What if you have lots of skills and abilities? How do you get specific about what you want to do?

Instead of thinking about the kind of job you want, think about the skills you love to use and the impact you want to have.

You can do lots of things. However, there are some things you like to do more than others. What are those? What are the things you do that make you lose track of time? That bring a smile to your face without your even knowing it? That you always gravitate to, and do even when you seem not to have time or patience to do some other things?

Then, think about the impact you want to have with your work. You’ve identified the skill syou want to use. Now consider what those skills will do. What effect will you have? What’s your purpose in using these skills, talents and abilities?

One great exercise is to write your own elegy, in the voice of someone who loves you. In other words, what would someone who really loves you say about you at your funeral? What will be your legacy in all aspects of your life? When I did it, I found the elegy incredibly revealing about what matters to me and my life purpose.

Taking these two threads together – skills and impact – it’s possible to search for occupations that use those skills and aim for that impact.

  • When you know your purpose and what you love to do, you can ask people at informational interviews where you might fit given those parameters.
  • You can search job boards for job descriptions that contain YOUR keywords.
  • Search the web for companies that focus on the kind of impact you want to make, and see if there is someone there you can talk to about the skills you want to use.
  • Use LinkedIn to search for people who might be in your extended network, either at relevant companies, or who are using the skills you have. See what jobs they have or had.

This way, you begin to form a sense of the kind of jobs you could apply for. And when you find those jobs, you can compare them to your skills “wish list” to see if there really is a match.