How to Discover What You’re Really Good at

Gootat_feb2012_web“Where do I start?” seems to be one of the biggest and hardest questions to answer when stepping out into the job market.  For some, they know what they want to do for a career at for as long as they can remember. But for many, it’s hard to know what kind of job is right while still in college or as an adult.

For most, finding your strengths and talents, and then applying them to the job market is a harder process. Choosing a career path that fits your strengths can take time and research to figure out. To help point you in the right direction, here are some helpful hints to get your brain thinking about discovering your passions.

Do What You’re Doing

In your spare time, what do you usually find yourself doing? Grab a notepad and write down what your favorite activities and duties are throughout the week and see if any of them have practical application to a potential career.

You should also consider your interests. What are you most enthusiastic about? Make a list of what grabs your attention. What are your favorite books, TV shows, or movies? See what aspects of your favorite entertainment catches your eye.

Also, pay attention to what you struggle with or try to avoid. This can give you a clearer picture of what not to look for in a job. When looking for work, find the employers and industries that are void of these unpleasant experiences.

The Company You Keep

It can be beneficial to get advice from friends and family who have a different perspective on who you are and how you interact with the world. They will also notice how your body language reacts to different topics and situations. Ask your friends and loved ones what they notice about you, think you’re good at, and think you have a passion for. If more than one person has the same advice, you might be onto a real lead.

There are also several online quizzes and assessments that can help you get feedback on your personality, work ethic, and skill type. It’s important to understand yourself from not only your own perspective, but from others’ as well.

Playing, Practicing, and Professionalizing

Once you start finding your top passions or talents, play around with them. Find a safe environment to explore the possibilities that your talents can share. Find careers that focus on using your skills or interests, and investigate a day in the life of that job. The more comfortable you get with it, the better you’ll be able to work with it.

Once you get beyond just playing, work to improve your techniques and refine your skills. By practicing, you can learn the depths of your talent. You’ll soon learn whether it’s a true passion or more of a passing phase. Also, if it’s an area you’re interested in pursuing further, seek out a mentor for advice and direction. Even if the interest turns out to be temporary, you may notice what interested you about a particular characteristic of the activity.

Go out and use your talent. Find out what is required to have a job with your passion and work to achieve those requirements. You might have to take classes, get a certification, or take an internship to get beyond the passing hobby stage and become a true professional at your skill, but it’s worth it.

What are some methods you have used to discover your hidden strengths?

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