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Naomi Rothwell-Boyd, February 20 2023

Best Career Advice When You Don't Know What To Do Next

If you're feeling lost in your career and don't know what to do, it can be an overwhelming experience. Struggling to shift paths without a map can be daunting, yet there are tactics for gaining insight when you're uncertain of your next career move. It's important not only to identify goals for yourself but also brainstorm options and ideas that could help guide the way forward.

Researching those options will allow you make informed decisions while taking action towards achieving them. This blog post provides valuable career advice into how best approach this situation so read on for more information.

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Acknowledge Not Knowing Is Normal

It’s normal to feel lost when it comes to your career. You may have been in the same job for years, or maybe you’re just starting out and don’t know what direction to take. No matter the circumstances, it's a common occurrence to feel uncertain about your career path.

The first step is acknowledging that feeling of uncertainty. It can be daunting, yet embracing that it's a piece of the puzzle will assist you in advancing with assurance. Convince yourself that this is something everybody experiences—it's not a sign of any deficiency or misjudgment.

Once you've accepted your feelings of uncertainty as normal, it's time to start exploring different possibilities for your future career path. 

Identifying Your Goals

Identifying your goals is an important part of any career change. It can be hard to decide what direction to go in, so it's beneficial to take a step back and contemplate your desired life outcomes. What does happiness mean for you? What would success look like? Once you have identified these broad concepts, it’s time to break them down into more manageable chunks.

Brainstorming options and ideas is a great way to get started on this process. Think about the things that make you happy or fulfilled in life and work backwards from there. Are there particular skills or interests that could help lead you towards your goal? Jot down whatever pops into your head - no matter how implausible it may seem.

Exploring potential pathways can give you a better comprehension of their attainability, in addition to offering understanding into feasible options. Look into job postings in the industry or field that interests you; read up on relevant qualifications and certifications; reach out to people who have already made similar transitions for advice; attend events related to the topic area; etc. This will also help inform which goals are realistic for now versus those which may need further development before being pursued seriously.

Acting is essential for effectuating any kind of alteration in life, particularly regarding occupations. Start small by setting yourself some achievable targets such as completing an online course, attending networking events, or applying for jobs with certain criteria. Gradually build up momentum until larger changes become possible; for example, changing roles within your current company. Remember: every journey starts with one small step.

Once you've identified your goals, it's time to brainstorm options and ideas that will help you make a successful career change. Think outside the box - explore new possibilities and find creative solutions.

Key Takeaway: No matter how uncertain or overwhelming a career change may seem, setting goals and taking small steps can help you move towards success.

Brainstorm Options And Ideas

Brainstorming is a potent technique for conjuring up novel notions and delving into diverse prospects. It can help you identify potential career paths, uncover hidden talents, or even find creative solutions to problems. To get started, it’s important to create a large list of small, big, silly, grand ideas that you can filter down later.

Jot down whatever notions enter your mind, no matter how strange or unusual they may be. Don’t limit yourself; the more ideas you have on paper the better. Consider all angles and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You never know what kind of inspiration could come from something seemingly unrelated or unimportant at first glance.

Once you have your list of ideas written out in front of you start breaking them down into smaller categories or themes based on their commonalities. This will aid in organising your thoughts and provide an outline for your brainstorming, thus avoiding any confusion or lack of direction as the session progresses. For example: if one idea was “become an accountant” then this could be broken down further into “research accounting firms in my area” and “look for online courses related to accounting."

You should also consider asking friends and family members for input during this process as they might have valuable insights about certain industries or job roles that could prove useful when making decisions about which direction to take next in terms of your career change journey. Additionally, talking through these options with someone else can provide clarity around which ones are most feasible given current circumstances such as location restrictions due to COVID-19 etcetera

Finally, once all the brainstorming has been done, use this information along with other research (such as salary expectations) before taking action towards any particular option(s). Remember: there is no right answer here so don't feel pressured into picking just one thing too quickly. Brainstorming options and ideas is a crucial step in finding success when navigating a career change but only after careful consideration should any decision be made final.

