With thousands of options, how will you choose a career that’s right for you? If you don’t have any idea what you want to do, the task may seem insurmountable. Fortunately, it isn’t. Follow an organized process and you will increase your chances of making a good decision.
Before you can choose the right career, you must know yourself. Your values, interests, soft skills, and aptitudes, in combination with your personality type, make some occupations a good fit for you and others completely inappropriate.
Use self-assessment tools, and tests to gather information about your traits and, subsequently, generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on them. Some people choose to work with a career counsellor or career coach or other career development professionals who can help them navigate this process.
Make a List of Occupations to Explore
You probably have multiple lists of occupations in front of you at this point—one generated by each of the self-assessment tools you used. To keep yourself organized, you should combine them into one final list.
First, look for careers that appear on multiple lists and copy them onto a blank page. Title it “Occupations to Explore.” Your self- assessments indicated they are a good fit for you based on several of your traits, so they’re definitely worth exploring.
Next, find any occupations on your lists that appeal to you. They may be careers you know a bit about and want to explore further. Also, include professions about which you don’t know much. You might learn something unexpected.
Explore the Occupations on Your List
At this point, you’ll be thrilled you managed to narrow your list down to only 10 to 20 options. Now you can get some basic information about each of the occupations on your list.
Create a “Short List”
Now you have more information, start to narrow down your list even further. Based on what you learned from your research so far, begin eliminating the careers you don’t want to pursue any further. You should end up with two to five occupations on your “short list.”
If your reasons for finding a career unacceptable are non-negotiable, cross it off your list. Remove everything with duties that don’t appeal to you. Eliminate careers that have weak market. Get rid of any occupation if you are unable or unwilling to fulfill the educational or other requirements, or if you lack some of the soft skills necessary to succeed in it.
When you have only a few occupations left on your list, start doing more in-depth research. Arrange to meet with people who work in the occupations in which you are interested. They can provide first-hand knowledge about the careers on your short list. .
Make Your Career Choice
Finally, after doing all your research, you are probably ready to make your choice. Pick the occupation that you think will bring you the most satisfaction based on all the information you have gathered. Realize that you are allowed do-overs if you change your mind about your choice at any point in your life. Many people change their careers at least a few times.
Let the research you did about required education and training be your guide. If you don’t have all the details, do some more research. Once you have all the information you need, set your goals. An example of a long-term goal would be completing your education and training. Short-term goals include applying to college, apprenticeships, other training programs, and internships.
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