How To Choose The Right Career Path For You

How To Choose The Right Career Path For You

Throughout your lifetime, there are a handful of decisions you can make that will undoubtedly impact you for years to come. Choosing a career path is one such decision. The path you pick could affect where you live, how much money you make, and how happy you are. Because there's so much at stake, picking a career can seem like an impossible decision. To help you decide, follow these tips.

Assess Your Skills and Interests

You spend the majority of your life at work. Therefore, it's essential to do something you enjoy and are skilled at. Picking a career path means knowing your interests, skills, and personality type.

If you're not sure about your strengths, consider using self-assessment tools. You can take personality tests, career aptitude tests, and other exams online. Using your results, you can come up with a shortlist of ideal careers.

It's just as important to take a look at yourself with a critical eye. Do you have any weaknesses that make certain careers inappropriate for you? For instance, you might hate dealing with people. A customer service career wouldn't leave you feeling very fulfilled.

Make a Short List

Once you've done some soul searching, come up with a list of at least ten different career paths. If you had any careers that appeared on more than one assessment tool, position them at the top of the list.

Before you can choose a career, you need to explore your options. But you can't do that unless you have a list that's short enough to research. Cross off any careers that don't appeal to you. As you do, try to keep an open mind and only eliminate careers you know won't work.

If your list is too short, think outside of the box. Are there any careers you dreamed about pursuing as a child? Now is the time to discover new occupations.

Research the Careers

Now, it's time to do some exploration. If you pick a career without learning about it, you set yourself up for failure. You can't learn about a career unless you actually take the time to research it. Watching television shows won't give you real insight into an occupation.

Start out by reading job descriptions. Then, look into the educational and training requirements for the job. What is the progression like as you advance in the career? It's also essential to research the potential job growth in the industry.

If you're still not sure what a certain career entails, do some more research. Look online for articles about being in the field. The internet has a wealth of information about careers.

Make a Short List

You need to narrow down your list of potential careers. After researching the list, you probably can cross off a few occupations. If there were any jobs that don't seem appealing to you, remove them from the list.

Don't only think about the daily duties of the job. Are the educational requirements realistic? If you don't want to go back to college, cross off any jobs with special degrees. Consider other requirements, like the years of training needed for a job.

While you're looking at your list, put an asterisk next to the careers you like the best. By now, you might have a clear winner. Try to narrow your list down to five jobs or less.

Conduct Interviews

The research isn't over just yet. After you shorten your list, it's time to meet up with people who have jobs in the career you want. Typically, the only way to get true insight into a career is to speak with someone who experienced it first-hand.

Use your network to find people who are willing to discuss their career with you. LinkedIn can be an excellent resource for this, as can local networking meet-ups.

Make Your Pick

During the interviews, you should receive enough information to help you decide which career is right for you. Think about your overall satisfaction, your life goals, and your education

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to put too much pressure on yourself. If you don't make the right decision, you can always start over again. Most people end up switching careers at least once in their lives.

Getting Started

After you pick a career, there are a few tips that can help you get started:

Know Your Goals

Before you even get a job offer, think about your career goals. Make a list of both long and short-term goals. As you search for a job, you should make sure the position lines up with your goals.

To create the goals, think about your career research. Do you need to have a certification at a specific point in your career? When should you expect to advance to a new position? Make your goals realistic but driven.

Have an Action Plan

To achieve your goals, you need to follow the right path. You improve your chances of success by coming up with an action plan before you embark on your new career.

Make a career plan that details every step you need to take to make your career goals come to fruition. It won't be easy to do and requires extensive research, but the effort is worthwhile. With a clear path to follow, you're much more likely to be successful.

Assuming you don't need to obtain any special certification or training, you can get started on the job search. Only look for jobs that will help you with your career goals. Unless you are desperate for money, avoid the temptation to take the first job you find.

If you get the right job offer, your career could be off to a great start. A job that comes with opportunities to advance is one that gives you a bright future. Look for a position that has a nurturing environment as well as everything else you want from your job.

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