Still don’t know what you wanna be when you grow up? Join the club! Very rarely do people know their dream job from the get-go. Discovering it is much more often a journey through various jobs and experiences that eventually help us say, “Wait a minute… I actually enjoy this.”
During my senior year of college, Ben Stuart, Director of Breakaway Ministries, spoke to a business organization I was in and said something that stuck with me. Ben encouraged us to think through three simple questions rather than wait for that ah-ha moment that reveals our life purpose. Take a crack at answering them for yourself - maybe they’ll help you too.
1. What am I good at?
If you have certain skills that seem to come naturally or characteristics that friends always seem to point out in you, pay attention to them! These are valuable strengths that can help you figure out what jobs could be a natural fit for you. Here’s a couple of examples…
You can always convince your friends of a game plan, even if it’s a crazy one. Making new friends and connecting with them comes easily to you. When you grocery shop with your roommate, you always win the chocolate or vanilla debacle. If this sounds like you, sales might be right up your alley.
Or maybe you have an eye for design. You’re always the one responsible for making the presentations look pretty and coming up with the clever, attention grabbing intros. Seems to me like you’re a fit in advertising.
Even though it seems simple, it can be hard to pinpoint your personal strengths - so ask around! Talk to your friends, former supervisors, professors, or parents and see how they would answer this question for you. Maybe they’ll point out something great in you that you didn’t see before.
2. What do I enjoy doing?
According to a report by Psychology Today, Americans will spend the equivalent of 50 years at work. With that in mind, you should enjoy what you’re doing, right? Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you necessarily enjoy it. Finding something you’re both good at and that you enjoy is bound to improve your overall happiness and productivity.
Not sure where to start? Look for the tasks and events that energize you and that you find yourself wishing you were doing while you work on other, less exciting to-do list items. What makes you say, “Okay, okay, just five more minutes” over and over again because you’re glued to the task? Rather than feeling like work, these roles will be surprisingly fun.
3. In what role could I add the most value?
Now, it’s time to connect what you’re good at and what you enjoy to the roles in which you can be a key player. Think through your educational background, internship experiences, volunteer work, and involvement. Across the board, what skills or experiences have you picked up along the way that compliment your answers to the two earlier questions? Your value is what you’ve learned from your experience as it relates to your interests and strengths. You can’t answer this question without having carefully considered the other two.
Not sure what types of jobs align with your interests and strengths? Talk through this process with a mentor or friend that has work experience and see what they have to say. This is a perfect time to reach out to your network and learn from their experiences. Maybe they can help you refine your search.
Hopefully, these questions can get you thinking about some opportunities that will be a strong fit for both you and your future boss.