Landing your dream job is about more than a polished resume and a freshly pressed suit. While some people may luck into a truly fulfilling career, others need to do the personal work necessary to understand what they like to do, what they are naturally good at, and how they will turn their dreams into a reality. If you’re feeling stuck in your career, have recently been laid off, are looking to return to the workforce from a leave, or perhaps are just starting out, take the time upfront to determine your Career Identity.
1. What do You Want from Your Career?
Through reflection, reading, podcasts, online exercises and/or working with a career coach, look inside yourself to uncover your passions and talents. Take the time to take stock of the expectations you have for your (next) career. Are you looking for fast-paced, exciting role in a work-hard-play-hard environment? A flexible, low-stress team-based role? Are you looking to be very social at work? Or really flex your brain muscle?
What does your life outside of work look like with your ideal career? Are you home by 5:00 to make dinner? Are you travelling across the country? Are you starting at 11:00 and leaving at 7:00, instead of a typical 9:00 – 5:00?
2. What Kind of “Person” Are You?
Next, try doing some psychometric tests to see what kind of person you are innately. There are many different types of questionnaires, tests and quizzes out there aimed to measure your personality, aptitude and interests. Are you an ‘ISTJ’? Do you have a “Blue” personality? Or Are you an Energetic-Driver? Then more importantly, do these test results match-up with your dream career, or do they seem at odds.
3. Take a Dose of Reality
Based on your learnings from the first two steps, start thinking about the real world. Based on your geography, age, family status, and financial situation – among other factors – which of these career options are realistic for you?
4. Make a List and Check it Twice
By now you will have an understanding of what your career path looks like. Do some investigating to see what companies you could work for and if/when/how they are hiring. What do you need to do to make contact with those organizations? Who do you need to speak to? What special certifications or courses do you need to be eligible for employment?
5. Give Your Application Package a Facelift
Now it’s time to dust off your resume (whether the traditional or maybe even a video), create a compelling cover letter and introduction and ensure that you look as good on paper as you do in person. Practice your interview skills, learn to articulate your value and make sure you’re prepared for whatever your potential employers could throw at you in a job interview situation.
Determining your Career Identity and building a roadmap that will guide you to a fulfilling career, and ultimately a happy life, is an integral step if you are looking for a new role in today’s workplace. While it is more work than hopping on Monster.ca and blasting out your resume, working with a Career Coach can help to streamline the process and ensure you’re taking the time to truly reflect and internalize the “stuff” that may come up throughout these steps. Having a cheerleader, guide, devils advocate and coach all rolled into one can help you achieve your goals and start off this new stage in your life with a bang.