Exploring the world of work involves a search for passion and purpose. How do we know if we are making the right moves to reinvent our professional selves? Here is a 4-step strategy to bring joy and clarity on the right choices.
Step 1: Know Yourself
It’s your job and your life. Knowing yourself comes first, especially in 4 areas:
What are you good at? Find out what are your skills, meaningful experiences and relationships transferable to new options. Assess if you have room to grow in your current company, or if it’s time to find a new path.
Find out how much time you spend on each core work responsibility. Bear in mind the variety of tasks you want to take or pass on, and the relationships you want to build.
Passion is critical in reaching your potential. When have you been happiest in life? What do you enjoy doing? What interests you in your career, leisure activities and family life?
Who is your most authentic self? Think back to a time when you were your best self. What did you love about these moments, what skills did you use? How much interaction do you need? Do you prefer being inventive or being practical? Personality and work assessments can help identify your interests and abilities, helping to narrow down your career fields. A reliable and often-used assessment is the CliftonStrengths Assessment which explains the ways you most naturally think, feel and behave, so you can develop and succeed based on your strengths.
Take the time to define what your values are. Many of us wish to make a difference, but this carries a different meaning for everyone.
Step 2: Explore The Ocean
The workforce is always in flux with an abundance of traditional and non-traditional career paths.
When reading up on industries, careers, and interviewing, look for a nonfiction book app such as Uptime, Blinkist, InstaRead that gives you key insights into each book. This gives you more knowledge in less time, in addition to Googling. You receive thousands of invaluable life lessons packed into concise knowledge hacks.
Do an informational interview with an industry mentor. This is someone in the field who has experience in the company or career path of your interest. In addition to using LinkedIn to reach out to connections, a more convenient option is to seek out a Career Guide at Young NTUC to receive mentorship and guidance. Young NTUC’s career coaches cover a range of 23 different industries, and possess a wealth of work experience. They have been fully trained to facilitate impactful conversations with mentees to help you understand the links between identity, purpose, and career opportunities and possibilities.
Students can try internships, summer jobs and volunteer work to gain experience.
At career and networking events, you can ask questions and form connections.
Step 3: Reality Check
Time to evaluate and prioritise! In reality, which choice will you be happiest with and would it be attainable?
What are the pros and cons of each field?
What skills, knowledge and experience do you need? Will you be interested enough to develop them?
How much adaptation is required? Will you be comfortable with it?
Be realistic and not get carried away with an illusion of your potential new job. No job is a perfect match; however, less desirable aspects can be kept minimal. Think about what you are the most dissatisfied with right now. Is it the industry, the everyday tasks, or the people you work with?
Keep in mind that a drastic career change may require an emergency fund or a backup plan. This will provide temporary financial safety.
Step 4: Take Action and Iterate
Develop the skills you need to accomplish your goals!
Consult a career coach to evaluate your decisions, fine-tune your resume and practice interviewing and negotiation skills. Young NTUC offers the LIT (Learning Is Triggered) Prep program where you can polish your resume and learn to tackle tricky interview questions with an experienced career coach. Sign up as an NTUC member you can enjoy receive a one-on-one resume review or mock interview. At just $27 for 4 months of mentorship, the coaching benefits are invaluable.
Gather grad school application materials if you are going back to school. A Google search will give you information on what you need for admissions.
Young NTUC has many career prep programs and resources that you can easily tap into to kickstart your career journey, regardless of whether you are an undergraduate or a working adult. Check out the full list of events here.
After testing the waters, evaluate and reflect on what you enjoyed, what you excelled in, and whether those tasks were related to people or to work. From there, narrow down to what you find most satisfying. Even after finding your ideal job, continue to have career-focused flexibility. Constantly refine your plans to identify opportunities coming your way.
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