Contemplating exploring new career opportunities and wondering how to get a job you love? Diving into the job market and trying to figure out what to do after college and how to choose a career?

Whether choosing a career or finding a new job, ask yourself the right questions to make your next professional move a sound and thoughtful decision.

Time is of the essence for a job search so let’s get to it, shall we?

Transitioning from college to the professional world is a huge transition – gone are the flexible schedules, frat parties and summer vacations. But just because these glory days won’t last forever doesn’t mean you have to trade in the good times for a life of miserable 9 to 5’s.

Reflecting on what you want out of your career is not quick and easy. In fact, the process never really truly ends (spoiler alert). It’s never a bad idea to spend time reevaluating what you want out of your career and how to get a job that better aligns with your purpose and goals.

For those already in the workforce, many factors can motivate a job search – the desire for better pay, better management, better company culture, etc. Reflecting on your next move can prevent a professional misstep and save you from future headaches down the road.

Finding Your Purpose

purpose passion mission profession vocation

(Photo Credit:

The image above is a Venn Diagram about finding your purpose. As hokey as that sounds, if you’re a purpose-driven person, this framework is indispensable.

“Profession” lies in the overlap of “You are great at it” and “You are paid for it” – ideally, you’ll find something that you love and the world needs, which is your purpose. Keep in mind that nailing the Profession part is an achievement in itself.

Unlocking your purpose is a journey, not a task. It takes time so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re still figuring out. People spend a good part of their adult lives doing exactly that.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you reflect on what you’re great at:

What has always come easy to you?

What do people ask you for help with?

How would your inner circle of family and friends describe you?

What are your interests?

If you’re stumped, consider these free online career personality tests for more insights:

Briggs Myers Personality Test

MyPlan Career Values Assessment

MAPP Assessment

Career Strengths Test

Choosing A Career

Now that we’ve mastered “You are great at it” circle, onto the “You are paid for it” circle:

Getting paid might seem very “DUH” but it is trickier than meets the eye. It can be challenging to figure out exactly how to turn your talents into a livelihood that earns money.

“Should I work for free?” is a question that people sometimes ask themselves when facing this conundrum. If you love your job but hate the money, this article by Liz Ryan is a must-read.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have people who do things they are great at and earn them money, but hate their jobs with every fiber of their beings.

When tackling the “You are paid for it” circle, the word “paid” is not just about salary, but about compensation in the broadest sense. The questions to ask yourself then become:

What makes me happy and how does this job permit me to enjoy these things, whether financially or as part of the job itself?

Can this job support the lifestyle I envision for myself? If not, can it support forward progress towards this lifestyle?

Are the tradeoffs (e.g. work-life balance, work stress) involved with this job worth this lifestyle?

How does this job pay off in the long run (e.g. income, professional development, networking)?

You have unique motivations and the answers to these questions should inform your job search. Whether you want to make a ton of money or address matters of social justice, the most important thing is to be completely honest with yourself. I guarantee that aligning your job search with your personal and professional priorities will pay off down the stretch.

One Last Dose of Real Talk, Especially to First-Time Job Seekers

It’s not the end of the world to settle for a job that doesn’t check all the checkboxes. Perfect can be the enemy of good when it comes to a job search, especially right after college.

That said, perfect is the enemy of good, not bad – it’s still not advisable to do something that you absolutely hate, even if it pays you more (been there, done that – it’s an automatic “L”). It’s just also not advisable to feel pressure or entitled to live all your dreams at once immediately after college. That takes a rare and often unrealistic combination of luck by way of serious elbow grease.

You might find that the path to determining your profession is more of a zigzag than a straight line, but even the most miserable detours can be transformed into an asset. You grow, gain new skills and build your network along the way. Knowing what not to do is valuable because it strengthens your resolve to move towards your purpose.

Now you see why I said that this wouldn’t be easy? 🙂 If you’re looking for advice on how to choose a career and find the right job or have advice of your own to offer, leave a comment below.

Hopefully you’re already brainstorming new ways to approach your job search and build an intentional professional career. Find the right fit and apply with confidence using The Job Monger’s resume writing services.