Once you've considered all the possibilities, it's time to investigate further those that are most appropriate for your talents and preferences - in order to decide which professional route is right for you.

Key Takeaway: Brainstorming can be a great tool to help uncover potential career paths and latent abilities, but it is crucial to take one's time when deciding which route(s) to pursue.

Researching Your Options

Researching your options is an important step in navigating a career change. It’s essential to take the time to explore different industries, job roles, and companies that align with your interests and skillset. Taking the time to investigate diverse vocations, positions, and organizations that coordinate with your aptitudes and inclinations can help you spot potential openings that could lead to accomplishment.

Start by taking advantage of online resources such as job boards, industry websites, and LinkedIn profiles. These can provide valuable insight into what positions are available in certain fields or locations. Utilising the same online resources, you can also look into pay scales for different jobs to get an idea of what kind of remuneration may be offered when submitting your application.

It’s also helpful to reach out directly to people who work in the field or company you’re interested in learning more about. Reaching out to those with knowledge of the field or company can provide helpful tips for transitioning into a new job and offer understanding about any difficulties encountered.

Don't forget about networking events. Attending conferences, seminars, workshops, and other gatherings related to your desired profession can be incredibly beneficial for expanding your network and gaining knowledge from experts within the field. Plus it's always great practice for honing your professional communication skills.

Finally, don't overlook the potency of informational interviews - a great way to garner firsthand insight from those entrenched in an organisation or industry that interests you. Ask questions such as: What do they enjoy most about their current position? What difficulties have they encountered in their job? How did they land their current role? The answers may surprise and inspire you.

Having conducted your research and identified potential options, it is now time to take decisive action. Consider what steps you need to take in order to make a successful transition into your new career and start planning for the future.

Keep Taking Action

Progress is often seen as a big, overwhelming goal that's out of reach. But the truth is, no matter where you are in life and what your goals may be, progress starts with one small step at a time. That's why taking consistent action—no matter how small—every day can make all the difference. 

Small steps lead to powerful and sustainable change. Each step might seem insignificant on its own, but over time they stack up into something major. By incorporating habits into our daily lives and making them part of our routine, we can create lasting and meaningful growth in our lives. 

The key is to focus on consistency—not results or outcomes. It’s important to approach each day with the same level of effort, regardless of whether or not you hit any of your targets or accomplish anything significant. Making progress doesn't have to mean reinventing yourself every single day; it's about gradually adding up small improvements over time. 

For example, if your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, start by simply drinking an extra glass of water each day for a week, then add in some exercise for 10 minutes per day the next week, then after that try swapping out junk food for nutrient-rich snacks such as almonds or carrots. 

These may seem like minor changes but over time they'll help you achieve your goal without feeling overwhelmed by it all (or giving up from exhaustion). Taking consistent action isn't always easy; there will be days when it feels too hard to even take those few steps forward. That's okay! 

Overcoming any challenge requires dedication and commitment which can only come from taking it a day at a time and focusing on what needs to be done right now—not tomorrow or next week or some distant future date. 

Remind yourself that each tiny action counts and leads toward something bigger in the long run. Progress might come slowly at first but you’ll eventually look back and realise how much you’ve achieved over time from those consistent efforts put in every single day!

Uncover how to change your career today with our quick assessment quiz even if you don't know where to start - TRY PATHFINDER NOW


It can be intimidating to switch career paths when you're uncertain of the next step. But with the right research, goal setting and action taking, you can find success in your new path. Gaining insight into yourself and your objectives is critical for effectuating a successful shift to something novel. 

With this career advice when you don't know what to do, you'll have the tools necessary for finding success in whatever field or industry that interests you.

Author: Naomi Rothwell-Boyd

Naomi is the founder of Tribe And Seek and an EMCC and CIPD accredited career coach specialising in career change. 

Her career advice comes from her work alongside ex-olympic athletes supporting corporate clients like Kraft Heinz, and creating leadership courses at the Duke Of Edinburgh's Award.

She also left a previous career in international development consulting behind, where she led UK corporate fundraising at Habitat For Humanity.

Written by

Naomi Rothwell-Boyd


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