How to Find an Amazing Career

1
What Makes a Career Amazing?

Careers
A diversity of occupations. John Lamb / The Image Bank / Getty Images

What makes a career amazing? Is it the amount of money you make? Stability? Prestige? The actual job duties? The required training (or lack of it)? The teamwork? The independent work? The way it utilizes your skills? The answer is yes! And no! All these things could make a career amazing but not all of them do ... at least not for everyone. Another person's idea of an amazing career won't necessarily be yours. You should know that there's an amazing career for everyone.

2
Find Out Who You Are?

Assessment Test
Assessment Tool. (c) Stefan Klein / istockphoto.com

So you think you know yourself really well. Well, then, what is your personality type? What are your work-related values? What are your interests? Do you have any aptitudes? Huh? Why does any of this even matter? It matters because in order to find an amazing career, you need to know the answers to these questions. If you don't, it will be hard to discover whether a career is a good fit for you. If it isn't a good fit for you, it won't be amazing at all. Instead you will find going to work every day a burden. The best way to learn all about yourself is by doing a thorough self assessment. It is important to note that you must consider not just one aspect of a self assessment—personality, interests, values OR aptitude—but instead all of them together. Just because a career might be suitable for someone with your personality, it doesn't mean it correlates with your values, for example.

If you are wondering if it's possible to find an amazing career without doing a formal self assessment, it is. You do have to know quite a bit about yourself, though, and what you do and don't want in a career and what you will and won't like about it. Many people have picked careers they love and have done so in a very unscientific way. For example, they hear about an occupation from someone they know or read about one.

3
Learn a Lot About Any Career You Are Considering

A man researching occupations
A man researches occupations. Frank Herholdt / The Image Bank / Getty Images

One thing everyone needs to do no matter how they come upon a career is to gather information about it. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Consult reliable published resources. You can find descriptions of a variety of occupations in the Career Briefs section of this website. You should also use the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and O*NET OnLine, sponsored by the US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration.
  • Conduct informational interviews with people who are working in the occupation in which you are interested. They will be able to tell you things you won't be able to learn elsewhere.
  • Take a look at our readers' real career stories.

4
What Should You Do With All This Information?

A man weighing his options.
A man weighs his options to figure out what career is best for him. Paul Thomas / The Image Bank / Getty Images

So now that you've gathered all this wonderful information about a bunch of careers that interest you, what should you do with it? This is where you get to decide which of the careers is a good fit for you, or in other words, which one will be your amazing career. Determine if an occupation is a good match based on what you learned about yourself during the self assessment or through other means. Now you must determine which ones seem the most promising. Look at the job description and the typical job duties for starters. Can you see yourself doing them every day? Check out the employment outlook for the next decade. Do there seem to be adequate opportunities? In other words, will you be able to find employment? Will you earn as much money as you want to or need to earn? Are you willing to commit to the amount of time it will take to train for this career?

5
What to Do When Your Career is No Longer Amazing

A woman ponders a career change
A woman ponders a career change. Thomas Barwick / Stone / Getty Images

Even if you go through the trouble of taking all the proper steps for finding an amazing career there isn't a guarantee that your opinion of it will stay the same for the rest of your working life. Your needs may change and you may require higher earnings, more time off or less travel than your career allows. You may find that the occupation that once had a very good outlook now has few opportunities. You may have simply grown tired of the work. These circumstances all signal that it may be time for a career change. Once you ascertain that is the case, it is time to start all over and find something new.