Finding the career that’s “right” for you

The average person has five to seven career changes in their lifetime. There are many reasons that people change jobs and fields, but among the most reported are: not using skills and abilities to the fullest, disillusionment with management, business closure or layoffs, working in a shrinking industry, dislike of organizational culture and money.

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to know yourself and what is important to you in life and in a job. Here are a few things to help with that!

1. Take a Personality Assessment and read the specifics on career path and workplace habits. This will help you understand your work-style and motivation and identify what kinds of tasks, responsibilities and rewards would best fit you and greatly improve the odds of being satisfied in your job. If you have access to Myers-Briggs tests through work or school–take advantage! Doing the full version provides a more in-depth look. Additionally if you already know your type and want to learn more about how it fits in a workplace with others, there’s a great book called “Talk Type at Work”.

2. Find out what jobs appeal to you most. Some of the most interesting and satisfying careers are the kind we never hear about. Doing a career test might provide some options you’ve never considered.  Some good (and free!) options are:
– My Next Move  The site design is a little outdated, but the test is easy to complete and you eventually get to a career list after “job zones” and level of preparation information.
– Career Cluster Interest Survey This identifies segments or career fields after you answer questions about what you like or are interested in. While this is geared toward college students, it provides solid information and allows you to explore jobs in the different fields (click on “Careers in this Cluster”) and even gives options for activities to do that might help you decide if a career path/field is right for you.

3. Take a closer look at specific jobs. If there’s a job you’ve always been curious about (Pharmaceutical rep? Golf Pro? Editor?), there are online resources that allow you to do a virtual job shadow and see a “day in the life” of someone who does that job. Search categories or see a list of interviews with real people that explain their jobs in detail (including compensation). It’s a great way to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of a career field before you experience it first-hand. (Note: the ads on the jobshadow site are annoying, but it provides great practical information.)

Ready to look for a job? Here are a few organizations and websites devoted to helping women further their career goals to help you on your way:

9to5 National Association for Working Women — the Web site for the 15000 strong organization. Deals with issues of job problems family leave sexual harassment job redesign and other issues related to working women.

The Feminist Majority Foundation — provides a career center that where female job seekers can post their resumes or search through job listings. Also includes an extensive list of internships for women.

National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) — the largest women’s professional association and the largest women business owners’ organization in the country providing resources and services — through education networking and public advocacy — to empower its members to achieve career success and financial security.

Negotiating Women — provides innovative training and consulting to professional women; a company of women committed to help other women. Provides practical advice to help women at every stage of your careers to claim your value and create conditions for success in business. No cost to job-seekers.

WomensJobList.com — is a career site designed to assist women seeking career advancement. Job-seekers can browse for jobs (by occupation/industry) and post your resume as well as find tips and other resources. Free to job-seekers.

WomenSportsJobs — where women who are interested in working in the sports industry (including sports marketing event management community relations coaching athletic administration health & fitness broadcasting and more) can sign-up for subscription-based (and fee-based) job listings as well as submit your resume (for free).

Women’s Village — from IMDiversity.com this site provides valuable information on career opportunities as well as the tools needed to survive and succeed in America’s workplace.

womenworking.com — a career and networking site designed where working women who juggle a career and personal life find strategies for success including advice on navigating work/life leadership and advancement; improving your business skills; and more. No cost to job-seekers.

Know of other sites we should include? Let us know!