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Brainstorming career ideas: Look outside your zip code

We have clients all the time who have trouble coming up with a list of things they want in a job. It’s hard to pull things out of the air sometimes, especially when most of what you come up with are things you don’t want to have instead of what you do want to have.

My career coaching client Margaret in Atlanta said she had a hard time pulling ideas of what she wanted out of thin air. This is understandable, it can be difficult to define what you want when you haven’t had anything you have really enjoyed work-wise in the past. So here are a couple of ways to help you overcome that obstacle.

First, ask friends and family when you are hanging out with them in the next few weeks – what do they like and dislike about their jobs. This will give you tangible examples of things you can add to your list as you go. You don’t have to interview them, just weave it into the conversation. Ask them a couple of questions and boom – you’re good to go.

Second, when you’re brainstorming career ideas, look outside your zip code, even if you are not willing to move. Finding jobs that look appealing, even if they are in other locations, can give you a list of things you want to have. Or at least the beginnings of a list – that you can add to your ideas about what you want. Having a tangible example of a job that looks appealing to you is not only informational because it gives you ideas about what you would like to have, but it is also incredibly motivating because, you feel like you have finally found something that you could enjoy doing.

Once you have those examples, it helps you being to paint the picture of what you want instead, rather than focusing on why you are so unhappy at your current job. So go ahead, use keywords for talents, interests, and possible career ideas inside but also outside your zip code. It will help you expand your thinking just a little more, to capture and create that image of your ideal job. This can help you not just find a job, but find the right career path for you.

Hallie Crawford
Career Coach