A 10-Step Guide To Finding A Career You Love Right Now

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woman wondering how to find a career you love

Are you wondering how to find a career you love during these turbulent and tumultuous times of the COVID-19 pandemic?

This Summer, 30 million Americans are out of work, many more furloughed, and more who have taken pay cuts or are losing their businesses.

According to the Centers for Disease Contol And Prevention, one in four young Americans aged 18 to 24 years reported that they have seriously considered suicide this June.

RELATED: Why You Shouldn't Put Your Job Search On Hold Because Of Coronavirus

There's high uncertainty over securing work and skills and, most recently, the impact of COVID.

Young adults, who should be launching their working lives, are affected the most from anxiety-provoking world trends and events.

And it's not just the young. Many are right to feel they sailing unprecedented, uncharted seas.

It's perfectly normal to feel confused about what to let go of and what to endure to create a better future.

There's a balance between continuity and change that we all now wrestle with. Start with what endures, and adapt to what will enable you to feel more confident to embrace change.

Here is a 10-step guide on how to find a career you love while in a pandemic.

1. Imagine a better future.

Understand your values and purpose to reimagine your own life. You already have skills and aptitudes. Think about what provides satisfaction to you first before seeking to replicate what you've already done.

Imagine what your new work can do for you. Be bold!

Hard skills are useful — finance, marketing, analytics, sales, etc. But soft skills are essential — likeability, communication, collaboration, and active listening. Take inventory of both your hard and soft skills to show your whole person.

Recognize market reality. The working world during a pandemic is different than what we know.

Virtual work on platforms using apps and global exchanges such as Amazon have emergent possibilities. Meanwhile, retail sales, in-person hospitality and entertainment, commercial real estate, and hierarchical organizations are struggling.

Know how to ask the right questions for self-guidance.

If you can determine what kinds of people, work circumstances, projects, organizational structures, autonomy, and flexibility work best for you, then you can reimagine where you best fit to be truly engaged in your work.

Success factors in your next career phase are determined by your commitment to focus on communicating, networking, lifelong learning, and flexibility.

Reimagine your career paths to be broader than just one field or role. Rather than fixed and predictable from present circumstance and experience, be open to possibilities.

No need to narrowly define yourself to what you already know.

2. Avoid the pitfalls.

Besides narrowly defining oneself to the job you have had, there are other pitfalls that can diminish success to your career planning.

Too many people hinder themselves by having a social justice agenda to change the organization to their own agenda. Young people in particular have been characterized as having entitled attitudes or expectations for continuous affirmation.

Employers and team leaders hire you to find solutions, solve problems, contribute to a team, and be dependable — not to create problems or become a time drain on them and the company.

3. Think about who you are.

Assess your "lived experience" — the experiences you have accumulated that make you a unique knowledgeable actor.

Mine those golden insights, and start to compile those experiences that satisfied you the most.

From those experiences, create a list of your preferences and proclivities.

4. Consider where you fit in.

Cultivate awareness of where you prefer to fit, what environment best suits you, and where you add value and are most valued.

Build your experience on what you know. Expand your comfort zone in terms of the region, field, or industry that you may choose in the future.

For example, a finance professional at a bank or consulting firm could transfer those skills and experience to become a CFO at a non-profit or foundation.

That individual may find applying those finance skills to a cause they care about are more satisfying for meaning and purpose.

5. Network.

Who do you know? Who knows you?

Networking enables you to connect with others to up your game, open mutual and shared opportunities, and to develop business.

Most professional work will now be virtual — your reputation and branding will also be virtual.

Build your online community so others can know you, provide opportunities, and champion you to their contacts.

RELATED: 7 Biggest Job Search Mistakes People Make That Prevent Them From Landing Their Dream Career

6. Choose where you want to live and how you want to work.

Different regions can expand your experience, making you more valuable because you have varied contexts to bring to your work.

Today, you can live in one region and work virtually with anyone, anywhere, at any time, and in any way.

Being a geographically-dispersed worker is becoming more the norm, and the Internet enables both work mobility and living stability.

7. Feel free to cross sectors.

There's a permeable wall between sectors: government, universities, corporations, nonprofits, and start-up and entrepreneurial enterprises.

Experience in each sector broadens your outlook and increases your professional contacts.

For example, working for the IRS for several years can enable a lawyer to become a more valuable tax litigation attorney because they had and a better understanding of how the IRS works.

Parallel paths (working in several fields simultaneously) or sequential work (work in a client organization before you work as an agent or supplier to that company) is a viable approach to your career planning.

8. Find a culture that fits you.

The more aligned your values are to the culture, the better suited, the more successful, and the more comfortable you will be.

For example, Glassdoor is a site that aggregates reviews to see how past employees view a company or organization they have worked for.

Success in a transition may depend on your fit with the boss and the organization’s business culture. Be discerning to avoid a bad match for you.

Inquire, research, and recognize signals that a boss or a company may be wrong for you.

Develop relationships with clients, associates, and professionals who can help co-create or introduce you to opportunities.

Go for the longer-term match for your career development.

9. Make a transition to a better human environment.

Success in a transition may depend on your fit with the boss and the organization’s business culture.

Develop relationships with clients, associates, and professionals, who can help co-create or introduce you to opportunities.

Go for the longer-term match for your career development.

For example, a mergers and acquisitions broker will work with management in several companies. Even if some deals do not go through, those CEOs will get to know the broker. That relationship could blossom into a position in the company through the association on a project.

10. Be flexible and be able to pivot.

Flexibility and ability to pivot come more easily when you master something and you have autonomy, because you can work anywhere for anyone.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder says, "Career plans should leverage your assets, set you in the direction of your aspirations, and account for the market realities."

Focus your game plan on these things in order to be a good team member — lifelong learning; being able to read and send nonverbal and verbal communication signals; and critical thinking, writing and speaking, and being flexible and able to pivot.

Times may have changed, but character, hard work, grit, and relationships endure as lasting virtues and values.

The most significant change is that virtual work is here to stay so you can reimagine your life and career: How you want to work, live, and engage life in a way that makes you feel whole, alive, shiny, and purposeful.

Isn’t that the point of it all?

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Jeff Saperstein is a certified career coach, and author of The Interconnected Individual: Seizing Opportunity in the Era of AI, Platforms, Apps, and Global Exchanges. Contact him on his website.