Too often people look for a job simply to pay the bills. Of course we have to meet our financial obligations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan and prepare for a career that truly fulfills us.

Do you long to do something different? Do you have untapped talents? Are you spinning your wheels and tired of doing work that doesn’t feed your soul? Here are some suggestions for finding the career you deserve.

Find Your Aptitudes

Some people are very aware of the their talents but many of us need a little guidance. There are online resources and in-person career counselors that provide aptitude assessments to determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

With just a few clicks of your mouse, the right questionnaire can give you a better understanding of your interests, skill set, and the fields where you might find the most fulfillment.

Upgrade Your Training

You may find that you are in the right workplace or industry but lack the skills, certificate, or degree required to advance. If there is a promotion or position that appeals to you, find out what you need to do to get it and start working to reach your goal. 

A higher degree may be required. This is a significant investment of your time (and money) but if it helps you reach your goal it may be worth it. As an alternative, find out if onsite training or certifications would provide the qualifications you need. These take a lot less time and money to complete.

Consider Unpaid Work

Most of us struggle to handle the responsibilities we already have, so considering unpaid work likely seems insane, masochistic, or both. Unfortunately, that first step into a new career is the hardest step. Without the proper educational and professional background, you could get a lot of doors slammed in your face.

Volunteering or doing an internship may be the best way to open that door. You will get on-the-job training, gain valuable experience, and make contacts. It may be tough to carve out the time, but it will be worth it.

Update Professional Profiles

Create a list of all of your skills and experiences, and update your profile on LinkedIn and other professional websites. 

Search for terms and phrases associated with your desired line of work and be sure to include these in your virtual resume. Consider writing blog posts and sharing links to your feed to establish yourself as a voice in the field that interests you. 

Secure Killer References

No matter how qualified you look on paper, prospective employers will want to talk to some coworkers and supervisors to verify your skills and work habits. For this reason, you should choose your references wisely.

Pick people who have first-hand knowledge of your work and who are aware of skills you have that align with the job you are seeking. If you can get one or two supervisors to write letters of recommendation, attach them to your online profiles and applications.

Getting into the career that you deserve will take effort and may require you to make some lifestyle changes. In the end, however, getting up every day with a sense of purpose will make it all worth while!