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The 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Identifying a Suitable Career Path

career path Jan 24, 2024

67% of professionals are disengaged or actively disengaged at work, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall into the majority!

Armed with the right information, you can find your way towards becoming part of the 33% of professionals who are engaged at work.

Particularly, Gallup explains that “employee engagement includes emotional and social needs, like doing work that you are good at and connecting your work with a higher purpose.”

Let’s talk about how you can get there!

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1. It is actually feasible to clarify your best-fit career path

First, you may not have known that there is any proven process to clarify one’s career path.

We often take career assessments that leave us wanting more. We often look at those around us who lack career clarity and think that is the norm.

But our partner and friends at WOKEN have both created a proven exploration process and a definition for professionals to understand what “career exploration” means, how to do it, and why you’d do it.

WOKEN defines career exploration as “a process that is distinct from and a precursor to the job search, including a series of steps of practical learning and self-reflection in order to compare, contrast, and clarify which career direction you are confident in pursuing.”

Let’s take a deeper dive below to get under the hood of what career exploration is and how and why you should pursue it.

If you’re in the middle of your job search and not seeing results, you want to ask yourself if a) you need to understand how to more strategically go about your job search, or b) are you lacking clarity on which path makes sense for you to pursue?

Depending on which challenges you’re facing, you will be able to best diagnose your next steps. But often, we pursue the job search without clarity on which role, industry, and work environment is most suitable, and this can slow down our search.

The three main benefits to doing career exploration before your job search are a) being more efficient in identifying networking and job opportunities, b) leading more compelling interviews (and increasing the odds of landing the job), c) increasing the odds of job fulfillment once you land the job.

It can be overwhelming, stressful, and more time-consuming to pursue a variety of directions at once, not to mention less effective.

Remember, if you have a clear career story and direction, it will resonate best with those that you are networking and interviewing with.

Remember, even if you’ve already started your job search, but you are feeling that you want or need more clarity, you can take a step back, and take a pause to focus on exploration before you revisit any applications or outreach. It could do you wonders!

3. Your mindset is impacting your career decisions

Whether it's conscious or subconscious, your mindset is impacting your actions and your outcomes, thus, it is important to dig deep, build self awareness, and understand how you’re feeling about your career path.

There are various common fears and hesitations that sometimes we have come to think of as normal, and we get comfortable relying on those nerves.

But if you engage a coach, peer, or mentor to support you, you will ensure that you are not making a decision based on an assumption, a lack of information, or a limiting belief.

4. The process of “career exploration” doesn’t have to take forever

People often think they will go years or decades without ever clarifying their path.

When you commit to the process in one condensed, focused timeframe, it is a lot easier to get the clarity and answers you need, rather than spreading out your efforts over a longer course of time.

As a career coach who has guided professionals through “career exploration” for 10 years, I have seen hundreds of professionals follow our career exploration process and gain clarity by putting in 2–3 hours per week for 2–3 months.

I have also seen people approach this in a “full time” sort of manner, where they can only focus on exploration and gain clarity in about 1 month’s time.

There doesn’t need to be a never ending spiral of uncertainty, if you have the right support, structure, and guidance to navigate your career exploration process.

5. There is a “career exploration” process that you can learn and follow

Rather than assume you’ll never have clarity or that no one has clarity and that there is no way to gain clarity, you want to go find the resources and support out there to guide you through career exploration. You can choose to focus your attention on career exploration and find relevant support to navigate the journey.

Similarly, we often assume we have all the tools and knowledge to know how to job search. I’d start by “knowing what you don’t know” and seeking out guidance to navigate career processes in a more informed manner. The benefit is that you’ll feel less alone and become more efficient, strategic, and effective with your career efforts and outcomes.

6. Learning + Reflection → Clarity

Action is everything. Instead of feeling stuck in a spiral of reflection, or stuck in a spiral of research, remember that wherever there are unknowns, there can be questions.

And wherever there are questions, there can be answers. And wherever there is answers and information, you can then strategize and inform a decision.

Take comfort in knowing that you can always learn, or reflect, to close the gaps and get closer to clarity.

In brief, the career exploration process includes practical steps such as:

a) deeply understanding yourself (functional affinities, problem areas of interest, and environment you thrive in)

b) narrowing in on a few roles and industries that seem like relevant, viable options
c) briefly doing online research to scratch the surface of learning

d) hosting informational chats with professionals in your target fields to gain an accurate, concrete understanding of these paths

e) relating what you’re hearing back to yourself

f) pivoting to inform your next steps and what you want to learn more about, until clarity is reached

Learn more about the career exploration process here.

Career support exists!

While career coaches sometimes get a bad reputation and there is definitely a variance in what’s out there, there are in fact numerous impactful support systems (tools, coaches, communities) that are all ready to support you.

Remember that while you pursue career processes whether it’s career exploration, upskilling, personal branding, networking, job searching, interviewing, advancement and promotions, or other processes, that you are not alone. Seek out the right guidance to ensure you can feel supported during your career journey.

For me, my goal is to ensure that any professional can feel not only supported but intentional, aligned, and strategic with your approach.  

🔥 FREE TRIAL: Get Started with LoopCV & Send Out 100s of Highly-Targeted Job Applications in <10 Minutes


Author Bio

Rachel Serwetz' early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. After this, she worked in HR Research at Aon Hewitt and attained her Technology MBA at NYU Stern. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration and for the past 6+ years she has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of clarifying their ideal job and career path. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Binghamton University and as a Career Coach through the Flatiron School/WeWork, Columbia University, and Project Activate. Learn more about WOKEN here: iamwoken.com.


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