For many Americans, the job they have today will likely not be the job they have down the road. Tory Johnson, chief executive officer of womenforhire.com, says it's not uncommon for people to change careers as many as four to seven times in a lifetime.
Johnson appeared on "Good Morning America" to discuss why people makes those changes and what to do if you're not one of the procrastinators, but someone who knows what you want, but doesn't know how to get it.
Below are some tips from Johnson to find the right job for you.
Here are some specific strategies to help you pinpoint a career goal:
Identify your knowledge, skills and abilities. Whip out the old yellow pad and ask yourself a few basic questions:
What am I really good at? What do I love doing? What excites me? What bores me? What frustrates me? These kinds of questions help identify strengths and weaknesses. To help you pinpoint those specifics, focus on your knowledge, skills and abilities.
The key here is to focus on hard skills, not just behavioral traits. The worst offender: "I'm a people person." That could apply to retail sales, nursing, a school teacher, a TV producer. So when you're doing this exercise, go beyond those basics.
Ask those closest to you their opinions of your strengths and talents too. Sometimes friends and colleagues think of you as the "go to" person anytime they have to write a letter because your writing and editing skills are exceptional. Or maybe you're a computer whiz who can fix any bug.
Additionally, think about the tasks that you enjoy doing -- things that make you happy -- and figure out what skills are involved. For example, maybe you love shopping and interior decorating, so perhaps a career in retail merchandising is up your alley.
Examine what's out there. Sometimes it's easier to figure out what you want by seeing what other people have. A few easy ways to do that:
Grab the Sunday Help Wanted section and circle the job postings that really excite you -- pay no mind to industry, pay, level of experience required. Just mark the positions that really excite you. From there, narrow it down to the top one or two then figure out what it'll take to pursue them. If you're missing key skills, make a plan for how to get them -- either through a course, volunteer work or even asking for an additional assignment in your current job.
Attend career fairs. Women For Hire hosts career expos in 10 major cities throughout the country for women looking for new jobs. Even if you aren't sure of what you're looking for, career fairs are an ideal venue for finding out what employers are currently hiring for.
Talk to other people about what they do, which can open your eyes to a myriad of possibilities. You don't have to be too obtrusive: Do an informational interview via e-mail where you ask permission to pose five questions about someone's career that you admire. Ask what skills are required to be successful in this line of work. Often times you'll discover that you might indeed possess those very skills, but never figured out how to put them to use. Remember that this initial process is about pinpointing the goal, not getting the actual job.
Aim high, but be realistic. Make a list of three people -- either those you know personally, or those you just know of -- who are doing jobs that you envy. Think of people who cause you to say, "Wow! I'd love to do that." Create a tree using that person/position as the trunk and branch out from there.
Maybe you can't be a ballerina but that doesn't stop you from pursuing a career in the arts. With a passion for ballet, perhaps you're well-suited for a position in administration at a performing arts center or within a company that manufactures or sells tutus.
Or maybe you dream about being the next Anna Kournikova, but you're a terrible tennis player. How about working in sports marketing or for a major league team or stadium?
Keep in mind that passion for a particular industry or line of work counts for a lot. Even if you're missing one or two core skills, that knowledge and passion can often compensate for that.
Branch out beyond your current goal. If you've been searching for a while and can't seem to nail the position you had hoped for, think about parallel opportunities. For example, your goal is working at a fashion magazine, but none of the publications in your area are hiring. You can consider affiliated companies, events and related organization that will provide you with exceptional experience, a steady income, and will keep you connected to the same industry so that when something is available at the magazine you're ready for it. Ad agencies, fashion houses, PR firms, consumer products targeting women, breast cancer awareness organizations, fashion show producers, etc.