With thousands of options, how do you decide which career path is right for you? The task may be impossible if you don’t know about different industries and what you want to do.
Luckily, it isn’t difficult if you follow an organized process. This increases your odds of making the right career decision. Since we spend around 1/3rd of our lives at work, it is important to thoroughly reflect on the type of industry, job, and career we want to invest our time in.
Also, decide on a career path that best fits your skills, sparks your interest, lets you enjoy, and gives you a sense of purpose. So now, if you are wondering which career path suits you, read this article.
In this article, we will discuss some key factors that you must consider before making a career choice. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
1. List Down Career Paths to Explore
The first step is to look for jobs that sound desirable and interesting to you. Is there any particular industry that sounds exciting and appeals to you? Are you naturally drawn to a specific work category like counselling or education?
Once you have narrowed down the industries, write them down and research more about the job titles. For instance, in the case of MSW vs Master’s in Counseling, learn more about their differences and job descriptions. While both social workers and counsellors play a significant role in supporting people with a mental illness, their level of support and approach may vary considerably.
You may find a title desirable, but the job description may not be a good fit for you. Explore different industries, research the job descriptions thoroughly, and see if they align with your values and goals.
It is essential to narrow down the industries where you want to work, which will determine the next course of action you should take: to assess yourself.
2. Assess Yourself
Once you have selected the career options to explore, it is time for self-reflection. Learn more about your values, soft skills, interests, aptitudes, and personality type. Once familiar with yourself, you can pick some professions that best fit you.
Several online career tests and self-assessment tools are available to help you gather information about your interests and traits. Based on these results, you can quickly generate a list of professions that perfectly match your personality.
Similarly, reflect on what type of work you enjoy the most, what kind of work environment you like to be in, who you want to work with and how much you wish to excel in your career. To get a clear answer, you may also consider answering the following self-assessment questions:
- What soft and technical skills do you possess? Examples: problem-solving, data analytics, time management, or photography
- What is your personality type? Examples: outgoing, quiet, extrovert, etc.
- What natural aptitudes do you possess? Examples: leadership, project management, selling, etc.
- What interests you the most? Examples: Writing, medicine, etc.
3. Identify Your Career Goals
Imagine what a perfect life looks like to you. Now, make a list of both personal and professional goals to bring your ideal life to reality. Once you have a clear vision of your future life, it will be easier for you to choose the right career path to reach there.
Identify your short and long-term goals. This would help you approach a more specific job search.
Your short-term goals may be achieved in six months to two years period, and your long-term goals may typically take about three to five years to accomplish.
4. Reflect on Your Motivations for Your Career Choice
After you have set your goals and explored jobs that you find appealing, turn to your motivations for working. For this, research each option to determine possible career opportunities. Your goal is to choose one or even two career options that excite you.
For example, you may want to opt for a career that pays a higher basic salary than other comparable professions or offer flexible working options for you to work from anywhere. Similarly, look into what the day-to-day life of each job looks like or if there is an opportunity for growth or career advancement in your chosen field.
Another essential factor to look for is how your chosen career field stands in the labour market. Analyze data involving job growth and hiring trends.
While not all careers will offer everything you would like, understand and organize your priorities and then make a decision to choose the job that perfectly meets your needs today.
5. Write Down Your Career Action Plan
Since you know which career path to pursue, create a proper action plan. It is a written document laying out all the essential steps you need to take to fulfil your goals. You may think of it as a road map that helps you reach points A to B and then from C to D.
Your career plan must include both your short and long-term goals. It should outline the steps required to accomplish them. It must consist of any possible roadblocks that may get in your way of achieving your goals and how you can successfully overcome them.
Remember, well-planned is half done. Thus, it may sound like a lot of work, but once you know what you want and how to get it, it becomes much easier to forge a career path. In other words, taking these steps will save you a lot of uncertainty and struggle in the long run.
5 Big Career Choice Tips that Work
It is crucial to choose your career path wisely. While choosing a career that perfectly fits you may take time, remember it will continue to shift throughout your professional journey.
You may find yourself changing industries and roles as your motivations, interests and needs change. Yet, you can continue following the career choice tips below to make the best decision for yourself at any stage of choosing a suitable career path:
- List down career paths to explore.
- Identify your career goals.
- Reflect on your motivations for your career choice.
- Write down your career action plan.
They are designed to structure your thought process to determine which career suits you best while you achieve your goals and live your dream life.
I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.