Tips For Starting Your Career Search The Right Way

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Finding the right job for you can be challenging

Whether you’re looking for a new career opportunity or entering the workforce for the first time, finding the right job can be tricky and time-consuming. You’ll likely want to find work that interests you, fits your needs, provides long-term fulfillment, and leads to financial stability. As you begin to develop your career path, some self-reflection, research, and preparation can ensure you’re heading in a direction that works for you. In this article, we’re providing you with several tips for starting your career search. 

Consider your interests

A good way to start your job search is to think about the activities and subjects you already enjoy. While it is not always feasible, following a career path that aligns with your passions provides you with the opportunity to engage with your interests while earning an income.

Consider what interests you outside of the workplace as well as what you’ve enjoyed studying in school. Do you like numbers? Art? The outdoors? You can make a list of the activities and areas of interest you enjoy, even if they don’t seem like they would connect with a career. For example, if you like numbers, you may want to consider jobs in finance, accounting, or mathematics. If you’re interested in design, you could review possible jobs in illustration, graphic design, architecture, interior design, or similar fields. 

It’s important to note that some people believe following your passions when it comes to your career can be problematic. While you still might want to search for a role in a field you find engaging, you may ultimately decide to foster your interests outside of the workplace. Still, assessing your passions can be a good way to start finding work that fulfills you.

Understand your strengths

Knowing the areas in which you excel, how you work best, and what sort of environment you’d prefer can help you narrow your job search. If you prefer working alone, for example, a job that is primarily team based may not be as desirable. If you value consistency, a career with responsibilities that may change frequently could be harder for you. Think about whether you’d like to work remotely, in person, or in a hybrid capacity. Some people work better in an office and some are most productive at home. 

To better evaluate your strengths, consider taking an aptitude test. There are many versions of skills assessments you can take online or in person. While many of the more extensive tests often cost money, there are some free ones available online. These can show you where you excel and provide you with ideas for career paths. 

Identify jobs/industries

Once you’ve evaluated your skills and areas of interest, you can start singling out roles or sectors that match up with them. Try to find positions and career paths that allow you to join your interests and skillset. Consider a situation, for example, in which you’re passionate about healthcare but realize that your skills are oriented more toward business than science. Here, you may consider seeking a management role at a hospital or advancing your education in the healthcare administration field. 

Do plenty of research on the roles that are available in your chosen industry. You can find positions listed on job search sites like Indeed and LinkedIn. This will give you an idea of the job market in the industry in which you’d like to work, including average salaries, number of openings, and necessary qualifications. You can also search through the US Bureau of Labor's Statistics site. There you can find information on the outlook for various sectors, wages, and the prominent industries in different geographic regions. Researching thoroughly and narrowing down your options will likely help you determine the next steps. 

Hone your skills

As you search for jobs, you may notice certain skills are valued highly in your chosen field. Honing your current skills and learning relevant new ones can help you stand out to potential employers and succeed in your job once you’re hired. Take note of similarities between different job postings; if you think you’d like to work in computer science, for example, you’ll likely notice that many programming positions require familiarity with certain software and coding languages.

Consider making a list of some of the primary responsibilities for the roles you’d like to fill. Are there required skills, certifications, training programs, educational standards, etc., that applicants are expected to complete or possess? You may also want to look into advanced training or certifications. For some careers, these experiences may be necessary. For others, they act as an extra layer of assurance that an applicant possesses knowledge about a certain skill, program, etc.

Remember that a lack of qualifications doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never be able to enter your career of choice. In addition to pursuing educational opportunities, there are many ways to gain experience that may help you enter a specific field. Consider talking to people who are already working in roles you’d like to fill. Ask them the qualifications they have that helped them get to where they are. They may have ideas you haven’t considered. Building your skills can help you fill out your resume and feel more confident once you’re hired. 

Finding the right job for you can be challenging

Polish your resume

A strong resume is often the first chance for you to impress a potential employer. Human resources departments and hiring managers typically have to sort through many applicants for a specific job opening, and browsing resumes is an easy way to identify candidates who have the requisite qualifications for the role. You’ll likely want to build a resume that represents your achievements and prominently displays the skills you’ve accumulated. 

Keep in mind that your best assets should be highlighted on your resume. If you have a high-level degree related to your field of choice, but your experience is a bit light, consider putting your education at the top. If, on the other hand, you have extensive experience that showcases your skills, consider listing your work history first. The same goes for advanced certifications and training. Ordering your resume in this way helps ensure that your strongest assets are the first things a potential employer sees. 

Within each category, try to maintain a cohesive structure by formatting each aspect in the same way. When populating your educational experience, remember to include dates, degrees, locations, and schools. 

When describing your experience, try to utilize action verbs instead of more passive phrasing. A phrase like "Coordinated travel plans for senior management" can seem more active and effective than "Responsible for scheduling travel for executives." A well-written resume can help you stand out as a candidate and ensure you’re perceived as a professional.

Develop your online presence

It can be important to have an online presence that highlights your capabilities and allows you to connect with others. Websites like LinkedIn can help you get your resume out to more people, display your professional accomplishments, and nurture professional relationships. Supervisors and coworkers can attest to your skills, which can help you show potential employers what you have to offer. You can also network with other professionals in your field who may be able to offer guidance and connect you with career opportunities.

By developing your profile on websites like this, you might be able to show potential employers much more than you will with your resume alone. With a site like LinkedIn, your online profile is interactive and allows you to showcase writing skills, post about news stories relevant to your field, and apply for jobs. Many employers search online to look for more information about potential candidates, so it can help to ensure that what they find represents you in an accurate and professional manner. You may also want to take a look at your other social media profiles, such as those on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok; your personal accounts don’t necessarily need to be focused on your career, but it can help to be mindful of current and former posts.

Career guidance through online therapy

If you're not entirely sure how to proceed with your career search, know that guidance is available. Career and personal counseling may help you better understand your abilities and interests, tend to your mental well-being, and take steps toward developing a career path that works for you. 

Research shows that online therapy can help individuals who are starting a new career be more confident and prepared. For example, in a study on the efficacy of online therapy for college students about to graduate, participants reported increased career adaptability, which is the ability to meet the often-changing demands of a particular job. Researchers also mentioned that online therapy can help individuals anticipate potential barriers to entry and expand their awareness of job opportunities.

If you’re experiencing complicated emotions as you enter the workforce, know that help is available. With online therapy through BetterHelp, you can discuss career solutions and work on personal development with a therapist remotely, through video calls, voice calls, or in-app messaging. Your therapist can also connect you with useful resources, such as at-home exercises that can help you better navigate your career path and foster mental wellness. 


Developing a career path that is right for you can be complicated at times, but it can also lead to a rewarding and enjoyable professional life. You may need to take time to brainstorm, research, and try new activities that will help you determine what your best course of action is. And remember that guidance is available through online therapy. With the right support, you can make progress toward a rewarding career and a fulfilling life.
Explore career challenges with a professional
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started