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You need to take time to think about what sort of job (and organisation) would really suit you. You spend about one third of your time during the working week doing your job, so it needs to be something that you’ll enjoy and which utilizes your skills, as well as paying the bills. Let your career education counsellor or career advice expert guide you.

How to identify a job that suits you

It may be that you’re one of those lucky people who has always known what you want to do! Perhaps you’ve had strong ideas from an early age, or have a vocation to be a doctor or nurse. However, many people finish their education with lots of knowledge, skills and experience, but without clear ideas about their future career. Others may be dissatisfied with their current job or career path, and want a change, but are not sure what they could do next given their background. Here are a few things to consider and questions to ask yourself which could help to clarify your ideas and goals.

Motivation and values

What drives you to succeed and what do you believe in? Are you motivated by meeting targets or working under pressure, producing a quality product or helping other people? Think about these and other questions; if you find it hard to pin down the answers, start by thinking about what demotivates you, and work by process of elimination. Thinking about your motivation and values can help you to identify types of jobs that might suit you. For example, if you are motivated by meeting and exceeding targets, a sales career might be something to think about.


Think about all aspects of your quality of life. Are you prepared to work long or unsociable hours, or do shift work? Or is work/life balance more important to you and would you prefer 9-5 or even part time? How about travel, or a job that involves lots of driving? Would this add to your enjoyment of your job or take you away from your family and social life? How much money do you need or want to earn? Do you want to be merely comfortable, or earn megabucks and retire at 45? How much stress are you prepared to accept? Think about your life outside work and how you want this to fit in with your job.

Skills, experience and background

What skills and experience do you have to offer? Think about this and make a list. Think in terms of transferable skills, such as problem solving, organizational skills, communication, IT, etc. Do you have any particular knowledge or expertise? The list of your skills and experience can start to point you towards jobs and careers that might be appropriate for you, but don’t worry if there are gaps - most people have something to learn when they start something new.

What do you enjoy doing?

Think about your current job, a previous job, your degree, voluntary work or extra-curricular activity you have been involved in. What did you enjoy and dislike? Do you prefer to work by yourself or in a team? Do you like being office-based, or would you prefer to get out and about? Do you like lots of people contact, or being creative, or doing paperwork, or cold calling, or selling? There are many questions you can ask yourself here.

Long term aspirations

You may not know what you want to do right now, but have you got a vision of your longer term future? If you have an idea of what you might be doing in a few years time - a ten year grand plan, say - then you could work back from that and fill in the details - eg, what skills and experience will you need now to realize your dream, how much money do you need to earn and sav, etc.

A perfect job for you?

There is no such thing as the ‘perfect job’ in that many jobs will contain parts that we either dislike or like less than others. However going through the above steps will help you to define the things you definitely do and don’t want in a job. Also, think about the things that you could compromise on. Be prepared to make small sacrifices and this will increase the range of jobs you can apply for, but hang on to what’s genuinely important to you.


Comprehensive career education glossary. Definitions of career education and career builder terms.

Adult basic education.    Adult general education    Adult secondary education.    Adult student.     Apprenticeship.    Aptitudes.   

Assessment.    Attributes.     Career.     Career branding.     Career Carnival.    Career change.    Career cluster.    Career coach.   

Career counseling.    Career exploration.    Career development.    Career fair.    Career guidance.    Career-Interest Inventory.    

Career mentoring.    Career objective.    Career paths.    Career planning.    Career program certificate.    Career resources.   

Career Trek.    Competencies (proficiencies).    Competency-based education.     Community Education.   

Continuing Workforce Education.    Co-operative career education    Cover letter.    Curriculum-Integrated program.   

CV. Curriculum Vitae.    Degree Vocational Education Program.    Demand occupation.    Distance education.    Doctorate.   

Dislocated worker.    Employability.    Entrepreneurial skills.    Formation.    Foundation skills.    Freelance career.    Head hunter.   

Home-based careers.    Human capital.    Human performance technology.    Human resources.    Immersion courses.    Internship.   

Job satisfaction.    Job shadowing.    Life coaching.    Lifelong learning.    Mentor.    Mentoring.    Moonlighting.    Motivation letter.   

Non-traditional careers.    Portfolio.    Postsecondary.    Prerequisite.    Real Game.    Resume.    Sabbatical year.   

School-to-career program.    Self-employment.    Self-instruction.    Skills.    Undergraduate.    Work-based learning.   

Work exploration.    Work readiness.    Work study.    Workforce development education.    Youth apprenticeship.

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