The world of work is increasingly complex these days while also increasing in opportunity. There are no longer linear career paths or one-size-fits-all solutions (if there ever was). But our typical career decision-making processes are based ancient strategies. We learn about the world of work by watching what people around us do. What we want to be when we grow up is almost imprinted on us as children and is informed by what our parents did, what they thought was possible for us, and what we glimpsed in other adults. The world of work used to be hunter or gatherer (possibly cross-training as a hunter-gatherer), then agriculture, then whatever our parents did. Today, we learn about careers from our family plus media, and what our society says are high status careers like doctor, lawyer, or engineer.
However, if we make our most important decisions based on what we see immediately around us, we are not thinking about all the pieces of the equation. What brings us joy? How do we leverage our innate strengths? What vision for the world do we want to contribute to? What kind of life do we want to live and how might a career support that? A majority of the population would not be happy as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. And the good news is that the world needs every kind of occupation and needs people who are good at them and love them.
Here are seven questions that a career coach can help you answer to guide you to a meaningful career and life.
- What are your strengths (especially those you’ve forgotten you have)?
I believe, as do many other career professionals, that a strengths-based approach is foundational to career happiness. You’ll be more fulfilled and successful when the majority of your work is something where you’re naturally good. But most people don’t know how to identify their most valuable strengths. This is a place that a good career coach will start.
- What do you want out of life?
Your job is not your life. Your life is more than your job. So make sure you think about more than just your job when you’re deciding what to do! Think about life goals, family, your future, where you want to live, and your hopes and dreams for yourself. A career coach will make sure that your job and career set you up for the life you want to live.
- What’s the best way for you to find a job?
Even though it’s tedious to apply to job after job that you find online, that’s how most people conduct their job search. It’s also the least effective. If your strategy for looking for a job is applying to job postings, you will most likely face demoralizing silence. Learn about more effective–and often more enjoyable–strategies with a coach.
- How can you overcome obstacles and dead-ends?
If you are transitioning to a new career or looking to improve your current one, you will inevitably face challenges, obstacles, plateaus, doldrums, and various other less-than-positive situations. When you’re in the middle, it can be difficult to think your way out of them. An outside perspective with lots of tools and tips for overcoming obstacles is another benefit of working with a coach.
- How can you position yourself for success?
When desperately looking for a job, many people feel pressured to take the first job offer they get, even when it’s not a great fit. There is a common belief that work is about a paycheck. While that’s true, work is so much more. It is also where people get their sense of worth, an assessment about their capabilities, and the possibility to make a contribution. Working at a job that provides income but doesn’t fit can eventually (and sometimes quickly) erode your self-esteem. By working with a coach and targeting right-fit jobs, you set yourself up to make a powerful contribution that will be rewarding in many ways. Including financially!
- How can you effectively market yourself?
Most job seekers see resumes and LinkedIn profiles as a chronological listing of previous employment. That assumption will keep you from writing a resume that leads to the job of your dreams. That’s because your resumes and profiles are actually marketing documents that need to convey “I am the perfect person for this job and you need to bring me in for an interview tomorrow!” A coach can guide you to do this effectively.
- How can you stay motivated?
If you’re currently unemployed, motivation quickly drops down to the bottom of the list, after more exciting activities like dental exams or categorizing your socks by length. External accountability is a powerful motivator and needs to be a part of any job search.
The challenge is, of course, that not everyone has access to a career professional. They may be too expensive, too far away, or they don’t meet your needs. So how can you get support when you don’t have a career coach?
The most effective way is to use a gamified career coaching app like My Career Design Studio. My Career Design Studio comes with over 30 activities to help you identify your strengths, goals, marketing strategy while keeping you focused, motivated, and effective. It is research-based. This means that the activities have all been shown to be effective in guiding you toward a meaningful career by tapping into your natural instincts and reward system.
Even more important for an online tool is that the app is ad-free and all of your information is protected. This gives you a distraction-free environment so you can focus on what’s important and you can rest assured that no personal data will be bought or sold. Ever!
My Career Design Studio is based on a social enterprise model. The product was designed primarily for the end user, not for companies or advertising revenue. The subscription fee is kept intentionally low for the value of the service, with a free seven-day trial and other options if $19.95 a month poses a financial hardship.
Everyone deserves high-quality career coaching! Schedule some time at the upper right hand side of this page to see what kind of career coaching will serve you best.