time to process what you are talented at, what works for you, and what career will satisfy all your wants in order to live a full life. Having a mentor or someone who is in the industry to ask questions to is extremely important. A mentor is someone who can share experiences with you while helping to steer you in the right direction to make you successful.
Holloway went to school in Los Angeles, and many of her classmates were focusing on PR jobs in the entertainment industry. She says, “I dabbled in a little of that – I had an awesome internship at Capitol Records in Hollywood (Ringo Starr is totally cool and Trisha Yearwood is so down to earth!) – but I was very close with my college adviser, Dr. Lori Baker Schena, who was a PR consultant to large health care systems in addition to teaching at the time. I learned a lot from her about how diverse, interesting and rewarding a career in healthcare PR could be – from crisis communications to building community outreach programs and more.”
Reach out to people, ask for advice, and learn from other people’s experiences. Your mentor will have knowledge about the industry you are interested in and can share with you the real day-to-day tasks that you may not have learned about from a job post.
Finding a career is a hard and life-long process. It takes hard work, dedication, and truly knowing how your talents can be used.
Holloway says, “If I could go back and tell my 25-year-old self one thing, it would be to worry a lot less about what everyone else is doing. Some people are going to find careers they love quickly, and others might move around, trying new things. Trust that you know what’s best for you and don’t be afraid to try and fail – it’s the best way to learn and grow.”
Everyone goes at their own pace, so don’t compare your career journey to someone else’s. We all have our success and failure, and how we react to both of these concepts, will help lead us to the career that we will strive in.