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How to Find a Career You Love, Based on Your Strengths

“I love my work!”

If you are like most people, you want to say those words with a straight face, and mean them. It is possible when you look for jobs and build a career based on your natural strengths and talents. I call this your “right fit” work. Just as there are clothes that fit us better, so too are there jobs and careers that fit us better.

Starting with your skills, abilities and desired impact is the quickest way to actually beginning a career you will love.

It simply makes sense to go toward work that uses your strengths and talents. If you are doing what comes naturally, you are more likely to be happy at work. And when you’re happy at work, you’ll be happier in life.

• Job search is a long and sometimes painful slog. You might as well channel that energy to getting the best possible outcome.

• Employers value your strengths, because you do your best work when using them.

• When you look for work that uses your strengths, talents and abilities, you have a better chance of finding it.

Work occupies a huge amount of our time, so it’s desirable to have a job we like.

Job search itself forces you to focus on what you love to do and do well. When someone says “I just want a job, any job,” they also quickly reject many suggestions. Someone recommends applying at a bookstore or for a sales job, and they say “but I can’t do that” or “I don’t want to do that.” They are getting more specific about what they want by first rejecting what they don’t want or like.

Most of us DO know what we want to do, what we’re good at, and what we’re willing to do as a job. It just may be hard to admit it. For a shortcut, start with your strengths and what you love doing as well as the impact you want to have.

Most people can do lots of things. What are the things you like to do more than others? What activities make you lose track of time? What brings a smile to your face? What do you always gravitate to doing even when you don’t have time or patience to do other things? What do people always tell you you’re good at doing?

Now, think about the impact you want to have with your work. What will you do with your skills? What effect will you have? What’s your purpose in using these skills, talents and abilities?

Be honest with yourself, and accept who you are. There’s a lot of “shoulds” surrounding work – I “should” do what my parents want me to do or I “should” like this work because other people do. If you can, stop “shoulding” on yourself and instead look clearly at what “is” rather than what is “supposed to be.” If you fight your natural abilities, you’ll end up miserable at work.

Knowing the skills and abilities you want to use will help with your job search. Essentially, your strengths become your key words in your job and career search.

• You can tell people that you are looking for work that will use these strengths.
• You can network in and explore several industries
• You can have informational interviews with people in many fields or occupations, to learn more about how you could apply your strengths and talents
• You stay open to many different kinds of jobs

Using your key words, you can discover the many different job titles that could use your strengths. Soon you’ll be able to zero in on specific fields and jobs that are a good fit.

Then it’s time to develop a “must have” list and create a job search plan.

By envisioning exactly what you want to do, you establish a goal and an intention toward which you can work. With a destination, you can map out a plan for getting from where you are to where you want to be in the world of work and careers.

About julia1319

Julia Erickson coaches people to find, get and do their "right fit" work - work they love, do well, and want to do again. She blogs and tweets on career and job search. Julia is a career expert on Careerealism.com, a top 10 career blog. Julia?s coaching is grounded in nearly 30 years experience in NYC?s non-profit industry, including 12 as CEO of two major organizations. She hired hundreds, fired some, and coached many to use their talents at work. Julia led Public/Private Initiatives at NYC's Department of Employment, which gave her in-depth knowledge of what employers want. Julia applies to career management the marketing expertise she used to raise more than $100 million, much through direct response. Julia graduated from Smith College and has an MBA in leadership. She was the James Beard Foundation's 2003 Humanitarian of the Year, and a Women's Day's "Women Who Inspire Us" in 2002.

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