Just as writers get writers block, scientists get stumped, and performers get stage fright; so too, career seekers can draw a blank when it comes to generating great career ideas. In this short article I lay out a simple and effective plan for creating a short list of good career ideas. This list can serve as a good starting point for career seekers to research and discover the right career.
Coming up with career ideas is not much different than coming up with any other idea. There are many effective techniques to generate ideas. These techniques include brain storming and mind mapping, to name a couple. There are any numbers of ways to come up with ideas. If you have favorite techniques for coming up with ideas, you can incorporate any of those techniques into this plan.
An important thing that is often overlooked by career seekers is to get outside input into generating and developing their career ideas. If a career seeker goes through the process alone, they miss having insights about themselves from outside sources. Therefore, whatever technique used, you should include other people and outside sources in the process.
Even when career seekers do get input from others, another mistake is to rely solely on the input of those who are close to them. People who are close, such as loved ones, family members, and close friends may be overly supportive despite what may be obvious flaws in the career seekers ideas. This can be illustrated by watching the American Idle tryouts, and witnessing people who should not audition because they cannot sing. They believe that they are great singers and that professional entertainment is a good career path for them based solely on the input of their family, friends, and loved ones. This is because the people close to them led them to believe that singing was a good career choice for them. They failed to get input from professionals prior to auditioning.That is not to say that you should not include people who are close to you in generating career ideas, you just should not stop there. You should get other unbiased input as well.
Here is a simple and effective process for generating career ideas:
- Make a list of things you enjoy doing, think you would like to do, or have heard about and interest you. Put everything that comes to mind on the list (even the silly things). The longer the list the better. If you have an idea generating technique that works for you, use it. Make this list as long as possible, try to drain yourself of ideas.
- Ask a few trusted people who know you well and who you trust to be honest with you to create similar lists of things they think you enjoy, may enjoy, or are good at. They should put every possible idea they can think of.
- Narrow down these lists to a manageable number of ideas that you think are good ones. Try to have a total of about twenty ideas on this list.
- Now take one or more career assessments and compare the results to your list. There are a number of free career assessments available online. Or maybe you already have a recent assessment.
- Narrow your list down to the ideas that are similar to the recommendations found in your career assessment results. Hopefully can narrow your list down to five or so solid career ideas.
- Finally, conduct career research on each of the five or so ideas on your short list.
Now that you have generated some great career ideas, don’t just pick the one that seems the best to you. Take your time and research all of the ideas. The more you know about each career, the better chance you will get into the career of your dreams. Your research should include career and job forecast and outlook, training and education requirements, an outline of related career paths, informational interviews with people already in the career field, and the availability of jobs in your local area or areas which you would be willing to relocate to.
In summary, don’t get stuck trying to generate career ideas. Start by coming up with ideas on your own and get ideas from other trusted people. Narrow down the list by taking a career path test and comparing the results. Finally, start researching the careers that made it onto your short list.