Choosing the type of work you’ll do, is arguably one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. However, most of us are very confused when it comes to choosing the right career. The main reason being we don’t know how to go about it or we don’t have the right guidance and necessary support. Selecting a career path can take months or even years as you continue learning what you want and need from your job.
Here are a few ways to help you make this important decision;
Depending on your values, interests, soft skills, and aptitudes, in combination with your personality type, some occupations may seem like a good fit for you while others might be inappropriate. Before you can choose the right career, it is therefore necessary to first learn about yourself.
Here are a few ways to assess yourself:
Think about the subjects you excelled at in school: By choosing a career based on something you are already skilled at, you will be able to excel in your career as well as provide yourself with a secure future.
Assess your hobbies: Many hobbies correspond to real world needs and positions. Consider what you like to do and how that can fit into a rewarding career.
Evaluate your strengths and talents: You need to ask yourself, what am I good at? By identifying your soft or hard skills and determining your strengths paired with things you enjoy, you will be able to find a career that sets you up for success.
Self-assessment tools: This is a great way to gather information about your traits and, subsequently, generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on your core abilities.
Career counsellors: Many government and private institutions have career counselling centres for nominal fees. If you’re still in college you can consider contacting the career services office.
Online assessments: If you can’t hire or pay for a career counsellor there are various online free or low-cost career assessments available as well.
MAKE A MASTER LIST
You probably have multiple prospective career choices in front of you at this point, one generated by each of the self-assessment tools you used. Combine them into a two-part master list; One, of all the occupations to explore, as your self-assessments indicated they are a good fit for you based on several of your traits, abilities. Two, of any occupations on your lists that appeal to you. These can be careers you know a little bit about and want to explore further.
After your master list is prepared, you need to gather basic information about each of the occupations on your list. While the easiest way would be to talk to known people in the same field, if you want a more thorough approach an informational interview is the best way to go forward. The main purpose here is to obtain information.
You will be able to not only gain first-hand information about a person, profession, or organization, explore careers and clarify your career goals but also discover hidden internship or employment opportunities that may not be advertised. With all this new information in your possession, you’ll be able to further simplify your choices.
NARROW DOWN YOUR CAREER CHOICES
After you’ve explored jobs that seem interesting, start researching each one to create a short-list of serious career possibilities. The goal is to arrive at one or two career paths that you’re excited about. You can use the following steps as a guide:
Pick careers you are genuinely interested in: This will help in eliminating the careers you don’t want to pursue any further. Eliminate careers that have weak job outlooks.
Qualification and skills: Try to match your qualifications so far. See if your top career choices feature similar qualifications and skills that could be useful in your future career journey. Perhaps all your top career choices say it’s good to have strong passing grades in English, or psychology. Make a note of that, because it can help you decide what your future study options might be.
Growth opportunities: It’s important to know if there is an opportunity for growth in your chosen career. This means the availability you’ll have in the career to advance, gain skills and take on more responsibility. Read job descriptions carefully to learn about job requirements and growth opportunities.
Salary: Whether you have a specific salary requirement or not, it might be helpful to learn about average compensation for the jobs you’ve identified in your list.
Job requirements: Before choosing a career, you will need to know what certifications, degree, training or other credentials are required. You might decide that fulfilling certain requirements isn’t a good fit for you. Thus, narrowing down your list to careers that are more suitable.
IDENTIFY YOUR LONG AND SHORT-TERM GOALS
Now that you’ve done all this thinking to choose a career that’s right for you, your next step is to think about some achievable goals. This will help you to chart a pathway toward your chosen field. Using the research you did about required education and training as your guide, set your long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals typically take about five years to reach, while you can usually fulfil a short-term goal in as less as six months.
MAKE AN ACTION PLAN:
This may sound like a lot of work but taking these steps early will save you a lot of struggle and uncertainty in the long run. Put together a career action plan. To do this you need to make a roadmap of all the steps you need to take to reach your ultimate goal. Make sure you include any anticipated barriers that could get in the way of achieving your goals and ways in which you can overcome them as well.