1. Know yourself

Has it happened with you that after desperately looking for
something (e.g., keys) all over the place, you eventually
found it right in your pocket or drawer?

That’s exactly the case with finding a new career direction.
Usually, we try to search for a new career direction by
looking all around, for example, at hot jobs, emerging
fields, prestigious companies, friend’s career, what’s safe
and so on. Ironically, we fail to look for the answer where
it actually lies: inside us.

The secret of finding the right career direction is not to
look outside but to look inside. Know yourself and you will
automatically know the right direction for your career.

2. Dig deeper

Most people define themselves is terms of what they write in
their resumes. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. To really
know yourself, dig deeper and uncover your:

(a) Strengths
(b) Personality
(c) Values
(d) Interests

(a) Strengths

Your strength is what you do well and enjoy doing it. We
never fail to admire strengths in top athletes, painters,
writers, leaders but fail to ask “What is my strength?”

Strengths have a solid connection with a person’s career.
According to Peter Drucker, a person can only perform from
his strength. In other words, mediocrity is guaranteed if we
fail to use our strengths. So know your strengths and get
into a career that allows you to leverage your strengths to
the maximum.

Discover your strengths by asking:

– What am I good at and also enjoy doing?
– What makes me feel energized?
– What comes naturally and easily to me?

(b) Personality

Personality is the sum total of a person’s behavioral,
temperamental and emotional traits. For example, some people
are by nature extrovert and enjoy meeting other people. But
some people are born introvert and feel more comfortable
when left alone.

Studies show a direct link between a person’s personality
and his career. Indeed, if you are an extrovert person, you
would do well in roles such as sales, marketing, public
relations. But an introvert person would be better off in
roles that do not require public dealing.

To know your personality in detail and its implications on
your career, appear at personality tests such as Myers
Briggs Test Instrument (MBTI).

(c) Values

Values are what you consider important and valuable. Values
differ from person to person and can range from things like
money, prestige and power to more subtle things like
respect, harmony and independence.

Your values hint towards the kind of work that will suit
you. For example, if you value “achievement, “you would do
well in roles that regularly throw challenges at you.
Someone else, however, may value “helping others” and,
therefore, would do well in occupations that provide an
opportunity to serve others.

To know your values, ask yourself what is important to you,
make a list and prioritize the items. You can also use value
inventories on the Internet to identify your values.

(d) Interests

Should the work be interesting? Yes, for an important
reason: If your work arouses your interest, you are going
to do well. History shows that great achievers always pursued
what fascinated them. Akio Morita shunned the option of joining
the family business of sake brewing to pursue what he was
interested in: an electronics start-up. And he created Sony.

Doing the work that interests you can have a lasting impact
on your career. To uncover your interests, find out what
fascinates you and draws your attention.

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