Choosing a career is never an exact science. There are many self-assessment resources available online or in print, but these can only guide you towards your final decision. If you want to make the right career choice, you have to look within yourself. What are your interests? What are your goals? What skills do you possess?
Some people claim you can’t make a living off your hobbies. That’s not exactly true. What if you enjoy golfing on your spare time? You can pursue a career as a professional golfer.
Each year, you’ll see numerous books and articles, in which “experts” list what they predict will be the most lucrative careers. You shouldn’t let those lists dictate your career decisions.
Many people choose to follow in the footsteps of family and friends. One person may figure, “My dad loves being a cop. I guess I should become one.” Just because your father’s happy with his career path doesn’t mean you will. Think about what makes YOU happy.
Personal style is a crucial factor. Let’s say you’re passionate about music. You may want to consider becoming a performing artist. If you’re shy and introverted, this may not be an ideal choice. Therefore, you might want to consider becoming a composer, music librarian, or researcher.
A great salary doesn’t necessarily translate into a great job. If it’s been your life dream to become a doctor or lawyer, then the great salary should serve as a bonus and not a primary motivation. Teachers don’t always make great salaries, but if your dream is to pursue a career in education, go for it!
The following are several additional questions you may want to ponder, before choosing your career:
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What experience do I have and what more do I need?
- What type of pressure is involved?
- Will I be able to maintain a healthy family life?
- What are my natural talents?
- What are my physical needs?
Making good career choices is not always an easy process. It often requires thorough critical thinking. Coming up with a list of potential careers will certainly get the ball rolling.
Healthy Career Choices
Are you still not sure which career path to take in life? You can always take career tests, which will help decide which field is best suited for you. Some people request the assistance of career counselors or other career development professionals. Check your public library for career planning help, as well as colleges and universities.
Look over lists of occupations generated by self-assessment tools. Come up with a shorter list, narrowing it down to between five and ten occupations. Circle occupations that appear in multiple lists. Circle occupations that you find appealing and have considered previously. Transfer those occupations to a separate list, titling it “Occupations to Explore.”
For each occupation on the list, look at the job description, educational requirements, advancement opportunities, and earnings. Gather more in-depth information. If you can, go ahead and interview people who have experience in that occupation (some of whom may be friends of yours).
Based on your in-depth research, continue to narrow down the list. You may not want to dedicate time and energy into an occupation in which an advanced degree is required. Maybe you consider the earnings of a particular occupation to be inadequate.
When you’ve chosen the one occupation you’d like to pursue, set up a plan and find a job in that field. Train for your new career. You may have to earn a degree or certificate, do an internship, or take certain courses to learn the required skills.
Even after putting all that time and effort into compiling these lists, you may discover that your chosen occupation is not your ideal career choice. Don’t panic. Nobody is “locked in” to a career. You can always choose a different career path. Even the skills you learned won’t go to waste. You’d be surprised how much you can apply those skills to your new job, no matter how different it is.