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Get to know yourself

Like…REALLY get to know yourself. Here would be a good place to do that. Be honest and real about your skills and interests. An exciting, fulfilling career should be a mixture of doing what you’re good at and what you love.

Start by making a list of those skills that you slay, the things you really enjoy doing, and those skills or areas that you are not that keen on. Ask yourself:

What are your character traits that would appeal to an employer?

If you get stuck, review the Indeed list of the top qualities employers are looking for and keep in mind, there are tons of free online career aptitude tests that you can take to help determine those roles and careers that are best suited to your skills.

What are you good at?

What skills do you have and what jobs are you interested in? Tap into your past experience (uni clubs, part-time work, volunteering) to build your list. If you get stumped, ask friends or former colleagues what they see as your greatest skills.

Know the job market

You’re looking for a career where you can be happy for years so find out which sectors of the economy are poised for lasting growth. For example, LinkedIn has identified e-commerce, health care and digital content freelancing as three of the fastest-growing job sectors in U.K.

Explore jobs you’re never heard of

As part of your career exploration, assess the pros and cons of working in various sectors. For example, are they likely to offer a long-term career option? Explore those sectors with the greatest appeal, research the leading companies, and get familiar with all the roles they offer. You can:

  • Explore popular job boards like CV-Library, Indeed, and Adzuna to learn about types of jobs in different sectors.
  • Build a dream list of five to 10 listings that interest you. Do a deep dive into those companies and explore their values? How have they performed over the years? How do employees rank them on Glassdoor?
  • Reach out to your social network for intel. Talk to family friends and former colleagues. You never know where a potential opportunity may appear. If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes.

Tailor your search for the perfect fit

Now that you have a sense of what you are good at, where you’d like to work, and the type of job you want, consider honing your list down to a job or position that is your No. 1 choice, and also choose a backup. Now’s the time to explore:

  • Company culture
  • Job location
  • Starting salary
  • How quickly you can move up

Hands-on job hunting

There’s no substitute for one-to-one advice and most people are willing to share what they know. Visit career fairs, conferences and workshops to meet people who already have the job you think you want. Other ways to meet people and learn about opportunities include:

Job shadowing - Observing someone at their job in a field or role that interests you.

Interning – Testing a role to see it’s right for you.

Volunteering – Getting some on-the-job experience.

Sell yourself with a great CV

Job No. 1 to get Job No. 1 is to have a killer CV. Now that you’ve done your self-assessment, studied the job market, and identified your skills, write it down on a pithy, scannable CV.

Whether you’re looking for your first job, building your career, or seeking a new direction, the process is the same. It starts with you. Empower yourself and your search by building a bulletproof plan that lets you stay laser-focused on what you want to do and where you want to do it.

About the Author

John Ellis

John Ellis

Freelance Contributor

John is a freelance contributor for Moneywise.

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