Podcast Episode #2 How to choose the right career with your host Leah Lambart
Welcome to the second episode of the Relaunch Your Career podcast, “How to choose the right career”.
In this episode, I’m going to run through the key steps and the most important things that I believe you need to think about when choosing the right career. What I am going to run through with you today will be applicable if you are high school student, a university student or an experienced professional thinking about a potential career change.
The first really important part of any successful career change is self assessment. So what does self assessment mean? This means really deep diving into what you are good at, what you are interested in, what is important to you and what comes naturally to you.
In the work that we do at Relaunch Me, the first part of this self-assessment is looking at personality type and understanding where your natural strengths lie. What work tasks come naturally to you and which ones don’t, and even more importantly, what type of work environment will you thrive in. As you probably are well aware, there’s many different types of work environments out there, and they don’t suit everyone. So the first step is really understanding what motivates you, what drives you and what comes naturally to you in the workplace. Once you are aware of what your natural strengths are, we can then look at careers where you will use your natural strengths most of the time. It is my belief that if you are using your natural strengths, then work shouldn’t feel like ‘work’. It should come really naturally to you, and it should energise you.
I mentioned in my first episode that my first career was working as a tax consultant in an accounting firm. I really loved the people that I worked with, and I really enjoyed the social side of the firm. However, once the novelty of the environment and the social events and the beautiful offices in the city had worn off, I found that I really had no interest in the work, and it just didn’t come naturally to me. In hindsight, it’s now very easy for me to see why it didn’t suit me working in a tax consulting role, the key strengths that you need include skills such as research skills, problem solving and analytical skills. And these are definitely not my strengths.
Last year when I became accredited as a Strengths Profile Coach I completed my own strengths self assessment and my signature strengths include strengths such as; relationship building, rapport building, communication, empathy, humour and compassion. But working in tax, I didn’t get to use any of these strengths as pat of my actual role. In fact, the only time that I probably did use these strengths was after hours at Friday night drinks or in the lunch hour, which definitely wasn’t part of my job description.
So once you know what your strengths are, the next step is looking at career opportunities where you will get to use these strengths 60 to 70% of your time or more. The research around strengths, shows that when you are using your strengths, people are more energised and more engaged in what they are doing, and as a result, they tend to much happier in their work. This is why we start off looking at personality type and getting a high level understanding of where your natural strengths lie.
The second part of self assessment, which I think is really important, is understanding what you’re interested in. So this may sound quite obvious, but often we fall into careers where we really have no interest in the subject matter, again, going back to my taxation experience. You know, I never even really thought to ask about the work, which sounds crazy. I was courted by recruitment consultants and going to lavish graduate cocktail parties and was more excited by the fact that I’d be working in the city in a big office and wearing a suit rather than even thinking about or asking about what actual work I would be doing for 40 or 50 hours a week. I can tell you that the actual subject matter did not interest me one little bit. And I knew this because whenever we were in training sessions or learning about tax, it would just go in one ear and out the other. I had no interest in reading anything in the Financial Review after hours or researching anything about tax rulings or new tax cases. I just had no interest whatsoever compared to the work I do now as a career coach, where I just absolutely love finding new books about careers. Every time I go to a bookshop I buy a new career book, I’m listening constantly to podcasts about careers in the car. I have about six books lined up on my dressing table of books that I want to read in the near future. So I’m constantly seeking new knowledge in this area because it interests may.
Therefore, I think it’s really important to think about what you are interested in. And that doesn’t mean you have to be completely passionate about something. I find that often people are not actually passionate about anything, and that’s okay. But you still have to have some interest and be energised by what you’re doing.
The third part of self assessment, which I believe is really important, is values. Values are what is important to you and how you want to live your life. And as many of you will know, values do change over time. So what your values might be when you first choose your career in your twenties may change extensively in your thirties and forties. If you are not doing work that is aligned to your values, then it usually means that your work will not be personally meaningful.
After you have completed these self assessment steps then hopefully you will come up with a list of potential careers that suit your personality and interest you and the next key step is lots of research. This doesn’t necessarily mean online research. This means actually getting out and talking to people working in those jobs and finding out what that work actually involves behind the scenes. As I mentioned in Episode One, we’re going to be interviewing some people in different jobs so that we can share that knowledge with you because we do understand that it’s quite difficult to sometimes find people in fields that interests you. Not everyone is comfortable with approaching strangers and asking for time with them or to go out for a lunch meeting.
The most important thing to do is to do as much research as possible so that you can be really sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into long before you actually choose a course. The research should help you start to perhaps rule out some options but also narrow down to maybe one or two options that you believe will really suit you.
Then the third key step is experimenting. Experimenting means actually taking action to test these different careers out. Obviously, if you’re thinking about being a doctor or a nurse, you can’t go and just be a nurse for a day. But you can go and do some potential free courses online in health care to get a taste of what the course might be about. You can go and have meetings with nurses and interview them about their jobs. The more time you spend with people in that field, the more sure you should be that you are making the right decision.
If you follow these steps to making a successful career change then you will have a much higher chance of choosing a career that is right for you. We often have very well meaning friends and family giving us advice, but you have to remember that your personality, your values and your interests will be different to theirs. By following these steps, you will hopefully find a career that is your’ best fit career’, not someone else’s version of a best fit career. In future episodes, I’m going to be talking more about using personality assessments and strength assessments to help you find the right career.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information about what we do, please have a look at our website www.relaunchme.com.au
Thanks for listening. Have a great day.