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How to effectively and efficiently brainstorm career ideas online

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The majority of workers are unhappy with their career. Right Management conducted a 2013 survey with low results for job satisfaction - only 19% said they were satisfied with their jobs. Another 16% said they were “somewhat satisfied.”

When you are looking to define your ideal career direction, brainstorming career ideas can be a challenging process. There is no website out there that can magically give you ideas or tell you what you should be doing. Nor is there a career test that can do that. The process takes time and effort and as a result, can be daunting and overwhelming for career seekers. On top of this, changing jobs is a stressful task. Many of us as a result, end up giving up on our search and stay in a job that is not right for us.

There are ways to effectively and efficiently brainstorm career ideas, the key is to remain organized and conduct your search in a methodical, practical way. Here are some preliminary steps to help you break it down into actionable items you can complete once a week for example. Remember, having a plan is critical. Decide how much time you can spend on your research each week before diving in so your expectations are set correctly!

First, there are two ways to brainstorm ideas: Online research and brainstorming with friends and family.

We will start with online research and in our next article discuss brainstorming with friends and family. To conduct an effective brainstorming session online you must follow this 4 step process. (Watch this video for additional advice: 4 ways to brainstorm career ideas.)

  • Keywords – Spend 10 minutes creating a list of keywords you want to use to search online. They can include your interests as well as talents and skills. Write them down and as you use them in your search, identify those which are helpful and those which are not. Cross out those that are not.
  • General search sites – Plug your keywords into general search sites like Google, Bing etc placing words like careers using financial analysis, jobs working with animals or careers related to event planning.
  • Brainstorming sites – Plug your keywords into these career brainstorming sites to generate additional ideas:

  • Job boards – Finally, search on the job boards using your keywords as well to see what positions contain these keywords and if they would be interesting to you.

In this first step of online research, the key is to stay organized. Keep track of the keywords that are helpful. Copy and paste the links you want to revisit later, using this Excel spreadsheet to help you remain organized in your search! Sample Job Search Excel Sheet:



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