6 answers

How do I know what sort of job suits me?

Updated Appleton, Wisconsin

I'm not sure if I'd fit best into a sit down job or one with lots of hustle, I do well in school sitting down all day but I also excel in work that has me up and moving
#job-search-strategies #career-advice #career-counseling #career-development

6 answers

Marca’s Answer

Updated Berkeley, California

Hi Kat, this is a great question and one that a lot of people ask themselves throughout their career! For me personally, I started out in retail because it was easy to get a job and I didn't feel like I had any family connections to draw on. I ended up working at Starbucks for 15 years and held a variety of jobs there. I did start to get burned out on managing people in that environment, so at that point I had to take time to reflect on what to do next.

Here's what I did:

  • Thought about the parts of my job that gave me a lot of satisfaction. You can do this with your personal experiences too. When do you lose track of time because you're so absorbed in what you're doing? Is it when you're solving a challenging problem? When you're working with other people? Working with animals? Working outdoors? Etc. (For me, the part of my job as a retail district manager that gave me the most satisfaction was helping people reach their potential, and also doing longer-term planning).
  • Took stock of my strengths. You can do this too - think about positive feedback you've received, think about what you've gotten good grades on, get a copy of StrengthsFinders and take their assessment to uncover your strengths. (For me, my strengths were in communication, research, and training)
  • Started talking to people about what they do and why they love it, to get a sense of what field to go into. A great starter question is "Why did you get into the line of work you are in now? And what's your career journey been like?" You can also go on Indeed or Glassdoor and read through some job postings to get an idea of what different jobs involve.

For more on how to explore your passions, strengths, and potential job opportunities, Quick video on that from Zenger Fokman here.

One other thing to say - self-reflection will only get you so far. There's no substitute for trying things out to discover what you're good at and what you enjoy. Volunteering or taking a different role that you usually do on school projects are good places to start.



Marca recommends the following next steps:

  • Take a different role than you usually would on a school project. If you're normally the follower, try taking the lead. Push out of your comfort zone to try out new roles. If you're a little uncomfortable, that's a sign of success! You're doing something new in pursuit of your goals.
  • Talk to a family friend about what they do for work, what they like about it, and how they got into that line of work.

G. Mark’s Answer

Updated

The best idea that occurs to me is for you to take a Personality Assessment Test. One of those is RIASEC. Look for some HR or employment counseling departments in local colleges for these.

What these tests do is they ask you a series of sometimes-odd-seeming questions to define your attitudes toward different sorts of activities. They then compare your profile to those of folks who are successful and happy in many different occupations. The idea is not to test your skill, but your potential comfort in those jobs.

These tests have been rather successful in spotting folks who are good candidates for various careers. I tell my students that you tend to be good at what you enjoy, and you tend to enjoy what you're good at. The end result of using these tests is that you can see what you're well-suited for emotionally, and other benefit from someone who is happy at what they do and do it well. You may find some surprises. For instance, my test 40 or so years ago said I'd be good at exactly what I've chosen to do, but I'd also have been a happy Park Ranger. I had never, ever thought of that, so it was an interesting surprise.

The test is fun. And entertaining. And potentially a boon to your life.

Ben’s Answer

Updated Berkeley, California

You won't truly know until you try. I would seek out an industry/function that both appeals to you and that you can you present a compelling story to the hiring manager as to why you believe its a good fit. Once in a job, frequently reflecting and challenging yourself on if its a good fit is a perfectly healthy thought process. Sometimes its clear when a role or company is not suited to your strengths or vice versa, sometimes its not quite so clear. If/when you do find yourself in a role you feel is not well suited for you, sticking around longer than you need to is doing yourself, your co-workers, and your company a disservice . Trust yourself and your prospects for finding a bigger better suited gig!

Andrew’s Answer

Updated Tampa, Florida

Depending if you plan on going to college or not, many colleges have a career service center where you can take a personality assessment test. If you decide not to go to college there are many sources online you can utilize such as MyPlan.com. I have taken many of these test and found them to be very close to my interest. Also, the only way to really know is through experience.

Col Sen’s Answer

Updated New Delhi, Delhi, India

Hello Kat,

Good question! At your level, actually very few are sure of what they would like to do or what they are made for? You might have experienced that as we grow our aims keeps on shifting from a particular field to another, one profession to another, but let me tell you that basic instinct remains the same. Possibly in later part of the life, you realize that you missed something big in life. You might achieve big position with lots of money in a particular field other than your heart there will remain a void lying deep in some corner. So at this stage it is better to find out for yourself that what is the area/field of interest which suits your psyche? Else you will end up experimenting with jobs and career and that is like an unending voyage to self actualization.

In my case, I didn't know that I am cut for teaching. As luck would have it, I was offered a job of teaching without applying immediately after my MS in a senior school. I was applying as well as getting calls for teaching assignments from home country as well as abroad but teacher's job appeared to me (in those days) boring! I got an offer for a scholarship for Ph.D in Physics from one of the foreign universities and something drastic happened, I left everything and joined military services. In military too, the system must have judged my skill sets and I was given the Education Corps but due to peer pressure I got it changed to telecom.

After joining telecom stream, I found that I had to do more of studying rather than teaching to remain competitive in my career (initial 10 yrs) and so I did my M.S in telecom as well. Let me tell you, although this decision was under peer pressure but it held me in good stead. I am sure you can make out that I enjoyed my military stint thoroughly and took part greatly in teaching and training assignments whenever opportunity came. Meanwhile, I completed my Ph.D work at ease before I hanged my boots to pursue a career in corporate. Now I devote full time in teaching/training. So the moot point is that life came to a full circle and I am where I was at the beginning!


Coming back to your question, how would you know that what are your interests and skills for a future life? Well, you should visit an 'Assessment Center' wherein you can get your interests, hidden talents etc assessed through a highly developed and scientifically proven systems to help you. Actually, I did that online just before writing this column and gung ho! the site actually gave me result within 10 minutes of test and I couldn't believe that they actually hit the Bull's Eye! Prior to visiting an Assessment center who would charge a fee, you may carry out a check online which is free. You will be asked few questions to answer (out of 5-6 choices) and they will tell you what you are made for. Remember: If you answer correctly, to the best of your knowledge and understanding, the assessment will be closer to the reality. All the very best!

Col Sen recommends the following next steps:

  • Please visit any of the Assessment Centers in Wisconsin .
  • Prior to that pl carry out online 'Self Interest' Assessment. It's Good. https://www.careeronestop.org/ExploreCareers/

Shana’s Answer

Updated

Volunteering is a great way. You can try various types of opportunities.