Surveys typically show that a large percentage of people do not enjoy their work and are unhappy in their current position.

It doesn't have to be that way – you don't have to be stuck in a position you don't enjoy and don't find rewarding. With a little work through career planning, you can easily find a career that is a perfect match for your unique self.

What is career planning? It's a process of finding your ideal career, whether it's your first job out of college or a big career change, based upon your intrinsic interests, motivational traits, personal work style, personality, values, skills and aptitudes. Studies have shown that when a career supports a person's interests, they are typically happier, more successful and fulfilled with their work life. And luckily, utilizing career planning in your job search is not difficult.

Many are already using career planning as part of their job search, and it's not too late to include it in yours. The first step in utilizing a career planner strategy is utilizing a variety of career assessment inventories, also known as tests. These types of tests can help you determine a better understanding of your career interests, motivational traits, personal work style, personality, values, skills and aptitudes.

Understanding this kind of information about yourself can help ensure you're picking a career that supports your unique traits. For example, if a career assessment shows you don't love to be in front of a large group of people presenting, you may not be excited about a career as a teacher. Applying a variety of career assessment tests can also help:

  • Discover interests and abilities related to your career
  • Identify specific occupations that match your interests, competencies and personality
  • Identify fields of study matching to your personality and interests
  • Identify your communications and leadership style
  • Determine how you work best
  • Understand how you adjust and react to demands in the workplace, specific personality types and circumstances
  • Determine transferable skills and accomplishments
  • Recognize and prioritize your career-related values

Once you've completed the variety of career assessment tests and understand the results, the next step in career planning is to take the time to gather information about the suggested careers. Learning more about the potential new jobs can help you know whether or not you would be happy in them. Be sure to look into:

  • Common job descriptions for the suggested position
  • Potential working environment and conditions
  • Necessary training, other qualifications needed and potential for advancement
  • Employment trends
  • Future job outlook
  • Compensation
  • Related occupations

Use your gut and fine tune the list. If you hate being outdoors, and one of the work environments of a suggested career keeps you outdoors the majority of the time, it's safe to eliminate that from the list. Do one of the suggested skills require another 8 years of schooling? You might want to reconsider that, unless you're interested in going back to school.

Career planning is a task that doesn't require much effort, but can greatly benefit you in the long run.

Have you used career planning to find the perfect job? Next step is the perfect resume. Need help? Get a free critique today.

Related Articles: