How to choose a career you love (even if it’s not what you’re looking for)

What is the best way to choose a career?

Well…they don’t. After college, they stumble upon a job, grab whatever they can, and then choose one of the few possible paths from that job.

It’s no surprise that most people feel frustrated by their jobs.

There is a way to narrow your interests and choose a career you love.

These are our top tips for finding a career that you love, even if it is not something you know.

1. Understanding yourself and your personality

An accurate assessment of your personality will help you choose the type of job that suits you best. We’re not talking here about doing a random personality test to find out what you are good at. These tests can be misleading and don’t give a true picture of your motivations.

Instead, ask the questions below and let your answers guide your career search.

What motivates and inspires you?

Finding out what motivates and drives you is the first step to assessing your personality. To understand what drives you, ask your friends, colleagues, and family. What is the moment when they see your bright eyes? Perhaps it happens after you have helped someone or solved a difficult issue. Knowing what fuels your energy is key to guiding you in the right direction for your career.

Evaluate your skills

While some jobs require soft skills such as communication and personality, others require a specific academic skill set. Technical jobs, for example, require that you have an analytical mindset. If your only background is in art history, you cannot apply to a position in scientific research. You can make a career change if you are interested, but you should know that you will likely need additional training.

Learn your strengths and dislikes

Self-awareness is key to identifying your weaknesses and likes. It may be that you are not a good leader or you dislike team collaboration. Recognize your weaknesses and dislikes. If you are not comfortable talking to people, you might not want to pursue a career as a customer service representative.

2. Create a list of possible careers that you are interested in

The most difficult part of choosing a career is choosing the right job.

  • What if I decide I don’t like doing X? What if I hate doing X?
  • What if I want to switch careers within a few years?” What should I do?
  • “What if I enjoy doing a lot of different things but can’t choose where to focus?”

Start by listing all the possible careers and job titles that may be interested in.

Write down anything you’d like to explore.

  • Copywriting is fun? It should be added to your list.
  • Can you imagine yourself as a marketing manager? It’s possible to list it.
  • Do you know someone who does inside sales? Does their work sound interesting? It’s time to put it on the web.
  • Are you thinking of becoming a baker? It’s possible to do anything. It’s important to write it down.

Ramit calls this the Cloud Technique, because there are so many options.

This allows you to say “Yes” instead of saying “No, it’s impossible because …””.

Where should you get your ideas? Here are some career-planning tips:

  1. List any career or job titles that have caught your eye in the past.
  2. Check out job listings on LinkedIn and other job sites to see job descriptions. Add any job that catches your attention or sounds like fun, to your list.
  3. Consider the skills that you already have and the ones you would like to learn. Next, look for jobs that require these skills. Do you enjoy design and creativity? You can search online to find out what jobs require these skills. These are just a few of the many possible career options you have.
  4. Consider people who have jobs that you admire. Do you envy your aunt’s job as a tour manager for your favorite band? That’s something you should write down.

3. Find your top picks

After you have selected a few job titles tentatively, it is time to do more research. This is where you move beyond “Hmm…sounds intriguing” and really understand the job.

Don’t worry if you don’t know everything about the roles. It is important to find the right job for you.

Let’s take the example of an engineer job title as an example of what you should be looking for.

First, get a bird’s-eye view of the job.

  • What does an engineer actually do?
  • What are the various types of engineers (petroleum-electric, civil …)?)?
  • Which companies do they work for and what are their job titles?

This information can be found by doing a quick Google search on Wikipedia or going to Googling “introduction for [INSERT JOB]”.

You may find that you are able to eliminate options you had originally considered as you address these broad and complex questions. That’s perfectly normal. This is normal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that something will sound interesting just because it sounds good in theory.

This stage is where you want to really narrow down your options. You can always go back to step 3 with your new insight on what you are looking for in a job and start over.

Once you have a good understanding of the positions you can start to dig into the details.

  • What is the salary for this job?
  • What kind of education experience is necessary?
  • What is the future?
  • What is the day like for a job?
  • What is their average work week?
  • Does it involve travel?
  • What is the difference between a great engineer and a good one? Does it require strategic vision? Are you open to creative ideas? Quantitative skills?
  • Which blogs/books/websites do they regularly visit to stay “in-the know”?

Throughout this whole process, think about “Could this be something I want to do?” and “Is it something that interests me?”

This helps you find what you really enjoy. After narrowing down your list, it’s time to start listening to people who work in these positions. This is how you can be sure that this is the right career path.

4. Interviews with informational people

informational interview can be an informal conversation you have with someone working in your chosen profession. This is the final step in your career planning process.

Although you may have heard of informational interviews, few people take this crucial step. Here are two things you should know.

  1. An informational interview allows you to get to know someone and gain insight about their job.
  2. People are looking for smart people to get along with them. If you have great emails, are insightful, and are interested in meeting new people.

Here are the steps to arrange an informational interview.

Reserve their time

First, find people you would like to talk to. Send a friendly email to ask if they are available for a meeting. Here is an example email you can use to modify.

Subject: Hello, Allen!

I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. I am thinking about catching up with a few things concerning my career choice.

Although I am passionate about quality control in large pharmaceutical corporations, there isn’t much information about the actual experience. The job will see me working on the production line. I am curious to learn more about that and what I should be prepared for. Your over a decade-long career in this line has shown me that you are resourceful. This is something I admire very much!

You would be willing to connect with me virtually for a short period so that I can get your thoughts on quality control as an engineer.

Let me know when you are available.

Kind regards,


Keep it brief. Keep it short and provide a compelling argument.

Talk points

It’s not a good idea to arrive at an informational interview empty-handed. You should prepare your questions in advance and research the person you are interviewing. This will allow you to connect with the person and get the best out of your interview.

Talk about your problems honestly

Informational interviews are a great place to express your concerns about the job that you are interested in. It’s not a job you are interested in yet. It is better to discover that you are not the right fit now than it is in the future after you have started working in this field.

Listen well

During your informational interview, be attentive and make notes. Ask questions throughout the interview. You can ask questions during the conversation if you aren’t sure what to ask.

Send a thank you note

After an informational interview, it is crucial to send a thank you note. Even if the interview was not for you, it is important to thank them and follow up. Send an email to the person you spoke to and let them know how they helped you reach your goals.

Although it is unlikely that you will find your dream job, there are ways to make sure you do. Many students have difficulty finding the job they want, so we help them. It is not always easy. It is possible.