Finding a Career You Love (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 15, 2021

Published January 13, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Finding a career you love can be a powerful way to build purpose and enjoyment into your daily work. A vocation that you love can also help accomplish goals that are important to you, whether that is serving your community, making a comfortable living or exercising a unique skill set. There are many ways to find a career you enjoy, and remembering your ultimate objectives can help guide your search. In this article, we discuss how to find a career you love and provide tips for building a network that will support you in finding a career you love.

Related: How To Find a Job You Love

How to find a career you love

Finding a career you love can be as individual as you are. Knowing your own goals is a useful way to start, and making meaningful decisions throughout the process can help ensure you are matching your career choices with your own objectives. Finding a career you love can also be a deeply gratifying experience. To help find a career you love, you can follow these steps:

1. Identify your goals and values

Carefully think about your own goals for your career. Consider your personal values as an individual and a professional, and use these to guide your decision-making process. For example, if being of service to your community is important to you, you can remember that value when you are researching career paths. Try using a graphic organizer such as a spreadsheet or mind map to generate ideas and visualize your thinking.

Related: 6 Steps To Discover Your Core Values

2. Brainstorm careers

Once you have articulated your career goals and your own values, you can brainstorm types of vocations that might fulfill both. It is possible that the perfect job for you is one you have yet to discover, so be sure to research with an open mind. Tools such as search engines, career aptitude tests and online career boards can expose you to new and exciting job types. Consider keeping track of the jobs that pique your interest using a spreadsheet or list as well.

Related: 8 Free Career Aptitude Tests for Adults

3. Job shadow, intern or temp

The best way to know whether you may enjoy a particular career path might be to try it out. Consider job shadowing, interning or working as a temp in a role you think you might enjoy. The temporary nature of these experiences allows you to get a sense for the duties of a particular career without an initial long-term commitment. Then, you can make a knowledgeable decision about pursuing that career path if and when a permanent opportunity arises.

4. Stay flexible

Sometimes, finding a career you love can mean experimenting with vocational pursuits that are unique or unusual to you. A willingness to try new experiences can be a valuable way to find a career you love. If you find an opportunity that fits your goals and values, consider trying it, even if it's something you hadn't envisioned yourself doing.

5. Reflect and assess

Throughout your career search, periodically reflect on what you have learned about potential career options and how your goals may have changed. Thinking mindfully about how your thought processes evolve can help you make career choices that reflect your most important values. Frequently evaluate your progress and make adjustments as necessary.

Questions to ask yourself when finding a career you love

Whether you are brainstorming, researching or reflecting on your career search, asking yourself open-ended questions can help guide your next steps. When you wonder how to find a career you enjoy, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • What did I want to be when I was a child?

  • How important is salary in my future career? What if salary was no object?

  • What would I like to learn more about?

  • What are my most enjoyable skills?

  • What career paths do my friends think of when they think of me?

  • How do I like to interact with others in my work environment?

Types of motivation for finding a career you love

Determining your motivation for finding a career you love can simplify the process by focusing your energy on the right industries and fields. Here are some factors that might motivate you to find a career you love:

Values

Some people are highly invested in doing work that aligns with their personal values. For example, having a positive impact on society, helping others and providing support might be values that motivate you to find a job you love.

Enjoyment

The pleasure of the work itself can be a motivating factor when looking for a job you love. For example, those who enjoy nature might be more inclined to find a career that involves working outdoors.

Outcome

Salary, future roles and other opportunities can be other motivators to consider. The daily work of your career affect these kinds of outcomes, which may be a priority for you.

Related: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Tips for building a network in a career you love

Networking, or connecting with other professionals, can be a useful tool for finding a career you love and exploring new opportunities. Here are some tips for building a network:

Make connections in new fields

If you have a few ideas of career paths that interest you, reach out to established individuals in those domains. Ask specific questions that show you've done adequate research independently and be sure to offer your own skills in return. Networking relationships are a two-way dynamic that is meant to benefit both parties involved.

Leverage technology

Consider using digital tools to expand your network in career fields that interest you. Join online groups and boards focused on those careers, and reach out to individuals in those groups when appropriate. Use virtual job boards to find hiring information, internships and fellowship opportunities.

Seek professional development opportunities

Engaging in professional development such as classes and networking social events can help you make connections while learning new skills. Check online resources for learning opportunities in a career field that interests you. Consider joining professional organizations in the industry of your choice.

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