It’s never too late to find a career that makes you happy. Many professionals decide to change careers because they’re unhappy in their current situation. But how can you find a new career path that’s right for you? Try asking yourself this question: If I woke up tomorrow as a billionaire, what are the things that I would want to do and support? This question can help you understand what drives you. Once you know your passion, then you can use the method discussed below to help you gain an even greater understanding of yourself and identify the types of careers you should consider.
The Six Mega Career Clusters
After more than 10 years educating and advising students and professionals of all ages and from every industry and hearing their job dissatisfaction stories, I designed six mega career clusters to help job seekers find the right path. To create these six mega career clusters, I studied the 1,110 occupational titles included in the Occupational Information Network‘s 2010 standard occupational classification taxonomy and combined them with insights from the National Career Clusters Framework, which identifies 16 career clusters that are used by schools and workforce groups across the nation.
I’ve used these clusters in my various advisement roles over the years. They can help you decide where to begin the search for a dream career. This method brings the psychological understanding of jobs into very real alignment with career aspirations. Once you identify your ideal cluster or clusters, choosing from among the 1,110 occupational titles can become more manageable. You’ll be less likely to waste time looking in the wrong career funnel, and you can quickly determine the career that could make you happiest.
Mavens are individuals who seem to be in the know. They are risk takers. They enjoy engaging in adventures and being around other people. These individuals are the ones that can talk someone into doing almost anything. They see beauty in interesting places, and they are super creative. Mavens are conversationalists, and they often leap then look. Career options include jobs involving art, communication, media, marketing, sales, hospitality and tourism. If you’re a maven but want to do something more, check out the visionaries category.
Naturalists are individuals who love nature. They have a love for science as it relates to humans, animals and all living things. Naturalists are perhaps the most balanced of the mega career clusters. They use reason to solve problems but also understand beauty and creation in all of their forms. This group includes environmentalists, farmers and those who work in energy and conservation. It also includes people who work in labs. Naturalists also work in fields like human services where they’re helping people emotionally. If you feel that you’re more interested in the sciences — and in using science to answer questions — than in nature, keep reading because you might be a visionary too.
These individuals are likely to make decisions based on the letter of the law, which they will maintain at all times. They may be less likely to question authority, even if they disagree. These are the people you can trust to tell your secrets to because they tend to be private and crave order. They protect people, information and structures. Protectors may find careers in public administration or cybersecurity. They also may become lawyers, police officers and correctional officers.
Organizers carry out the plan of the visionaries, and they often ensure that businesses comply with current regulations. Organizers often develop the scope of projects, which can include training people on the plan. These individuals might have titles like director or manager. They may work in accounting, human resources, operations and education. This is a very big category that includes traits and interests that intersect with many of the other categories. If you identify yourself as an organizer, you may want to see how you match up with the other categories to get yourself in the right funnel to begin your career research.
If you want something fixed, call a specialist. Specialists are critical thinkers who are often mechanically inclined. They usually have a knack for seeing and understanding how things operate. This group is made up of problem-solvers who take pride in their work and often show great attention to detail. Specialists often hold titles like technician, contractor or operator and work in the construction and manufacturing industries or other trades. Architects, surveyors, beauticians and technical drafters also fall into this category.
Visionaries tend to have the ability to see the big picture. They’re often driven to advance their understanding of a concept or an idea through fact-finding. Many visionaries are entrepreneurs and forward-thinking individuals in fields involving science, technology, engineering and math. Visionaries also are likely to have many of the traits listed in the other five clusters. For example, they often take risks like mavens and solve problems like specialists. They’re those individuals who can be good at almost anything. At first, identifying yourself as a visionary may seem overwhelming because you have so many career options from which to choose. You can overcome this anxiety by identifying what will make you happiest. Referring back to the question you asked yourself earlier, if you woke up tomorrow as a billionaire, what are the things you would spend your time and money on? These answers can help you define your passion. That can tell you which other mega clusters to consider.
Once you’ve identified the career cluster or clusters that best match your personality, you will likely be better equipped to identify the optimal career pathway. Defining yourself first can make your career search more effective.
This article originally appeared in Forbes
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