How To Choose The Right Career For You

The career that you choose is the peak of your journey as a professional.

Many people will take on a career, as it could help them to better define their goals, acquire more experience, or knowledge, be better with responsibilities, or simply gain a higher salary. 

However, trying to find a career that actually suits you will take a lot more time, and it is not surprising if you end up changing careers throughout your life.

You could change roles, or even whole industries as your motivation and interest changes.

A survey completed by the US BLS found that those who were born between 1957 and 1964 had around 12.4 jobs between ages 18 and 54. 

It is now anticipated that people stay in one job for 4 years each. So, we can certainly say that finding a career that is right for you is necessary as it could save you from a lot of job changes. 

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Decide Which Job Sectors You Would Like To Work In

Part of the process of finding out what career is for you is to narrow down the job sectors that could work for you.

You should spend some time exploring career ideas, considering the different paths that are interesting to you. 

This will help you to narrow down the options that you have. 

Consider various job sectors.

What sector would you prefer to work in, look into its elements, key trends, and so on, by researching national jobs and the global jobs market for that job sector. 

This can help you to discover even more career paths that are potentially open to you. 

You will also get a better overall understanding of the roles in the current global market that are the most secure, have the best employment ratings, and which roles are declining and expanding in that sector. 

This is important because it can be critical to narrowing down what career is for you to understand when a sector role is a risky career choice with a lack of stability, or when it is stable and likely to be reliable in the long run. 

Private

The private sector for employment includes limited companies, sole traders, and partnerships.

This could include builders, contractors, handymen, accountants, solicitors, and so on. 

Restaurants, bars, and cafés can also often fall into this category as well, however, the specifics of this will define an individual establishment better. 

An example of a limited company could be any business that can be set up as a private company, such as hairdressers, lawyers, dentists, driving teachers, and so on. 

Public

Public sector jobs include local and national government employment as well as chartered bodies and agencies.

Jobs in this category can include police officers, clerks, firefighters, administrators, city planners, and so on. 

Many public sector jobs include government jobs, they are public service.

Jobs with local, state, federal, or tribal government organizations, as well as public family or child agencies, tribal universities, and colleges, are all public service jobs. 

This is a very broad area, but it covers a lot of the jobs that are government or state-funded. 

Not-For-Profit

Finally, there are not-for-profit jobs that are typically known as the third sector.

This is the sector that covers voluntary work and charity work.

Jobs in the third sector (not-for-profit sector) include social enterprises and cooperatives, charities, community and voluntary organizations, private research institutes, and think tanks. 

However, remember this is not a sector that includes colleges or universities, as these jobs would fall into the public sector. 

These jobs usually provide an essential service to the public to help and improve the well-being of people and contribute greatly to economic development and growth.

They also tend to play a big part in the support of communities locally as well. 

Perform A Self-Assessment

Before you make an important decision, such as which career to pursue, you should self-reflect.

You should reflect on the type of working environment you wish to be in, what kind of work you enjoy, the kind of people you want to work with, and more. 

As you reflect, you should take notes.

Note-taking is sure to help you keep track as you look for jobs, to ensure that you are ticking off all the boxes. 

Let’s look over a few things you should consider reflecting upon. 

Key Questions You Should Be Considering

Consider what you enjoy doing, and what means a lot to you.

These two primary factors can be very helpful in indicating how you want to spend your working life.

This doesn’t mean following and finding your passion though. 

Passion can be misleading and confusing, and passion is not always useful in your career.

However, you want something that will make you feel energized, and excited to wake up every morning and go to work. 

Consider the following things and take them into account as you make your decision about what you want to do in the long term of your career. 

What Are Your Key Values?

Ask yourself what is most important to you in life, what your priorities are, and where you find meaning.

Consider if there is a certain change or aspect of modern life that you want to change, and how you would like to be a part of this change. 

If you have a deep interest in climate change and the environment for example, consider looking into public sector jobs in this, or not-for-profit organizations that focus on the environment. 

What matters to you will help drive you in your career, and having a career that has a deep focus on something close to your priorities will help to keep pushing you forward.

What Soft Skills Do You Possess?

Soft skills can include things such as communication, time management, problem-solving, and confidence.

Things are not specific to any job but are important qualities to have to work well. 

Some careers may require certain soft skills more than others.

For example, a career that works in customer service requires good communication and problem-solving skills.

However, a career in catering will benefit a great deal from individuals who are great at time management. 

Problem-solving can be useful in many jobs, however, careers in which individual workers have to take initiative a lot, such as in care or public sector jobs benefit from this a great deal.

What Technical Skills Do You Possess?

Technical skills are more niche skills, this could be planning, data analytics, photography, research, or even the ability to speak another language. 

These skills will be more useful to specific careers and can narrow down what you can do in your career a great deal.

However, remember not to focus only on what you can do, but on what you enjoy. 

Perhaps you are skilled at data analytics, but perhaps you do not enjoy doing it.

If so, you could take skills from this ability and apply them to something you do love. 

Consider your niche strengths, and which of them make you excited and happy.

What Natural Aptitudes Do You Have?

Natural aptitudes include skills that you have which come to you naturally.

You might be a naturally good seller, or simply a great communicator.

