Know Your Personality
If you have no idea where to start, a good opening move is to sit down and look at what sort of person you are. That may sound obvious, but there’s a lot more to the question than just “what do I like”. Knowing more about yourself and your personality can help you understand what things you actually need from your future, what will make you miserable, and in what fields people similar to you end up feeling satisfied. Once you know all that, your options should narrow down enough to make everything feel more manageable.
Personality Profile Tests
To learn more about your personality, you can take a personality profile test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). These tests ask you a number of questions and then generate information about your ‘type’; for example, the MBTI sorts you into one of four basic types, and then one of four sub-types (meaning that there are 16 possible types total).
If you do choose to try taking a test, just remember that it’s not the label you are slapped with that’s important: rather, it’s the process of examining yourself in a deeper way than you may have tried before. At best, you may emerge with an understanding of what sorts of strengths and weaknesses you’d bring to a job/career, and you may find a specific list of good-fit fields that may inspire you to look in new directions (or help you know what to avoid). However, your results are not necessarily accurate or comprehensive, and your profile DOES NOT get the final word on what sorts of things you should be doing. If the process doesn’t spark any good ideas for you, just brush off whatever isn’t useful and fall back on your own assessment of your strengths/weaknesses.
If you’re ready to take a test, you can take an online version of the ‘Big 5’ Personality Test here. (If you’d like to know more about the differences between the two tests, hop over to this site for one assessment)., or an online version of the MBTI
Know Your Values
Instead of (or in addition to) test-taking, you can also take a look at the list below (original source here) and decide how important each of these values would be to you in a job/career. Far more than “what are your hobbies” or “what are you interested in”, these are the factors that will actively determine how happy you are with a job, so be as honest as possible in which ones are very important to you and which you don’t really care about. Then, you can start looking for jobs or career fields that would provide you what you need:
- Job security
- Opportunity for high income
- Helping others
- Reasonable Hours/Leisure Time (i.e. possibility for good work-life balance)
Other considerations may include the following:
- What level of stress are you comfortable with in a job?
- Do you prefer to work with groups or primarily alone? What level of interaction with others works best for you on a day-to-day basis?
- Do you have any physical or mental limitations that may need to be taken into account?
- What level of education are you willing to pursue for the sake of a specific job or career field? Do you have the time and means to pursue this education?
- Are you willing to move to follow job opportunities, or are you looking for jobs within a defined area?
Next Step: Goal Setting