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Whether you’re unhappy with your current occupation or don’t know how to choose the right career after your studies, finding the right one is difficult and overwhelming. You have to find a balance between doing something you’re passionate about and doing something that will be fulfilling in the long run.
If you’re at a similar crossroads, read on to find out more about how to choose a career, how to self-assess, and what are the most helpful tips that can ease your decision-making process.
Why Is It Important to Find the Right Career?
It’s a truth universally known that the wrong career for you can lead to frustration, unhappiness, anxiety, stress, depression, and destabilize every aspect of your life, whereas the right career path for you can lead to happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, job advancement, and stability. But other reasons weigh in the importance of choosing the right career path. Some of them are:
- Some jobs aren’t as necessary as before the AI technology advancements,
- Economic security – the right career choice with a high potential for job growth can lead to economic security in the long run.
- Retirement plans – a prosperous job can help you develop a retirement plan and save up, or maybe even retire early.
How to Choose a Career: 7 Steps to Find One
When picking a career, you should take into consideration many factors, like interests, skills, goals, job outlook, advancement opportunities, etc. And while there are many ways to choose a career, we advise utilizing the set of seven steps below to help you find the right career for you.
Get to know yourself
An essential step to choosing a career is getting to know yourself and what your lifelong goals are. A helpful method would be to ask yourself the following:
- Interest-based questions: e.g., Do you want to work on-site, remote, or hybrid?
- Value-based questions: e.g., What are your priorities?
- Trait-based questions: e.g., What are your strengths?
Consider your skills and interests
Every person has unique interests and skillsets, which is why when picking a career, you must consider your skills and interests to find the right career path for you.
Knowing your interests helps you find out what you like doing tirelessly, what your strengths are, what an ideal work environment would be for you, etc.
Though general workforce skills (organization, effective communication, creativity, problem-solving, and computer skills) are necessary for most occupations, you can utilize the skills you possess to find a career that is most compatible for you.
Create a vision for your future
An essential step toward choosing the right career is creating a clear vision of your future by combining your motivations with your long-term goals. Your motivations should include a list of criteria for an ideal job for you, such as salary, benefits, flexibility, autonomy, career growth, etc. In addition, you should also compile a list of long-term goals for your professional and personal life and how to achieve them.
Consider if you need to continue your education
Changing your career or advancing in it may require additional education in said field. However, continuing education can mean investing more time and resources, higher expenses, less free time, and added challenges to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Therefore you should consider if continuing your education is worthwhile for your career and if you can afford it financially and personally.
Seek for advice
To get a new perspective on how to pick a career, you can also try seeking advice from professionals trained to help people on finding which profession suits them best, like career coaches or college career centers if you’re still in college.
With their expertise in the field, they can give you options that you might have never considered but that are compatible with your knowledge and skill set.
Another opportunity is asking professionals that work in the field you’re interested in, as they can give a firsthand account of the work requirements.
Perform career tests and research
Self-assessment and research are crucial elements for picking the right career. They help you find out where you stand and how compatible you are with an occupation.
Taking tests to prepare for self-assessment is vital to choosing a career and later finding a job in the said career. You can take different tests like:
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- Personality tests: tests like MBTI, 16PF, and NEO-PI can help you find which occupation is similar to your traits and strengths.
- Career aptitude tests: these tests help you find occupations that suit your skills and interests. You can use the 123 Aptitude Test and CareerExplorer as free tools for self-assessment.
- Job skills tests: they help verify you possess the skills on the resume. You can use TestDome for various tests for different occupations.
There are abundant resources and information available for almost all occupations. When exploring career paths, you should take advantage of those resources and research all aspects of your selected occupation, from the education required and the admission process to the benefits and job growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a useful tool for exploring the basic requirements of many occupations.
Another helpful way of self-assessing and getting to know yourself is to volunteer. Volunteering also benefits you by:
- Helping you learn more about what your strengths are, where to improve, and how to develop people skills.
- Developing new skills necessary to the workforce, like organization, communication, and teamwork skills.
- Teaching you how to apply for jobs and practicing interviewing by applying for volunteering open spots.
- Expanding your network and providing references.
- Building confidence in your skills and strengths and achieving your goals.
So, you should try volunteering in your local community centers, food banks, animal shelters, and retirement and nursing homes, not only to gain a fresh perspective but to build connections and a warm community as well.
You’ll always be free to explore new career paths and opportunities, which is why you should always be open to changes and adapt quickly.
However, you shouldn’t do so with haste. When you apply all the tips above, you must also take time to think and consider all options to make the right choice for you.