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I'm not sure what I should do. Mo.st people have trouble identifying the job they want. This may be because they don't know enough about different professions
to make a choice, they haven't devoted any thought to the subject, or perhaps they have too many alternatives open to them.
What job should I look for? You are the only one who could know. An open-ended approach to job-hunting
in which you ask an employer "What do you have?" or "What do you think I should be?" is:
Weak—For every position that you'd be "willing to try" there are a dozen applicants who see it as their ideal job.
Dangerous—They might tell you, and you might find yourself wondering what happened when you're stuck in the wrong career 20 years from now. You have to do some initial self-analysis
on your own.
Self-analysis is hard for me to do. Everyone hates to be analyzed and to look at oneself is even harder. Nevertheless, this activity is essential to making the rest of both more effective and easier. Without some thought, your objective will not be clear to you or to a potential employer, and it will be obvious that you need to further define your goals.
keep procrastinating. This activity gets harder to do the longer you wait. Start. Do anything to break the ice and get going. It could be writing your initial feelings and thoughts on the worksheet provided on pages 7-14. Right now. Take three minutes. Perhaps decide on important factors related to what job you want, such as: where you want to live; how long you can go without working (both financially and emotionally); and whether or not you want to continue your education, and if so, how soon? The longer you delay answering these questions, the less time you'll have for the job-hunting steps that follow. Procrastinating will seriously impair your chances of getting the job you want.
have no idea what I want to do. This is highly unlikely. Try listing those jobs you absolutely would not consider, or describe what you'd do if you could do anything—practicality and income requirements aside. Your ideal job. This should definitely be a written process. Writing allows you to be more objective, to add to the list at a later time, and to get a sense of progress in your efforts.
How else can I identify my ideal job? Investigate resources that list job descriptions and titles. Some of these resources are mentioned in the Appendix of this book. Take an inventory of your past and present experiences and interests:
What are characteristics of past work experiences that were positive?
What were your favorite courses?
What are your strengths?
What are your "musts" and "wants" in a job?
What skills do you have and enjoy?
What do you daydream about?
How do you picture yourself in the future—5,10, or even 20 years from now?
How do I decide between alternatives? If you have time, try each one. Trying might involve being an intern
, doing volunteer work or even focusing a research project on the area of interest. If you don't have time to experience each alternative environment, the next best thing would be to accumulate as much information as possible about each. Talk to people in those professions. What are their likes and dislikes? The major problems and frustrations they encounter? What excites them most in their day-to-day work?
Do I have to know exactly what I want before I start look-ing? Absolutely not. Preferably your choice should be tenta-tive and should serve to confirm it. You want to be clear and precise about your selection criteria but the specific job—even if ideally identified—should be a general category. Your objective is to show that you've thought about all this and have a firm, yet open mind!
Can't I decide while I look? One would think so, but this rarely works. You've got to do some of the initial thinking on your own to come up with at least a general idea of what it is that you want to do. Once you have that foundation, you have a base to work from which can be revised as you learn more about the opportunities in your chosen field. This way you will be less influenced by the first opportunity that comes your way, and will seek (and hold out for) what you really want to do.
Analysis Worksheet Which of your skills and abilities do you enjoy the most?
What are your primary interests and favorite pastimes?
What were your favorite college courses?
List some positive experiences you've had and the reasons you enjoyed each of them. What specific skills were you using?
What jobs do you daydream about? What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
What ivouldyour ideal job be like? Describe it from as many perspectives as possible Visualize yourself in it Who are you working with? How are you spending your time?
What are your criteria for selecting a position?
What strengths and experiences most qualify you for your idealjob?
What gaps in your experience, knowledge or skills need to be overcome in order for you to achieve your ideal job or career?
If your ideal job is not readily achievable, what jobs could you take now that would lead you in the right direction or get you into the appropriate environment?
To whom could you talk to obtain more information useful to your career planning?
On what other activities must you work to prepare for job-hunting and for your career?
What are your immediate and long-term career objectives based upon your analysis?