This year, 21 percent of all U.S. workers will try to snag a job they love to do. Most will fail. Here’s how to tilt the odds of success in your favor.
You’ve had it up to here with your job and it’s time for a change. You want to snag a job you love, but you have no idea how to do it. If it’s any comfort, you’re not alone. According to Gallup research, more than 70 percent of Americans are unhappy, uninspired and disengaged with their current jobs.
Fantasizing about a better job is waste of time. You need a strategy. It’s possible to find a job that satisfies both you career and personal goals, but it’s going take patience, introspection and effort.
5 Steps to Snag a Better Job
The key to finding a job you love is balance. Simply following your passion won’t necessarily lead to career success. In fact, changing directions and pursuing a career based exclusively on interests or hobbies can sometimes be financially and personally devastating.
Instead, you’ll need to consider a wide range of factors as you begin your quest to snag a job that’s better than the one you have right now.
1. Take a closer look at the things that interest you.
Although personal interests aren’t the only factor, they definitely play a role in career satisfaction. But it’s not about finding a job that is directly related to the things you do in your spare time. For example, suppose you’re an avid golfer. Mowing lawns at a country club or working the counter at the local driving range may not be smart career move, especially if those positions don’t align with your skills or salary requirements. A better approach is to consider the industries or positions that could continue to pique your interest and challenge you over the long term.
2. Evaluate your skills and qualifications.
It’s one thing to have a desire to snag a different job. Being qualified to do that job is something else entirely. Fortunately, there’s a good chance that at least some of your skills can translate to positions outside of your field. As you consider new positions or industries, think about how your existing skills and qualifications could be leveraged in discussions with potential employers. If there are skills you lack, explore educational or on-the-job training opportunities that could bridge the gap and make you more competitive.
3. Understand what motivates you.
It’s critical to understand the motivations behind your desire to make a major career change. Ask yourself why you hate your current job so much. Is it a lack of advancement opportunities? Low pay? Or is it the nature of the work itself? For many people, the motivation for changing jobs is more pay and greater responsibilities. But for others, salary and advancement aren’t nearly as important as the personal satisfaction that is achieved from work activities.
4. Find a mentor.
If your strategy for snagging a job you love involves changing industries, a mentor can be an invaluable resource for navigating new terrain. In the event that a formal mentoring relationship isn’t possible, consider reaching out to a handful of industry veterans who are willing to talk with you about job requirements, career expectations and the day-to-day realities of working in the field. Mentors are your first industry contacts, so don’t hesitate to ask them for referrals and other types of assistance.
5. Start networking.
Networking may be the single, most important thing job seekers can do when they attempt to transition to a new field. Although you may have a presence and reputation in your current field, you’re a complete unknown to the influencers and employers you’ll need to impress to make the transition. Start attending industry events and talk with as many people as you can, even if it means taking the initiative and introducing yourself to total strangers. It may feel awkward at first, but you may be surprised how quickly new opportunities will present themselves.
Charting a new career path takes time, so don’t be discouraged if it takes several months (or longer) to make headway. With a little effort and a commitment to not settle for the first opportunity that comes down the line, it’s possible to snag a job that provides the personal satisfaction and career growth you crave.