How to Choose a Career That is Right For You (With Tips)

How to Choose a Career That is Right For You (With Tips) |

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Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions a person makes in their lifetime. Although most professionals change careers at least once before they retire, each job they pursue can significantly affect their lifestyles and their futures. If you are struggling to determine which career path you should follow, read on to discover the steps you can follow to choose a profession that suits you and your goals.

Why is choosing the right career important?

Choosing a career that suits your interests, preferences and needs is an important decision that can affect every other part of your life. Your work schedule will impact how much time you have to spend with family, friends or hobbies. Your work stress level can affect your mental and physical health, as well as your job satisfaction rate. Taking these factors into consideration when choosing a career can help you to find a rewarding job that suits your lifestyle.

How to choose a career

Choosing a career is an important decision that can impact the rest of your life. Here are the steps you can follow when choosing a career:

1. First, perform a self-assessment

The first step in choosing a career is carefully assessing your own skillset, interests, preferences and needs. Being self-aware will help you decide on a career that relates to your passions and accomplishes your goals. One method for performing a thorough self-assessment is to sit down and write out several lists. Make a list of all your skills, a list of interests that you would like to pursue and a list of goals that you want to achieve as a professional. Keep these lists nearby as you continue to the next steps.

Another option is to take self-assessment tests online or on paper. You can take tests to find out important facts like your career aptitude, your personality types and your learning style. Make a note of the results so that you can refer to them later.

2. Second, determine your salary requirements

Next, you need to determine how much income you need to generate each year to provide for your chosen lifestyle. To do this, you should start by finding out the average cost of living in the areas in which you want to work. You can also research the average salary that professionals make in those same areas. Then, you should write an example budget that includes monthly expenses like rent, car payments, student loan bills and insurance.

Once you have these figures, you should be able to determine how much money you need to make every month or every year in order to pay your bills and provide for yourself or your family. This number is now your salary requirement.

3. Third, create a list of possible jobs

Next, take your lists of skills, interests and goals, as well as your salary requirement, and make a list of possible job titles. This should include jobs that require your skillset, jobs that involve things that interest you and jobs that would help you improve or succeed professionally. If you are struggling to think of options, try conducting internet searches for terms like ‘jobs that involve working with kids,’ ‘jobs that pay $50,000 per year’ and ‘jobs that require public speaking.’ The results page should be filled with potential positions that fit your criteria.

4. Fourth, shorten your possible job list to 10 titles

Once you have a working list of possible jobs, you need to start narrowing it down. The easiest way to do this to conduct some more research. You can start by finding out the job outlook for each potential position. Job outlook involves how likely it is that you will be able to find job openings in a certain field. When choosing a career, it is important to look for jobs that can provide long-term security.

You can also narrow your list by looking at factors like educational requirements, experience specifications and other qualifications. Knowing what degrees you would need to earn, how many years of training would be needed and other similar facts can help you eliminate certain jobs and focus on others.

5. Fifth, conduct informational interviews

Once you have a shortlist of 10 jobs, you can move on to the next step: informational interviews. Informational interviews are meetings that you schedule with experienced professionals to find out more about their jobs. Asking someone what they do and do not like about their job is one of the best ways to determine or not a certain career is the right choice for you.

You can conduct informational interviews in person, by email or over the phone. To request an informational interview, you should send a polite, professional email to a professional in your desired industry. In the email, ask them if they have time to answer a few questions about what they do. You may need to ask 10-12 people before you reach someone who has time in their schedule to meet. When you conduct the interview, you can ask questions like:

  • Why did you choose this career?
  • What do you like about your career?
  • What are the drawbacks?
  • Which degrees have you earned?
  • What skills do you use regularly?
  • What advice do you have for someone interested in the industry?

6. Lastly, choose a job title

By this point, you should have a fairly solid idea of which career you want to pursue. Ideally, your dream career will allow you to do something you enjoy or that you are passionate about, while also earning an adequate living. Once you have decided on a career, you should then choose one or more specific job titles. Conducting an internet search for a specific job title should produce an abundance of information related to job descriptions, requirements, benefits and drawbacks.

Finally, you can begin working toward your dream job by pursuing education, acquiring skills and gaining experience.

Tips for choosing the right career

Many people choose a profession only to realize that it is not actually a good fit. Here are some final tips on how to choose a career that is right for you:

  • Determine your work style. Before you choose a career, take time to understand what you need in a work environment. Determining things like if you work better with others, enjoy working outside or dislike talking to strangers will influence how well you can work in certain environments.
  • Make a long-term plan. When choosing a career, it is a good idea to make a long-term plan for your future as a professional. Asking yourself questions like whether or not you want to continue your education, own your own business or move abroad can help you to formulate a plan and choose a career that helps you accomplish specific goals.
  • Understand your values. Your personal value system and mission statement should greatly affect which career you choose. If you enjoy serving others or if your goal is to make a difference in your community, your values should guide you to choose a career that allows you to participate in activities you find rewarding.

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