Career Development

What Career Is Right for Me?

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Finding the right career can benefit your life in many ways. With so many career options available, you may feel unsure about which ones to pursue. Finding the best career for you takes some time and careful thought, but it is possible. Learn how to answer the question, ‘What career is right for me?’ with a variety of exploration methods and research techniques.

What is the right career for me?

The simple answer is that the right career for you is the career that fulfills you the most. Whether this fulfillment comes from financial security, spending each day working on your passion or a great work-life balance, it will be unique to you and your needs.

Why is it important to find the right career?

Finding the right career for you is important because you will likely spend a lot of your time invested in your job. Finding a career that fulfills you and provides you with the environment, salary and purpose you desire will lead to greater happiness and health in the long run as well as the achievement of your career goals.

Exploration methods to discover your career path

Consider the following methods to help you explore potential career paths:

Take a career test

Career assessments can be a useful way to start thinking about what career paths you may enjoy. The results will match you with careers based on the skills you possess, interests you have and your personality. 

Examples of career tests:

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator. The MBTI is one of the most common assessments used to understand your personality, including information about how you learn, what type of decision-making process you have and what kind of structure you need.
  • Self-Directed Search. The SDS categorizes people and jobs into six types: realistic, investigative, social, enterprising, artistic or conventional. Based upon your answers, the assessment will give you three categories that may best suit you, with a list of corresponding careers to look into.
  • MyPlan.com. This site has four tests to measure your personality and what work environment may best fit you. After you have taken the tests, you can opt to use a service that takes your test results and matches you with possible jobs.
  • MAPP Career Assessment Test. The MAPP is a comprehensive test that takes into account what you like to do and how you like to do it and provides you with a list of 20 potential careers to begin a more focused search.
  • The Big 5 Personality Test. This test teaches you more about how you work and how you relate to others, such as the way you manage stress and new experiences and how introverted or extroverted you are.
  • Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator. This assessment evaluates which of the nine Enneagram types your characteristics match most: The reformer, helper, achiever, investigator, enthusiast, challenger, loyalist, individualist or peacemaker. Finding out your type can help you understand the type of career you may need to have to feel fulfilled.

Conduct an informational interview

An informational interview is when you speak to someone who already works in the field you are considering to learn more about a specific role. An interview helps you understand the realities of the career to determine if it truly fits you and to discover other career paths you may like more. 

Find a mentor

If you have an idea of what career you want to pursue, but are unsure of how to do it, you may want to get a mentor. A career mentor is someone who helps others get on the right path towards their desired job. They offer advice, support, knowledge and expertise to provide ongoing assistance as you seek out your profession.

Start volunteering

Another way to find out what job is best for you is to volunteer. Volunteering provides an opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers and roles within a specific industry and learn about the types of challenges and rewards they may offer you. It also helps you learn more about yourself, including your skills and values.

Consider past experiences

Evaluating your past experiences can make it clear what you want to gain from your next job. Consider what you liked most and least about companies you worked at, which company cultures and management types you prefer and what tasks you felt the happiest performing.

Take classes

Attending workshops and taking online classes can help you dive deeper into your interests to figure out if you really want to pursue them as a career. They can also help you discover new interests and passions. Search your area for upcoming seminars, and take a look at the many online learning sites where you can take courses.

The four Ps to understand the best career for your personality type

Using the four Ps technique can help you acquire more knowledge about the following aspects of your character:

Passion

Make a list of the hobbies, activities and causes you care about. Consider these passions and how you could incorporate them into a career. For example, if you enjoy taking photos and watching crime shows, you might consider a career in crime photography. If you enjoy an activity so much you would do it for free, that could be a great career opportunity.

Personality

Knowing your personality type can help you narrow down careers based on your strengths, how you interact with others and how you like to work. For example, if you enjoy spending time alone and work well with little supervision, you may find a work-at-home career benefits your personality more than a job in a corporate cubicle.

Preferences

Consider your preferences for what type of work environment, work pace and work tasks you enjoy most. Think about the work-life balance you want, what type of coworkers you’d like to spend time with and if you enjoy fast-paced or more slow-paced work. Contemplate if you like working as a team or an individual and if you want a traditional nine-to-five job or a flexible position.

Principles

Your core values and beliefs can also play a large role in what career is best for you. Make a list of the qualities you deem important in a company and your coworkers, and search for possible jobs based on these. For example, if you value collaboration and a peaceful, positive environment, you may enjoy working at an artistic start-up.

Tips to help you think about your future goals

Here are some ways you can think about the future to uncover areas that may offer new career paths:

Opportunities for growth

If you have narrowed down your career interests, make sure you look into the growth opportunities at the companies you want to work at. Knowing if and how you can advance within a company will help you pinpoint which options provide you the best chance of future success.

Lifestyle

The lifestyle you want to live should contribute to your job search. Think about where you want to live, if you care about having a car and what salary you desire. Assess your family responsibilities, hobbies and other needs and how a specific career move will affect them.

Job market viability

Another component of a career that is important to consider is stability. Research the expected job market growth of each job you want to pursue to help you choose a field with high job security.