How To Find A Job You’ll Enjoy

Assessing your interests can help you plan your career

19328715_l (1)Do you want to have a job you enjoy? Well, examining your interests may be the key. Because if you like what you do, you’ll be happier at work. You may be more successful too.

In some cases the choice is obvious – people who like to write become writers, those who like to work on their car often become mechanics. But, for some of us it’s not that easy.

How can you know which job you’ll enjoy?

One way is to find a job that is in tune with your interests. You can do that by going through some self-assessment or using a career-exploration tool like the Strong Interest Inventory®.

If you’re not ready to take an assessment you can begin with self-assessment exercises. For example, people generally prefer to work either with ideas, people or things. The task is discovering your preferred area.

Here’s a self-assessment exercise to get you started. Read the following descriptions. As you read, think about which one or ones sound most like you.

Ideas – You are a curious and independent person interested in exploring new ideas and using your creativity. People who prefer to focus on ideas may thrive on the analytic challenges of fields such as science or medicine, or artistic pursuits such as writing or interior design. While different in many respects, all of these careers require curiosity and creativity.

People – You are a sociable, friendly person who likes to use their communication skills, to guide and help others. Those who prefer to focus on people often find satisfaction in helping occupations such as counseling, coaching or teaching, or in persuasive professions such as politics or sales. All offer the opportunity to influence and guide others. All require spending your day working with people.

Things (includes Data) – You are an orderly, practical, persistent person who enjoys working with your hands and prefers clearly defined tasks. People who prefer to focus on things may be content working in a hands-on environment like mechanics or farming or computers, or using their math abilities as a bookkeeper, financial analyst or banker. These careers share a focus on things. There is, generally, not much interaction with others.

Most of us fit into more than one category. Many jobs are suited to those with a less clearly defined preference. For example, chefs are creative people who have a very hands-on job. So are landscape architects. A police artist uses their artistic talent within clearly defined boundaries. Bank tellers need to be careful and conscientious. But they also need to deal with people. And the list goes on.

If you’d like more direction, taking an assessment like the Strong Interest Inventory may be right for you.

The Strong Interest Inventory is based on the idea that people’s work is directly related to their interests: That people in the same job often have the same hobbies, like the same movies and read the same types of books.

Based on this idea, the Strong Interest Inventory measures your interests against the interests of people who are happily employed in various occupations. Put simply, if your interests match those of accountants you would enjoy working as an accountant. Using a classification system the Strong places people and jobs into six categories:

  • Realistic – likes to work with their hands, fixing things, building, repairing
  • Investigative – prefers thinking and problem solving, conducting research, collecting and analyzing data
  • Artistic – enjoys creative pursuits, composing, writing, playing musical instruments, working independently
  • Social – likes to work with people, helping, enlightening, teaching, guiding, solves problems by talking with others
  • Enterprising – enjoys persuading people, selling, politics, giving speeches, managing people,
  • Conventional – prefers a structured environment, conducting financial analysis, organizing office procedures, detail oriented and accurate

While taking the Strong Interest Inventory can help you understand what area will be most satisfying for you, honest self-assessment can also point you in the right direction. Tools like HIRED! The Ultimate Job Search Course can guide you through the self-assessment process.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.

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