You always hear it: “follow your passion,” as if there’s this exclusive club of people who are fortunate enough to be doing exactly what they were put on this earth to do. They’ve found the illustrious Dream Job, and it’s brought them more fulfillment than you could ever dream of. … What about you? What if you don’t know exactly what your passion is, or how to translate it into a career? Here are five steps to help get you there.
1. Identify your interests
a) Looking back from elementary school to now, what have been your recurring interests? What clubs did you join, how did you use your volunteer time, what classes did you take and most enjoy? Write them down.
b) What do you spend most of your time doing, and where? What do you Google most often, and what online communities are you a part of? Write them down.
2. Identify your strengths
What are all the jobs you have done, and what did you enjoy most about them? What did your coworkers, bosses, and customers (if applicable) say about your performance? Write them down.
Align what you have done with what you are good at and most enjoy. Cross everything else out.
3. Find your people
Start looking for people with the same interests as you. What local communities do you participate in? Talk to the people in them, find out what they do and how they got there, and ask for advice. Tell them what you’re good at and most enjoy doing. Often we overlook talking business with the people at the gym, at a beer event, at a yoga retreat, in your book club. However, these are the people who are most likely to help you. Even if you don’t find a job, you might find a new friend.
4. Network with a mentor
Once you have an idea of your interests, where you like to spend your time, and your particular skill set, start looking for similar kinds of people on LinkedIn. Look for people in a position you’d love to be in five years from now or less, and spark a conversation with them. Buy them a coffee. Find your mentor.
5. Stick with it
Remember that landing your dream job doesn’t happen overnight. Start identifying what you most like to do in every job you do. Find and create value for yourself and for your company, no matter the job. If you want to expand your skills and try something new, ask. Volunteer on the side at places you want to be. Keep looking for patterns in the things you’re good at and enjoy, and never quit.
Most people in the Dream Job realm worked hard to get there, and it may have taken a while for them to realize how to fuse their passion with their career destination. So keep at it.
If this article got you thinking about your strengths in a different way, then I’ve done my job! Let me know your thoughts by tweeting me @ccprmaven.