6 Tips For Choosing the Right Career Path
Choosing a career is almost always overwhelming. Even if you know what you’re interested in, committing to one career path can seem too final, like it’s taking away your ability to change your mind. When it comes to picking a career, it’s important to remember that you can always switch things up later, but for right now, you’ll need to choose something.
Very few people can confidently say that they know the right career path for themselves, but if that isn’t you, that’s alright! Many people are in the same boat, which means that, fortunately for you, there’s a lot of advice available, such as How to Advance Professional Growth in Your Career, helping young professionals improve their career prospects and get ahead quickly.
While there is no foolproof plan to find the right career path, here are a few tips that can help set you off in the right direction...
#1. Do a Self-Assessment
Self-assessments are a vital step in determining what type of career environment you do and don’t want. Some people are content in office jobs while others want something more lively and active. Before you start considering different career options, take the time to really think about the type of career environment you want.
When you do your self-assessment, make sure to be honest with yourself and really think about your answers. Since you’ll likely be reflecting back on them, it can be helpful to write them down in a notebook or on a piece of paper.
Some things you might want to think about include your key values, any soft skills you possess, the technical skills you have, your natural talents, your personality, and what interests you. Everyone will have different responses.
#2. List Out Possible Careers
When you’re still deciding what you might be interested in, don’t limit yourself to one or two potential jobs. Instead, make a list of whatever you think might interest you. If you used an online self-assessment or career interest tool, then you likely have a couple options already presented to you.
Another way to find potential careers is to search “careers for people interested in X” and type in your interest. If you want to go off of your personality type, then search “careers for X personality type”. You should get a few lists and from these lists, write down anything that sounds appealing to you.
#3. Do a Job Shadow
If you have two or three careers that you’re really interested in, but you can’t choose between, doing a job shadow can help give you a better idea of what that career will be like.
During your job shadow, ask questions about the career: What does the person like or dislike about the job? How hard is it to get into this career? Are there any other workplaces where this job may be necessary?
Job shadowing is the perfect way to get up close to a potential job and get involved. You won’t be conducting any of the actual work, but you’ll spend the day with a professional who can give you a realistic glimpse into the job field.
#4. Research Your Potential Job
If you’re fairly confident that you’re interested in a certain career path, first take the time to do some research. Look up the salary, education requirements, growth opportunities, and job outlook. If you’re happy with the results and still want to go into the career, great! It’s time to move on to the next step!
If you do some research and find out that you likely won’t enjoy the job or it has specific education requirements that you aren’t interested in, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. There are hundreds of career paths out there so don’t feel like you’re running out of options. Instead, just go back to your master list of possible careers and keep researching.
#5. Talk to an Executive Resume Writer
If you’re looking to land a job in the big leagues, then you’ll need to do better than your template resume. While templates are helpful and can help your resume look neater, they’ll look like everyone else’s resume unless you get professional help.
Executive resume writers excel at creating C-level resumes that are designed to impress. Even if you’re fairly new to the career field, having a strong resume will increase your chances of career advancement and set you off on the right foot.
When you work with an executive resume writer, you can get an even better idea of your career goals. They’ll ask you about your work experience, education, and about your specific career goals. As you work with them, you’ll develop a much more focused idea of where you want to take your career and how they can help you with it.
#6. Apply for Jobs
You’ll never be able to start your career if you’re too afraid to apply. With your rewritten resume and your new knowledge about the career field, it’s time to throw yourself into job applications. Through online resources and in-person recommendations, don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that you may not be quite experienced for. You might be surprised by the outcome.
The best and only way to start your career is to actually apply for positions that will allow you to get there. If you remain in your room or stick to your day job as a waiter, you’ll never get the career you’ve always dreamed of. Instead of waiting for the perfect time and the perfect job listing, just start applying!
Start Your Career Today
Choosing a career path involves making a choice today. It doesn’t have to be your final decision and you’re welcome to change your mind as many times as you need to, but if you don’t take that first step towards making a decision, then you’ll never get to where you want to be.
When it comes time to choose a career, many people press pause and delay for as long as possible. It’s a big choice and it can feel scary, but forcing yourself to take the next step is the quickest way to success.