How to Choose a Career

Choosing a career can be difficult. It is one of the decisions that can change the course of your life. Before making such an important decision one has to take considerable time and think through as this can help you gather information and do some self-examination.

Here are some steps that can help make this task less stressful. If you follow this steps you might be able to avoid some big mistakes.

Tips On How to Choose a Career

1. Learn About Yourself?

Before diving into any new career you need to learn about yourself. Take the time to assess yourself. What do you really want? What are your values? What are you interest? What soft skills do you have? Do you know your personality type?

Some people might choose to hire a professional to help them with this exercise. But I think you can do it on your own. Take out a note, self-examine yourself and write your findings down. It really helps.

2. Make a List Of Possible Occupations To Explore

This is the state in which you will gather information on possible careers you can pursue. I will advise you to write them down. This helps to keep yourself organized. You should also combine them into a master list.

The next thing to do is find any occupation on your list that you love. One that really appeals to you. It possible you might already know something about that occupation while in some cases, you might just know little about the occupation. Not to worry, you can quickly learn new skills these days.

3. Get Basic Information About Each of the Occupation on Your List

At this stage, you already have a list of occupations you love. Now is the time to gather basic information about each of the occupation on your list. I will advise you narrow your list to something between 10 and 15 options.

Do some your research and find job descriptions and educational requirements, training and licensing requirements. Also, learn about possible advancement opportunities. You should really make use of the internet for this exercise.

4. Narrow Down Your List

By this point, you should be equipt with enough information to narrow down your list even more. You should have learned so much from your research you did in the previous stage. You now have a better knowledge about what you want.

Start to strikeout the careers you don’t want to pursue further. By the time you are done with this exercise, you should have no more than two to five occupations on your list.

Here are some tips that can help you in eliminating careers you don’t want:

  • Eliminate jobs with duties that you don’t like.
  • Eliminate careers that have don’t have a good prospect.
  • Eliminate careers that come with educational or other requirements which you don’t have and you are unwilling to fulfill the educational requirement.
  • Eliminate careers where you lack some of the soft skills necessary to succeed in it.

5. Do Some In-depth Research

By now you have only a few occupations left on your list. This is the time to start doing more in-depth research. At this point, you want to start meeting with people who have first-hand knowledge about the occupation on your narrowed list. Interview them, ask them questions about the jobs on your list. You can also check LinkedIn and research people you currently work in the career field you wish to follow.

6. Make Your Career Choice

At this point, you are now ready to make your choice. Go ahead pick the occupation you think will bring you the most satisfaction and happiness. Of cause, you should do this base on the information you have gathered. Don’t feel pressured. Even if you make a mistake you can always start from stage one. You won’t be the first person to change a career. Making people change their careers a couple of times in their lifetime.

7. Identify Your Long and Short Term Goals

Now you have made the choice of the career you wish to pursue, this is the time to identify your long and short term goals. So many people make mistake here and skip this step. Don’t skip it. It will be difficult to eventually land the job or work in the field you choose.

Long term goals can take about three to five years while short term goals take about six months to three years. The research you did in the previous stages will come in handy here and you might need to do some more research.

A long-term goal might be completing your Master’s degree while a short-term goal might be attending a training program.

8. Draw A Career Action Plan

This is a written document that lays out the steps you need to help you reach your short and long term goals. It serves as a roadmap of how you can get from the point in which you start off your career and climb up the ladder.

As any good plan, you should include any anticipated challenge, barriers to achieving your goals. You also want to write down strategies you will employ to overcome them.

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