Choosing Career

As far as important life decisions go, choosing a career is right up there at the top of the list. Your choice of a career will determine how you spend the majority of your days for decades to come. So, like, no pressure or anything, right?

Some of us are drawn to specific career paths from a young age. For others, choosing a career can be a slightly more complex matter.

While passions should be factored into your career choice, there is so much more that goes into career decision-making. Lets’ Go!

  1. Conduct a Self Assessment

Understanding your desires and abilities is a big step towards choosing a career. A self-assessment can give you a better understanding of yourself by encouraging you to think about the things that are important to you. The beauty of a self-assessment is that only YOU can answer the questions. Because really, who knows you better than yourself?

Explore your Career Options

The next step is matching your skills, interests, and career goals with potential career paths. At this stage, you want to cast a wide net of potential career options without so much getting into the nitty-gritty. Don’t worry about making any big decisions right now. You’re just trying to get a feel for what career options are available to you.

  1. Narrow down the options

Now it’s time to refine this list. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of each career path. Perhaps you would find it useful to conduct a SWOT analysis. To do this, divide a large square into four quadrants. In the top half map out your relevant strengths and weaknesses. This should be fairly straightforward. Then, in the bottom half, opportunities and threats. If the strengths and opportunities outweigh weaknesses and threats (in weight, not necessarily quantity) then you might be onto a winning career path.

  1. Take your career for a test drive

You’re almost there! You should now have one or two specific career directions in mind. But what if you’re going back and forth between two potential career options? What if you’re not sure if the career you’re leaning towards is the right fit for you?

If you find yourself in this career conundrum, you need to go beyond basic internet research. Here’s how to choose a career by going straight to the source:

  • Informational Interviews: The informational interview is an effective research tool that is a one-part info-session, one-part networking opportunity.
  • Job Shadowing: Job shadowing programs typically last only a day or a week, which makes them an ideal opportunity for high school students who are juggling a million other things on top of choosing a career. With job shadowing, you’ll get a “day in the life” experience without the commitment of a full-time job.
  • Internships: Apply for Internships in your field. Internships last longer than job shadowing programs (usually, about 10-12 weeks) and therefore provide more opportunities for you to gain hands-on experience in your field.

  1. Make a Plan of Action

The last step of choosing a new career path is to think about the steps you’ll be taking along it. Now, it’s time to reflect on everything you’ve learned about yourself, your potential career, and your work experience. So, what career path excites you the most?  Once you’ve officially chosen a career that’s right for you, the work isn’t over yet. Here’s how to launch your career and expand your opportunities:

  • Set Career Goals: To reach your final destination, create a list of short- and long-term career goals. Then, come up with actionable steps that will help you accomplish your goals. Don’t forget to review your career goals regularly and change them as needed.
  • Have a Backup Plan: Maybe you’re getting a degree in history in the hopes of eventually becoming a museum curator. Great! But what if that plan doesn’t work out? Would you consider becoming a history teacher? Creating an alternative career plan can help ease some anxiety about your future and give you a career path to fall back on in case something derails your original career plan.
  • Never Stop Learning: Continuous learning is crucial to launching a successful career. Having a learning mindset not only keeps you competitive in your field but can also increase your job prospects.

If you’re reading this blog on how to choose a career, it’s safe to assume that you’re working with a clean slate. We mean, sure, having so many options can be a little overwhelming at times. But think of it this way: You have more opportunities to reach your end goal, which is, to say, a thriving career.

Posted by Ekya

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