When you were in Kindergarten, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? Did you want to be a firefighter, chef or writer. Maybe your wanted to be a doctor or professional athlete. The wonderful thing about your younger self was that you had no inhibitions about paychecks or career roadblocks. At six years old you really thought you could be anything you wanted to be.
Now that you’re grownup and looking for that perfect job, you’re determined to find something you’ll love. One of the best places to look? Where your passions lie in everyday life, of course. This often means looking for work in a niche industry.
Sure, it can be difficult to determine how to apply your skills in a niche industry. But making it work often means a lifetime of career happiness.
Here’s how to find a great career path in your niche industry:
Define Your Niche
The job search is stressful, but it’s OK to take a moment to decide where you want to go next. In fact, knowing exactly what positions you want will mean better chances of landing that perfect position, and less pressure on you.
A 2014 study published by Palgrave Communications looked at academic performance of first-year college students. It found a goal setting intervention that involved writing “boosted academic achievement and increased retention rates.”
So step away from your computer. Sit down and write what makes you unique.
Identify three to five of your own specific visions, passions, and strengths. And once you’ve set your goals, reflect on what niche industry all your passions have in common. And if you get stuck? Ask for feedback from employers, teachers, colleagues, friends and family to assess if this is the right next step for you.
Network Like a Pro
Networking gold is literally at your fingertips. And using it to your advantage often makes or breaks your career move into a niche industry. Join Twitter chats to find people with similar interests. Find the companies that seek out those who share your passions.
Once you’ve found an organization or position you’re interested in, research the company on social media. Comment and share posts to express your passion in their specific niche and interest in the company. Next, find current employees and begin earnestly connecting with them through social media platforms.
Social media isn’t the only easy access you have available for networking, though. So look to everyone around you for help to find who can help you move into your industry of choice.
Most important: join professional organizations based on your niche and attend events to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Volunteer and Intern
We all love to see a paycheck, but sometimes the right job isn’t immediately available. Don’t spend countless hours stressing over your search. Instead, take this time to build up your resume and skills by volunteering and interning.
Even opportunities not in your niche industry can teach you valuable skills. This includes the number one skill employers look for in an intern: effective communication (according to a 2014 survey by Hart Research Associates).
Showcase these skills during the application and interview process at your niche company. Offer specific details of what you learned. Show mistakes you’ve made and how you corrected them. Then share how you would use these lessons to better your career. Finally, make sure the company knows you’re the perfect fit for their culture and this role.
No matter how many years you’ve been passionate about your career choice, and even if you’ve been in the workforce for a while, you’ll never know everything. That’s why it’s necessary to always stay on top of trends and to continue improving your skills through education and experience.
Stay open to learning skills that don’t seem obviously connected to your position at the moment. For example, leadership skills are useful for every employee. So lead projects, task forces, and micro-teams. If no leadership role is immediately available, offer to work on projects with managers on your own time. Or ask to shadow a leader or mentor you admire. Soon, you’ll become a great leader all because you were willing to keep learning.
Of course, leadership isn’t the only skill in high demand in niche industries. Learn what your target employers are looking for and then start mastering those skills.
Maybe you’ve decided on a niche. Or maybe you’re still considering your career path. Either way, it’s important to stay open and honest with yourself about your passions. Knowing which industry will make you happiest is important for many reasons. So don’t ever be afraid to explore new options.
Do that, and a successful career in a niche industry will be yours.
About the Author: Karyn Mullins is the General Manager and EVP of JobsInSports.com, the one place with all the tools, statistics, and information needed to connect job seekers with employers for sports employment openings at all levels. Follow JobsInSports on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.