When we were growing up, most of us dreamt about what we would do for a living. Maybe it was becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or an airline pilot. Well, life is full of surprises and many of us find ourselves in a career that we hadn’t planned or expected. If you are lucky, you’ll love your job even if it is a bit of a surprise. For others, it‘ll do for now but many people keep their eyes and options open for a job and career that they hope will suit them better.
A good piece of advice is not to rush the process of choosing a career. It is never too late to switch. The good news is that, in the current employment market, there are lots of opportunities to change your career and explore new opportunities. One option is to freelance and attend classes to prepare you for a new career. Take the example of data analyst jobs. A Data Analyst collects and evaluates data and many companies use these insights to inform their decision-making.
Typically this function will be outsourced to freelancers. If you are a Data Analyst interested in working on a freelance basis, all you need to do is sign up to a relevant platform and you should be offered work. This flexible work model gives you the chance to pursue other interests as well as earn a living. This article is designed to help you make the right choices and enhance your career in 2022.
What are your priorities? A good place to start is to consider your interests, strengths, finances, and personal values. Also, consider what type of sector or job you want to do? Do you want to work in the private or public sector? Your skills and interests should complement the type of work you do. Let's use our example of a data analyst. A data analyst should be a critical thinker, a good communicator, and have excellent attention to detail. You should be good at problem-solving and enjoy analysing and critiquing numbers. If that’s not you, you should think twice about going down the data analyst route. Your priorities will give you a good idea of the type of job that will suit you.
If you have an interest in a specific career, ask yourself why. Different people have different motivations. For some it’s money but if you concentrate solely on the salary you could easily end up in the wrong job. You might end up making quite a lot of money but have no job satisfaction. Unsurprisingly research shows that money is, of course, one of the top motivational factors for employees. Other critical factors include peer camaraderie - working with the sort of people you like - and career growth opportunities. Being motivated by money is not a bad thing but it’s equally important that the career path you choose brings satisfaction and the opportunity to achieve your real potential. If it doesn’t you may not want to stay in that job for long.
Before picking a particular course, ask the following questions:
Prepare to be flexible. Look at what you are good at, and then maximise your chances. You might need to adapt or add to your skills to meet the demands of a particular industry. You could, for example, be a fantastic makeup artist. That could lead to a career in the beauty industry television or social media. You might need to add new skills to complement the ones you already have. For example, you may decide to add photography to your portfolio. That could open new doors. What you are good at is only the starting point - you will probably need to add new complementary skills to make you an attractive candidate for prospective employers or to kick-start your freelance career.
It doesn't hurt to talk to a few people who have made it in your field of interest. You can get some fantastic insights to help you make the right choices. Even if you don’t know anyone in the field you are interested in, contact a few people through LinkedIn or social media. Most people are happy to help someone who is just starting out. Many professionals are also happy to mentor students. You may even be offered work experience. Reaching out to people already in the industry can be surprisingly effective.
Job satisfaction comes from enjoying what you do and knowing that there is an opportunity for career growth. Do a bit of research to see what career paths look like in your chosen industry. A study shows that almost half of older millennials - now approaching middle age - regret their career choices. The main reason was that either the job or the opportunities did not live up to what they had envisioned. You can avoid falling into this trap by doing the research before making your choice.
There are two important words in this process - patience and research. Both of these will help you make the right decision. It’s worth taking the time to get this right. And, if you don’t get it right the first time, no problem. You have time to change.
by Dan Martin | 27 Jan 22
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