Choosing the Right Career For You
Choosing the career that is right for you is a very important decision. The path you choose now will be one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life, determining what you do, where you go, and who you meet. With so many options to choose from, deciding the right career for you can be overwhelming and stressful, but it does not have to be. If you follow an organized plan, you will realize that finding the right career is not as hard as you think.
Before making this decision, it is wise to take some time for self reflection. During this time, you can consider your values and must-haves. This includes financial stability: do you need a certain salary? This also includes your location and environment: do you need to work in a specific area? Could you take a job involving travel? What type of environments do you work well in, and which ones are more challenging for you? You should assess what skills you possess. These include soft skills such as communication, problem solving, or time management as well as technical skills like typing, planning, or comprehending data. You should also take the time to consider your personality and natural aptitudes: are you confident, quiet, aggressive, or loyal? Are you a gifted writer or a natural leader? The self reflection process will help you slow down and think about your strengths and what is truly important to you. After considering these, you will be able to get a better sense of what occupations fit you well and which do not.
Now, it is time to make a list of all the occupations that you are interested in and match up with your self assessment. Make it broad. As you research occupations, you should write down all of the jobs that match your self assessment. Write down occupations that you are learning more about as well as ones that you are hearing about for the first time. Tackle the research from multiple angles. It is often helpful to start by reviewing published information, but don’t stop there. Talk to people who do these jobs for a living. Find out what it’s really like to do a particular job day in and day out. As you learn more about each career path, you will be ready to start narrowing down your list. Identifying occupations that are not a good fit for you is crucial to the process. Once you have narrowed down your list, try to find opportunities to shadow or volunteer to see for yourself what a day in the life of a specific job looks like.
Choosing Your Career
After plenty of researching and narrowing down your options, you are ready to choose your career. Pick the career path that you think will satisfy you best based on your research. If you can, let your passion be your profession. When you pursue a career that you are genuinely interested in, you will stay at it longer and work harder for it. Make your choice and continue to research to find what training and degrees that are required for your occupation. Remember, it is not a one and done deal. After you make your choice, set both short term and long term goals for yourself. At this point, a short term goal might be applying to colleges or training programs. A long term goal might be completing your training and education. Take the time to form a plan. Forging a career path will be much easier if you know what you want and the steps it takes to get there. However, remember to stay flexible. You may find that your interests and gifts may change over time, or you may further narrow down your chosen occupation to a particular niche.
Remember, you do not have to go through this process on your own. Reaching out to people who really know you or are familiar with this process to get their insights may help you. Talk to teachers, coaches, and family members who know you well. Many people also choose to work with a career counselor for further guidance. Ultimately, this is a very important decision, but remember to have fun. The decision you make will help determine where you go, what you do, and who you meet. Enjoy the process and be patient while evaluating your options. If you find something you truly enjoy, line it up as best you can with your profession for the best results.