How to choose a career
Whether you are finishing up your education and are ready to venture into the world of work or you have been working in a certain field for a while and want to try something new, deciding on a career path can seem overwhelming. However, with a little self exploration and some research you can easily choose a career that will leave you feeling fulfilled. Here are some tips to help you make a decision:
Evaluate your skills and interests
Make a list of all your skills and strengths. Take some time to really think through the things you are good at. Perhaps you are a whiz with numbers, an excellent sales person, love dealing with people or are a computer freak. List every skill and strength you can think of. If you’re struggling to determine your strengths and skills ask your friends, family and colleagues for their input.
Explore your interests and passions
Now think of what you enjoy doing which may not be the same as the things that you are good at and add them to the list. For instance you might enjoy spending time in nature, attending parties, hosting fundraisers or travelling around the world. Or you might like reading, listening to music, playing with animals or cooking. In order to land a job you enjoy doing choose something that you enjoy and are also good at.
Narrow your options
Think of fields of work broadly rather than a single job. Once you have thought of an area you’d like to work in that will narrow down your search. For instance you might like to work in the medical field but know you’d never qualify as a doctor but you could work as a receptionist or a secretary in a hospital. Think of the field you can see yourself working in and you are half way to sorting your career.
Research job you fancy
While some jobs may sound amazing in theory it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Find out the day-to-day responsibilities for jobs within the field you’d like to work in to help you narrow down your options. Think about whether you can picture yourself completing the tasks involved in the job happily or if the work seems overwhelming or not in line with your vision of a career.
Match your strengths and qualities with potential jobs
It’s important to choose a career that fits with your temperament and personality. Think about whether you enjoy interacting with other people or work better alone or in a group setting. Also consider if you are a great leader to take direction well or whether you like planning things or enjoy going with the flow. For instance if you don’t enjoy being around people choose a career in research rather than marketing.
Don’t make a decision based on money
Although you’ll want to have a financially secure future, the expected income you could make shouldn’t be the only determining factor in your decision. Feel free to research potential incomes for a variety of jobs, but aim to choose one that you feel is the best fit for you, rather than simply picking the one where you’ll make the most money. This will lead you to a fulfilling career.
Figure out what qualifications you need for the job you want
Speak to people that work in the industry you want to work in and find out what kinds of backgrounds they have. You can research the minimum requirements for the kind of jobs you hope to get. Once you know what is required you can then work on becoming qualified. This may mean continuing in education to obtain the necessary qualifications but if your heart is set on a certain job you have to do what you need to do to get there.
Apply for jobs you think are right for you
Once you begin finding jobs that interest you apply for them. Make sure your CV is good and covers your education, any experience gained whilst studying and relevant skills. Include a tailored cover letter for each application that explains why you’re interested in the position and how you feel you can ad something to the Company. Be positive and remember to sell yourself. You want the job so your CV needs to impress.
Make sure a prospective employers values align with yours
Your career will be most fulfilling if your employers values mirror your own. Think about what type of things are really important to you and what type of things you’d be willing to compromise on. For instance if you’re a strict vegan because you believe eating meat is cruel, it would be better to take a job in an Accountants than a butchers shop!
Set yourself achievable goals
Your career plan should outline how you’ll get where you want to be, what actions are needed to get there and what your short, medium and long term goals are going to be. Constantly review your progress especially after each short term goal is reached. You must also establish a backup career development plan in case your situation changes. Map several alternative paths to your long-term goal, considering how you’ll overcome the type of problems you might encounter on the way to achieving your ideal career.
Finally don’t forget that career planning is a continuous process and you may change your direction at sometime along the way. Work hard to achieve your dreams but make sure you have fun along the way and most of all enjoy what you are doing.