Often, all it takes to identify your dream career is a clear picture of your personal preferences and style. People tend to success best at things that they enjoy, that utilize their strengths, and that happen in the kind of environment and structure they enjoy. Answering the ten sets of questions below will give you concrete insight into the qualities a career choice should have to be the ideal one for you .
Take your time with them, and write your answers down. It may take you several days to decide how you really feel about some of the questions, but it's worth the effort to figure them out. As you work with them, make notes about any career possibilities that come to mind.
1. Your Strengths
What do you do better or more easily than others? What skill do you have that seems to come naturally to you? What subject did you find easiest in school? What knack do you have that others say they wish they had? What activities leave you feeling more energetic when you complete them then when you started? What gives you a sense of real satisfaction or pride?
2. Your interests
What unfailingly grabs your interest? What kinds of magazines do you look for when you're in a waiting room? What kinds of movies do you rent? What types of books do you read? What types of stores do you love to visit? What types of catalogs do you like to browse through? What types of sites do you look for online? Who are your heroes?
3. Your Idea of Fun
What's your idea of a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon? What's fun for you? What kinds of things did you like to do when you were a kid? What hobby do you most enjoy? What hobby would you like to get involved with? If you will a free week-long vacation of your choice, what would you spend it doing?
4. Your Dissatisfactions
If you could change three things about your lifestyle, what would they be?
5. Your Favorite Media and Materials
What kinds of materials and tools do you enjoy handling? What are your favorite toys? Do you enjoy interacting with animals? Plants? Some aspect of the natural world?
6. Your Problem-Solving Style
What types of problems are you good at solving? Would you say that you're more analytical or creative? If you're both, do you prefer one mode over the other? Which one? What would be your ideal mix?
7. Your Preferred Environment
What kind of environment do you prefer? Would you rather spend most of your time indoors or outside? Do you like to spend time in a fixed location or to go from place to place? If you prefer to play inside, would you prefer a place that's filled with stimulation and activity or one that's quiet? If you prefer to play outside, what climate do you want to work in? How much organization and order do you need in your work area?
8. Interpersonal Preferences
What's your people style? Do you prefer to lead or to support a leader? Would you rather work on a project alone or with others? Do you like to be involved with a partner, a close team of people, or to have others work independently around you? Would you prefer to work with one gender or the other, or with a mix of both? Do you prefer a lot of feedback from others, or are you more comfortable judging your work yourself? Do you like to be in the spotlight, or to work quietly out of sight?
9. Tasking Style
What kind of tasking do you prefer? Do you prefer structured assignments or to design your own way to get something done? Do you like a regular routine or a day filled with variety and surprise? Do you prefer to follow a regular schedule or to allow your mood or energy level to dictate your activities?
10. Your Risk Quotient
Do you prefer adventure and risk or peace and security? Do you prefer physical or mental activities more? Do you prefer big challenges or less demanding ones that let you move step by step towards progressive goals? Do you want excitement and the feeling of living on-the-edge, or would you prefer consistency and predictability?
If your answers do not immediately make your dream situation clear to you, they'll definitely help you narrow it down. Ask other people what kinds of career choices they can think of that would meet as many of the criteria as possible that your answers reveal. Or use your answers as the basis for a resume and post it online or mail it to every head-hunter and employment agency you can find. It could bring a surprising response that's custom-tailored just for you.