Taking Stock: Part 3- Interests

Choosing a Career That Interests Me!

The question I often get from people is how I can find a career that is somehow related to an activity that I enjoy participating in or something that I am interested in pursuing. My answer to this question is always the same in that finding a “best fit” between your interests and what you do as a career always starts with the answer to one question; what is it about these activities that make you interested? This task sounds pretty simple right!?  After all, who knows us better than we know ourselves? In reality, the answer may not be readily apparent or even concrete enough to be that obvious without further self- reflection. The root reason for being interested in an activity, hobby or even an interest in working for a specific industry, with a specific employer, or even in a desired geographic location may relate more to a feeling or how the interest resonates with a particular value that is important for you rather than something that is tangible.

Trying to define a new career direction is complicated enough, so as a career development practitioner I strongly support the idea of simplifying the process. I have found that helping my clientele to deconstruct an interest always serves them well as it helps them better define the root reason for their interest.

This is the approach I have used with success!

1. First, let’s look at what the word interest means. For our purposes, I like the definition of interest as it is used as a verb in the following way; “Excite the curiosity or attention of (someone)”

An example of this may be; “I thought the book might be of interest to me” or “I am interested in travelling to Europe as I want to learn more about art history”

Some of the Synonyms for interest are: appeal to, be of interest to, attract, intrigue, fascinate

Now obviously, interests as it relates to career decision making is more complex as it also relates to your preferences in the activities of your work. Some examples may be tasks as analyzing information and interpreting it for others, figuring out how things work or investigating new things.

2. Secondly, now that we know that an interest is something (an activity, task), someone, or some place that attracts intrigues or fascinates us our next step is to determine what is about it that makes it so fascinating. For example, there may be many possibilities of why someone is interested in antiques. Some of these reasons could include an interest, curiosity or skill in things such as history, the search, negotiation, repair and restoration, sharing knowledge, collecting, research, the people, travel and even self- employment. The great thing about this is that all of these reasons could lead to additional types of career possibilities that involve one or many of the above noted reasons.

3. Thirdly, since a person’s interests are only one part of the larger career choice picture, considering their values, motivations, personality, strengths, skills when painting the picture of who they are and how these factors have been part of both their vocational and avocational past to identify common threads provides additional fodder to further explore future career possibilities.

4. Lastly, utilizing the services of a career development professional can be helpful as they can help you look at all of the factors mentioned above on a very formal basis through the use of interest inventories such as the Strong Interest Inventory The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) or a more informal online interest inventory would be the I Seek Career Cluster Inventory at the University of Minnesota. Both of these inventories are career assessments tools that may be used in career counseling.  Just as the informal deconstruction exercise does these two assessment tools provide insight into a person’s interests, so that they may have less difficulty in deciding on an appropriate career choice and identify possible career clusters, career industries that relates to their interests and that can be explored in more depth.

Whatever, you decide to use to further explore your interests understanding what they are and why they resonate with you as an individual will provide you with an additional level of information that will be invaluable as you journey through the career transition process.

Next Up: Personality

Brian Lambier has over 26 years of experience in the human resources, career and retirement coaching fields and is presently President/Owner of Career Vitality Services Inc. in Calgary. The Career Vitality Services team believe that the cornerstone to service is to help you discover your passion so you can live your dream.