When I look back at my personal and professional history, where my career is right now could not make more sense. It took some time and I flirted with several different career paths along the way, but I feel like I’ve found the right path for me and discovered my ‘USP’ (unique selling point).
Although, when I really think about it – it isn’t a singular USP. It’s several different qualities, skills and experiences that have been drawn together to form a sort of tapestry USP.
It’s been quite the journey and I know for some, coming to understand what their USP is and even what they want from a career is a challenge. Maybe you struggle to know what makes you unique in your sector or you’re simply not sure which way to turn in your career. Perhaps you feel unfulfilled and are yearning for more.
If you can relate to any of these situations, I’ve put together a few prompts that I hope will get you thinking and moving in the right direction.
What do people come to you for?
This is a point I always come back to when thinking about careers and even developing confidence. All of us have something to offer, it’s just a case of tapping into it. Think about what people ask you about or even compliment you on.
Do you get compliments on your cupcake baking skills? Do people always ask for your advice when it comes to managing money? Whatever it is, explore it.
What qualities have served you well in previous jobs?
Even though some jobs aren’t right for us, we can usually learn something from them. Think about past jobs and what elements you really enjoyed or found you were good at. When I worked in retail, there were lots of things about it I didn’t like, but the thing I was good at was customer service.
I found talking to customers and helping to solve their problems really satisfying (well most of the time…!). Being able to empathise and ask the right questions made me good at this, and those are qualities I’m now developing as a coach.
What brings you joy and fulfilment?
Knowing what you’re good at is one thing, but just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to pick it as a career. While I felt I was pretty good at helping customers in clothes shops, and it felt good to help them – it wasn’t exactly joyful or fulfilling. Not enough at least.
Writing was the thing that brought me the most joy. I fumbled around different writing careers, including music journalist and fashion writer – but as it turned out, I didn’t get enough fulfilment out of them either. It wasn’t until I got my job where I am now and started writing about mental health and wellbeing that I felt truly fulfilled.
What’s important to you?
This follows on from what brings you fulfilment. Consider your values and what is important for you to have in the work you do. It may be to help people or it may be to earn enough money to provide for your family.
We’re all different, so try to shut out any external noise telling you what’s ‘good’ or ‘important’ and stay true to your own values and what you find important.
These are some starting points at least. For most of us it’s a journey and it can take dabbling in different fields to find one that fits perfectly. Be curious, try different things and don’t be scared of failing – our failures put us on the right path.
Hope this has been useful, would love to hear how your career journey is going – have you found your USP or are you still searching?
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