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how to get career clarity

5 Ways to Get Career Clarity

Today I’m sharing 5 ways to get career clarity. Have you ever stayed in a career you hate because you don’t know what to do next? Likely, everyone has been here at some point. That’s okay! If anything, it’s actually a good thing you had this experience because you’re learning more about what you don’t want to do. 

With that being said, we don’t want this unhappiness to paralyze us and get in the way of moving forward. When we put so much emphasis on what we don’t want to do, we leave little room for figuring out what we do. The good news is there are always other options!

In my career coaching practice, I find that people often can’t see how their unique skills can be applied to other areas leaving them feeling trapped in a dead-end situation. Secondly, they aren’t familiar with other opportunities out there aside from the industry they work so it’s hard to understand what their options are. 

In order to get the juices flowing, I have outlined some of my favorite ways to help people brainstorm career options and get clarity in their next step. As you go through these exercises, keep an open mind, and don’t worry if you have the skills to do what you want. Those can always be figured out.


Grab a piece of paper and start writing about your dream life. Be specific. There are no wrong answers here. What dream careers come to mind? If you could be anything, what would that be? Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do something more creative? Is there a salary you dream of? Maybe the ability to work remotely? Lead a team, become a freelancer? Write your dream down. 


Listing out all of your skills both professionally and personally is a great way to get a holistic view of what you can offer. Take a look at your resume and start listing out all of the skills you have acquired. Then think about any hobbies, odd jobs you’ve worked, or skills you’ve gained outside of work. Do you know Photoshop? Did you take an advanced Excel course? Do you speak another language? Are you certified in anything? Have you taught a seminar before? Nothing is off the table. 


Talk to someone you trust to get their thoughts. It can be helpful to get an outsider’s perspective on what you excel at and what they see you doing well. 


Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. I always advise taking a look at job descriptions to get a better understanding of what the day-to-day responsibilities might look like. Also, be mindful that jobs can look different across industries and company sizes. For example, you may wear many hats in a small startup whereas your role would be more defined in a corporate setting. You can go a step further and set-up Google or LinkedIn alerts for those companies or positions that interest you. 


If you’re committed to making a change, hiring a reputable coach or mentor could be helpful.  What’s valuable about a coach is that not only will they help you define your next step but they will also help you to start taking steps toward achieving that goal. You also get the added bonus of their network.

Figuring out your career path doesn’t have to be super complicated. These 5 ways will help you to narrow down your direction and move towards career clarity. Continue to research and refine until you’ve found what you want to do.

Have you hired a career coach or mentor before? Did it help? Leave a comment below.