Sometimes life throws us in the deep end, and we find ourselves facing an ambiguous choice. This has happened to us before, is happening and may happen in the future also.
The more unpredictable the outcome, the harder the decision-making process, and in uncertain times, we tend to want to stay within our comfort zone, rather than look to take chances.
For many of us, choosing or changing careers is one of these ambiguous moments. Whether you’re looking for a career change, have been recently laid off or embarking on your first job path, making the “right” choice can be overwhelming.
If you feel uncertain, you’re far from alone, especially with the current situation. As an expert in Talent Acquisition, I regularly speak with candidates about their future and career paths, and what I’ve found is that even decisive candidates can be vague about what they want from their jobs.
So, how can you develop personalised career goals? What’s the best way to uncover a suitable career track? Well, I’ve got a trick up my sleeve! But before we go through it together, I’d like to help you keep your options open.
Open mind, open scope
To lessen uncertainty, you may want to rule out some potential careers. And whilst this makes sense, it’s important to recognise that your perception of a job can be far from the reality.
And yes, a misconception can lead to disappointment. But the opposite can also happen. Imagine picking up a job as a way of getting by, only to discover that it’s rewarding and worth persuing.
Take sales, for example. There’s a common misconception that it’s all about hitting arduous targets. However, the Harrison Assessment outlines that many personality types are perfect for sales. If you’re outgoing, persuasive and optimistic, sales could be an incredibly rewarding career path for you.
So, whilst identifying suitable jobs is important, it’s equally important to keep an open mind. You never know; a perfect job could be within an entirely new field.
So, you’re seeking direction, but don’t know where to start? When candidates are faced with this dilemma, I always suggest the Myers Briggs test.
This online personality analyses responses against 4 core areas, and 16 personality types. What’s more, the test is responsive to dynamic shifts in your personality. So, while you may have received a certain result one year ago, retaking the quiz could reveal new ways in which you’ve grown and developed.
Overall, the Myers Briggs test is a dynamic, accurate and telling assessment. So, if you’re looking to better understand your motivators and natural way of being, this assessment is a fantastic place to start. From there, it will be easier for you to find a compatible career path.
To help you understand your personality type (and the compatible career paths), I will assist you in analysing your preferences.
Introversion versus extroversion
I’m sure you’ve been asked many times whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. For some people, it’s an easy choice, but for most of us, it’s difficult to choose one way or the other.
It’s hard to choose because the introvert/extrovert dichotomy reflects a tired and outdated view of personality. Personality traits exist along a continuum, and the vast majority of us aren’t introverts or extroverts—we fall somewhere in the middle.
As it turns out, two-thirds of people don’t strongly identify as introverts or extroverts. These people (a.k.a., the vast majority of us) are called ambiverts, who have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. The direction ambiverts lean toward varies greatly, depending on the situation.
“Personality traits exist along a continuum, and the vast majority of us aren’t introverts or extroverts—we fall somewhere in the middle”
If you think that you might be an ambivert, but aren’t certain, check out this quick questionnaire. You might be surprised by the result.
What is for certain is that regardless of where you fall on the introversion/extroversion spectrum, it is important to better understand it, so as to develop a better sense of your tendencies, play to your strengths and most importantly, find out where you source your energy from. Allow me to explain.
Extroverts find their energy in the people around them. So, if you’re an extrovert, you’re likely to prefer working in roles which require a lot of collaboration and team work.
By contrast, introverts find energy within. As such, independent development comes naturally. If you’re an introvert, roles which entail working alone could be suitable. Such roles require initiative, independent decision making, and self-management.
Then again, you might be an ambivert, someone who pulls their energy either from within or from others depending on the situation. This is an interesting one as trying to figure out what “feeds” your passion and energy will be an exercise in itself. But definitely worth the effort.
Whatever it may be, it is well worth thinking about to truly understand where you will thrive. There are very few jobs that suit only one type of personality.
For example, despite common misconceptions, introverts can be just as successful in leadership roles. In fact, a number of studies have identified “several leadership situations where introverts tend to outperform extraverts.”
So, once again, it’s important not to rule out certain jobs and to remain open minded to the many possibilities that are available to us.
Top career motivators
When embarking on your career search, it’s a good idea to have your top motivators in mind. Why? Because it will help you identify careers which will continue to inspire you.
When it comes to motivators, a sense of purpose is something that inspires many of us. Yes, you read correctly. Not compensation, not status, nor power.
The idea of contributing to something meaningful can play an essential role in connecting us to what we do. And it’s all completely subjective. Your perception of “meaningful” will be entirely different from that of others’.
Motivation can also be found through striving for targets, KPIs and OKRs. If you believe you’re inspired by such goals, then target-orientated careers may be suited. However, highly target-driven environments can have competitive workplace cultures with unrealistic expectations. For this reason, you may choose to opt for a visionary led business, where all aspirations have a meaningful purpose.
Navigating new opportunities
Choosing a career path is far from a straightforward choice. Throughout this series, we have discussed multiple factors to be considered, such as the job’s location, it’s salary, and the company culture.
Whilst all of these factors are important, choosing a job you enjoy is surely one of the most important aspects. After all, doing what you love is a sure recipe for long-term success, no matter the job!
And the only way to truly find such opportunities is by getting to know yourself, inside out. By understanding the ins and outs of what makes you YOU is the key to long term happiness, may it be at work or otherwise.