If you’ve ever been asked “what’s your dream job?” and walked away from the conversation scratching your head, then you’re not alone. It’s a question that can promote anxiety and frustration when you can’t come up with a simple answer. If you don’t know how to find your professional passion then being asked this can trigger fears and doubts about whether you’re on the right path.
Whether it comes from a well-meaning parent, curious teacher or a friend with good intentions, the idea behind the question is simple. Find your professional passion, get paid for it, and live happily ever after. However, that’s a very high expectation to put on yourself and loads up any decision around your future study or career with heaviness and a sense of FOMO.
Though this struggle is felt by people of all ages and backgrounds, it can be particularly stressful for younger people who haven’t had as many opportunities to try out different jobs. Younger people often feel more limited in their options, whether that’s pressure to continue in a family business, take the ‘safe’ option, or simply because of where they live.
This question is also why Careers Event exists! It’s an opportunity for you to “test the waters” and speak with many friendly industry experts who can give you a sense of what a potential career path looks like. With the explosion of online learning and hybrid course models, the range of career and study paths available has never been higher.
With an abundance of options, it can also be tough to decide since there will always be a sense of “what if?”. That’s why the team at Careers Event recently got together to brainstorm our best tips around how to find your professional passion.
How to find your job passion
There’s a range of ways you can start to hone in on a career path that feels like the right fit for you. Your professional passion should take into account your personality style (such as being introverted), range of interests, income needs and expectations, and how motivated you are to turn your passion into your profession.
Some great questions to ask yourself also include:
How do you like to spend your free time? The activities you spend your time on when money isn’t a driving factor are a good place to start. Brainstorm a short list of things you love doing and think about what a career would look like if you blended 2-3 of them together.
When and where do you feel happiest? Some people find that their greatest motivation and joy come from their environment. That can also include the kinds of people they like to be surrounded by. Think about situations where you feel calm, confident and most like an authentic expression of yourself…then start exploring which professions combine those together.
What topics do you love talking about with friends and family? You know, the ones where you could talk forever given half a chance! The things you love to read, research and learn about highlight where your professional passion may lie.
What are your natural strengths? Everybody has strengths, even if they’re slightly hidden. There are tasks and activities that may feel easy and effortless for you to do, while others may struggle and find difficult. That’s a good sign you’re on the right path to finding your professional passion. Make a list of all your strengths and talents (or ask others what they think you’re good at) then go looking for professions that are looking for people just like you!
Should your job be your passion?
There are 2 different schools of thought around this. Some say you should use your free time to focus on your passion through hobbies, sports or projects and that work should be just what you do to pay the bills. Others believe your job MUST be your passion and you should love ever minute of it. At Careers Event, we feel that this is a personal preference and ultimately, you’re in the best position to decide what’s right for you.
We also encourage you to dream big and set your sights high. You should aim for the career path that’s going to leave you feeling fulfilled and like you can be yourself every day. If you feel like you have to be somebody else or are making decisions to please parents or teachers then it’s unlikely to be the right direction for you. You may be able to make it work for a while, but sooner or later you’ll find yourself wishing you’d made a different choice.
It’s also OK to change your mind later in life and go in a different direction. We like to remind young people that it’s become common for people to have multiple “mini careers” over their working life, so you don’t need to feel like you’re locked into one thing for your life. This helps take some of the pressure off the decision about study and work.
How to find your passion and make it your job
Ultimately, there is no substitute for life experience and trying different things out. Young people about to begin their working lives should approach study and career paths with an open mind. Speak to as many contacts and industry experts as you can, seek out internships and work experience opportunities, and try helping out on different projects that interest you. By giving things a go for yourself, very quickly you’ll figure out what feels right for you.
We feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface with these tips, which is why we put together the Careers Event webinar hub. This is the perfect place to seek out more information about how to find your professional passion. You can explore a range of webinars and resources from universities, colleges and other career providers and find your dream job!
Expand your vision. Dream big. Go for it.
PS. Are you following us on Instagram? We regularly post event details and helpful tips there.