Try these ways to help discover the perfect career field for you.
1. Go to Meetup groups.
Especially on topics you are unfamiliar with. You'll be introduced to people you wouldn't usually meet. Meetups are free, informal, and informative! From foreign languages and bloggers to entrepreneurship and iOS Development, thousands of Meetup groups take place every week, so you have no excuse not to include one in your busy schedule.
2. Talk to people. People your senior.
They have more experience in different sectors. Listen to what they say about other jobs they’ve had. What did they like or not like about the job? Do you have a similar personality or interests as this person? If so, you may find you like similar jobs as them. If you can rule out jobs in certain fields based on other’s experience, great! One less job you’ll have to try out.
3. Take an introductory class or workshop.
Oftentimes, a workshop, seminar, or intro class will teach valuable "hard" skills that will immediately tell you whether or not you find a job appealing. Many large city organizations offer seminars with influential public speakers. Go to in-person discussions, such as the ones offered by General Assembly. There is usually a fee attached, but it's an investment in your longterm professional development.
4. Try MOOCs.
These open online courses are free and easy to use. Some even offer certifications upon completion from an accredited university. Well-known ones are EdX and Coursera, but there are also more specialized Interested in business? Try My Own Business, Inc. Medicine? Take a course from Johns Hopkins. Want to code? Try Codeacademy or Google Developers. But beware, the unstructured environment and lack of face-to-face interaction can make these classes difficult to complete.
5. Read news from different industries.
Do you always flip to the Business section? The Arts? Maybe Home & Garden? The news you read in your spare time could be a clear indication of your interests and “hidden” passions.
The stress of a full-time job requires little time to develop outside interests, especially professionally. Volunteer for a few hours over the weekend for an event or cause. Help decorate for an art opening, do check-in at a charity event, or work on a campaign. Volunteering can be a great way to get exposed to different fields without the commitment of a paid position.
7. Go to informational interviews.
Schedule a couple informational interviews every month during your lunch break. As they are just inquiries as to the line of work or company, not for specific job openings, they are often easier to schedule and less stressful for both parties. They usually don’t require you to dress quite as formally as a job interview, so they won’t raise any red flags with your boss.
8. Take on other tasks at your current job.
This will allow you to expand your skillset while introducing you to other lines of work within your current workplace. In marketing but interested in design? Try your hand at brand development. A paralegal interested in tech? Learn litigation support and database management. In the nonprofit sector but like writing? Ask to help with fundraising and grants. Just be sure to check with your boss before taking on more responsibility.
9. Take a career workshop.
Although the value in these workshops is debatable, they may lead you to discover something you didn’t already know. Do you prefer to work in contemplative solitude, or are you a social bee? Crave minutiae, or the big picture? Better to delegate tasks, or to carry them out? A career workshop may be a good option for someone who is entirely unsure.
10. Be patient.
To use the cliché, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your perfect career. It may be disheartening to work at a job you dislike, but think of the alternative: unemployment. Shop around a little while before accepting another job. Just as businesses are reviewing your qualifications, you should be reviewing theirs.