career ideasIf you are unsure of your career direction, identifying the right fit can be a tough process. There are so many things to consider in order to define your ideal career path. There are no websites out there with comprehensive lists of all the career paths or jobs available in the world. As a result, it can be overwhelming for career seekers who are unhappy in their current position and want to have a fulfilling job but do not know where to start.

For my clients, I suggest a multi-step process to help them brainstorm possible career ideas. One of those ways to brainstorm possible career ideas is through online research. I recommend you start with online research as you can learn about different career paths you may not have known about before. The key here is to stay organized in your search so you do not get lost on the Internet or get overwhelmed with information.

When searching online, there are three main categories of sites to look at: General search sites like Google®, career brainstorming sites and job boards like www.indeed.com. You want to use all of these in order to brainstorm and uncover ideas.

Before you begin searching, develop a list of keywords to use on each of these sites to pull up ideas relevant to your interests and talents. Then conduct your search using those keywords, keeping an organized list of what you found and where, and copying the web pages you want to read in greater depth. Finally, you can re-visit those sites to develop your list of career ideas.

Here are the basic steps:

1. Create a list of keywords. This list can include your interests, values, talents, and skills. For instance you might have gardening, reading, data analysis, and management skills. It is not important whether the keyword is one word or a phrase. It can also describe a specific task you like to perform — event planning, database management, market research — as well as a particular industry you are curious about.

2. Start with the general search sites like Google®, Yahoo®, and Bing®. They will provide all kinds of big-picture information and are a great way to begin. You plug in your keywords like “career in data analysis” or “jobs in education” and browse through the pages that look like they would be helpful to you. Copy and paste them into a document to re-visit them later in greater depth.

3. Next, use the brainstorming sites like www.onetcenter.org to plug in your keywords. Whatever looks appealing to you, copy and paste those pages as well to re-visit later.

4. Finally, visit the job boards including the ones you prefer or www.indeed.com, www.simplyhired.com, and www.linkedin.com. Using your keywords again here can pull up actual job openings (even if they are not in your area, looking outside your area can help you brainstorm ideas) that may be appealing to you. Copy and paste those as well to review them later.

Remember that throughout these steps of the process, it is critical to stay organized in your search so you do not get lost on the Internet. Keep a log of your progress and your search per the steps above so the information you find is clear and helpful to you. Take it step by step!