Choosing the right career path can be a daunting task for the young, the old, or anyone who wants to start over. Aside from the thousands of existing professions, new job titles keep emerging in response to society’s needs. With the plethora of choices listed in the job market, how can you know which one is right for you?
Picking out your profession is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life. Your choice will define your future, so you need to know how to choose the right career. These five steps can increase your chances of making a sound decision and set you on a path towards a fulfilling and satisfying career.
1. Do a comprehensive assessment of yourself
The first step is to learn as much as possible about yourself. Try to reflect on your values, technical skills, soft skills, natural aptitudes, interests, and personality. Find out the type of work that you enjoy, the environment you want to be in, and the kind of people you want as co-workers.
You can also determine your must-haves in a job. Think about the salary, benefits, work location, work-life balance, and tasks you want or don’t want to perform. As you reflect on yourself, make sure that you write down notes. You can use these as references as you evaluate job descriptions later.
However, self-assessment can be challenging, especially if you don’t know how to navigate this process. A career counselor can be an eye-opener and guide you to explore your goals, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. If you can’t afford to hire a career counselor, numerous assessment tests are also available for free online. Taking these tests might help in choosing the right career that fits you.
2. List down occupations to check out
After you have understood more about yourself and what you want in a job, it’s time to look for career options. Check out the list of occupations generated by the assessment tests or suggested by your career coach. To stay organized, you can combine all the career ideas into one master list.
You can also make a list of jobs that sound exciting or desirable to you. As you list down occupations to explore when choosing the right career for you, remember that a job title might not accurately represent the actual job. The title might not seem appealing, but the job description might be a good fit for you.
Find a particular industry that seems compelling to you or activities that you enjoy doing. Consider tapping into your network to explore jobs that your family and friends may hold. They might also be able to recommend job positions that they think might interest or suit you.
3. Explore and narrow down the list
At this point, you have managed to cut down more than a thousand career paths to less than thirty options. You can now research each occupation to create a shortlist of serious career possibilities. The goal is to narrow down your list into one or two career paths that excite you.
To gain a better insight into whether it is suitable for you, look into each job’s day-to-day activities and responsibilities. You can read the job description and their requirements, such as degree, certifications, training, or credentials, through published sources. You might find out that fulfilling some of the conditions is not a good fit for you, thus narrowing down your list.
Another critical piece of information to scrutinize is the future stability of the career path. In choosing the right career, it is also important to select a job that will help you make a living. Find out how the profession stands in the labor market, and look at the hiring trends and earnings. It is also essential to know if there are opportunities for growth in your chosen job.
4. Ask around
When you only have a few career options left on your list, it is time to conduct more in-depth research. This step is essential to avoid idealizing a job, only to end up with an entirely different concept of what it is all about. You wouldn’t want to leave the job within the first few months only because it wasn’t what you expected.
Arrange an informational interview with people who can help you understand the job’s real nature. They can give you firsthand experience and knowledge about the career path that you are seriously considering. Their perspective can also help you make a more informed decision in choosing the right career path.
Reach out to your network or look via LinkedIn to find people who you can interview. Another quick way of finding information is by checking out what the internet has to say. Scour Google about the job title or check out relevant discussions on forums such as Reddit.
5. Make an action plan
After doing all your research, you’ve probably decided on which path to take. The next step is to identify your short and long-term goals and create an action plan. Produce a written document that lays down all the steps you need to help reach your career path. You may need to upgrade your resume and undergo additional training or credentials.
This action plan can help you hold yourself accountable as you work towards your dream career. You can include any anticipated roadblocks that could get in the way of your career path and the ways to overcome them. It may sound like additional work, but being prepared for any difficulties will save you from problems and uncertainties in the future.
Hope this helps you in choosing the right career. Comment down below and let me know what struggles you are encountering in deciding which career path to take and what actions you are taking to do something about it.