Self-Exploration Before Job Exploration

If searching for a job is on your mind, don’t start exploring what jobs are out there before exploring what you want first. Oftentimes we are so eager to pursue another job that we jump headfirst into searching for jobs based on our current position or skill set and fail to really look at whether that job or career is really what we want.  The safe and comfortable path is to just keep doing what we are doing. But does that job really make us happy? If you’re putting in the time and effort to search for a job, make sure you know what you want first.

Here are 5 ways to better understand what you want before starting your search.

  1. Listen. What is your inner self saying? We tend to get so busy and consumed by our day-to-day tasks we fail to follow our intuition. Take the time to press pause on the daily rush of life and think about other jobs that spark your interest.
  2. Assess yourself. Take a self-assessment to understand what you like, what you find easy to do, what you are drawn to, what your personality strengths are. There are many available at no cost, consider reviewing the O*Net Interest Profiler or the 16 Personalities website. Manpower also offers a career assessment that helps you identify your strongest personalities and related jobs.
  3. Read. Some great books to help with your self-exploration are Finding your own North Star by Martha Beck, What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles or Life Reimagined: Discover Your New Life Possibilities by Richard J. Leider and Alan M. Webber.
  4. Think. Consider what makes you happy. What motivates you? Don’t compare yourself or your goals to others. There is no one else in the world like you so how can you be the best you? Start by writing down whatever comes to mind. Don’t think about the education needed or how much money the job makes. Just make a list.
  5. Explore. Do your research to explore different jobs and the typical career paths in areas you are interested in pursuing. Consider shadowing someone that is in a job you think is appealing. Or take a class online or at your local community college in the area you are interested in so you can start to get a feel for what is required in the job . This will help to narrow down what you like and what you don’t.

Knowing what you like and what you want in a job will help throughout your job search process. And when you get to the interview, you will be ready to answer questions related to your goals and interests.

Are there any other resources you have used and would recommend to others considering a new job?

Nancy Manley

About Nancy Manley


Nancy enjoys helping people find a job that makes them feel complete. She thrives on sharing information that helps candidates become successful employees and engaged workers.