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When you were a child, you were probably asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. You’ve likely given different answers over the years as you’ve gotten older, but now you’re facing an entirely new problem: You don’t actually know what you want to do. If this is you, don’t panic! Here’s how to begin mapping out your career.

Start by being deliberate

Few people in life actually fall into the right job on the first try, so you can’t assume you will find the perfect position immediately, especially if you aren’t definitive about a career path.

The first step is identifying your interests and what you’re good at. If you don’t know, you’ll keep stumbling into jobs that may or may not work. By taking an inventory of what you’re passionate about and what your strong skills are, you can begin narrowing down your career search.

Begin market research

After you’ve identified your strengths that come naturally to you as well as what you like to do, you can begin researching the kinds of careers that align with these areas. Make a list of potential careers and look for ways to engage directly with professionals involved in those fields.

Many industries and professional organizations hold networking events to help professionals meet and connect with each other. By finding these events and attending, you can have exploratory conversations with the people who do the work every day to see if it would line up with your strengths and interests.

Learn more about your new industry

After some research, you will have a better idea about what field you’d like to enter. However, it typically takes a lot of soul searching and honesty before you feel confident in pursuing your chosen field. To gain some assurance, set up time to talk with professionals in the industry and learn everything you can, including any skills gaps you may experience.

By knowing where you need to improve in order to succeed, you can figure out ways to close those gaps. One suggestion is to take a job that may not be your final career destination, but will provide you with the necessary skills to get where you want to go.

Always be honest with yourself

Without a thoughtful approach, your attempts at finding your dream career will be a shot in the dark and won’t help you succeed. The key is to keep having conversations with mentors and to always be honest about your strengths and what differentiates you from your competition.

Connect your strengths to a career with Gainor Staffing

At Gainor Staffing, we’ve been developing long-lasting partnerships with leading New York City businesses for more than 30 years, and we’ve set the standard for professionalism and responsiveness. If you’re looking for a career in human resources, creative media/marketing, reception, finance, or administrative work, Gainor will help you get there.