You may be a sound leader, or have a natural flair for writing. 

Skills which you naturally possess are useful in work environments too and can help you choose a career that is not only ideal for you but that you can naturally fit into.

If your career focuses on a natural aptitude of yours, it will come easily, and won’t feel forced.

What’s Your Personality Like?

Personality matters as well. For example, you could be introverted, extroverted, loyal, confident, aggressive, calm, and so on.

An introverted person would not do as well in a fast-paced customer service job as someone extroverted. 

However, someone who is introverted may work better in a more relaxed office role working from home. 

Confident people can work well in leadership roles, but loyal people can work well in jobs where there is a clear and tall ladder to climb. 

How you are personally can help to tell you the types of roles you will flourish in.

What Are You Interested In?

Your interests are also a clear point of focus, so it is always a good idea to seek out a career in something that interests you.

If something already piques your interest, then seeking out a career in that same topic will ensure you are never bored. 

Following your interests and passions feeds motivation and interest in the job.

Doing something you love as your job makes work feel less like work, and increases productivity and overall happiness. 

With such a focus on mental health in today’s society, having a career you enjoy is super important, and this is one of the first steps to realizing that. 

Make A List Of Careers To Explore

Once you have noted what you want in your career, and what you need in a career, and have gone on a path of self-discovery to find out what in the working world means the most to you, you can start seeking out jobs that are a good fit for you. 

If there is a job that you are unfamiliar with, make a note of it and be sure to complete some research on it later on. 

Also, remember that a job title does not always represent the job wholly, titles do not always seem to be desirable, but the description of the job may be a better fit for you. 

  • Use networking skills to explore jobs that may be available to someone with your skill set.
  • Consider interesting industries. If there is one that appeals to you, look into it and talk to those already working in it. 
  • Identify the things you enjoy.
  • List down your values and your goals.
  • Evaluate your talents and strengths in working environments and your personal life. 

Write A Career Action Plan

If you already have an idea of what you want to do as a career, then create a career action plan.

These are written documents that lay out all the steps that you will need to take to meet your goals. 

This is like a career road map, there to take you from point A to point B and so on.

Note down all of your short-term and long-term goals as well as the steps you will need to take to be able to make each one of them a reality. 

Do not forget to include any anticipated barriers that you may face in the process of trying to achieve your goals, and make sure to note down solutions to them, so you are prepared should you face these issues. 

It does sound like a lot of effort, and it is, but it is better to be prepared and not need it in the end than it is to not prepare and end up having needed it. 

Identify Your Skills And Interests

Skills and interests can be a great way to help you narrow down your career options, and pick out an applicable job role.

If you are interested in a specific sector, your interests and skills can help you to look through all the job roles in that sector, and pick out one that fits you. 

Perhaps you are looking into the public sector as an option.

An interest in environmental issues could see you are ideal if you also have skills in location scouting or geography.

You could be ideal for a career in local preservation, or anti-pollution planning projects. 

Alternatively, if you were interested in more private sector work, with an interest in investments, and have top-tier skills in math, then a career as an accountant could be the best option for you. 

Consider your interests and skills in tandem, and try to see what job roles are a match to your unique abilities and passions.

It is best to seek a job that matches you than to approach career searching the other way around.

Take Up An Internship Or Volunteer Work

Volunteer work and internships are amazing ways to get some insight into how a job works.

Volunteering and internships are both technically a version of trial work, in which you experience a career for no or little payment. 

While this may sound like a poor trade to some people, this is a great way to work, as it can give you experience, show initiative and a willingness to work, as well as give you an insight into the chosen industry. 

You can tell from trial work, volunteering opportunities, and internships if you will be a good fit for that industry, or if the job is as you had hoped. 

On some occasions, a trial experience can result in a contract. 

These experiences do not work in the long run, but they can be a great way to gain some experience and insight before you commit to a single career.

A trial period could even function as employment probation, just to see if things work out.

Set Achievable Goals

Whatever path you are considering choosing when you make up your career plan, ensure you are being realistic.

A career plan should outline how you will get to the future career you hope for, and what you need to do to get to this point. 

Review your progress regularly, especially when you meet short-term goals. 

A backup plan is also a good idea, but ensure that the whole plan you are creating is realistic and that the goals you are setting are achievable.

It can be fun to write down goals that might be possible or could work in certain circumstances. 

However, if you are making goals that you are not 100% sure you can meet, that may not be realistic for you right now, or are a bit out there, rethink your process. 

You set the goals you make to be able to reach them eventually.

If you are not realistically able to reach your goals, consider what you definitely CAN do, and work towards them.

You do not need to be reaching for the stars right now, but instead are putting a ladder in place to touch the stars.

Discuss With Professionals

Talking with industry professionals can be a great way to narrow down career options if you have not already.

If you are a bit stuck on how the industry works, what you should expect from a specific job role or career? 

If you do have a specific career in mind, however, speak to industry professionals who have a career similar to or like the one you are interested in.

Start with a single question to begin, and this should help you get a response, especially if you are using LinkedIn to ask. 

Networking is another aspect of career-changing and decision-making that should be thoroughly thought out and considered as a key aspect of the process, but we will go into more detail on this in a moment. 

Broadening your contacts and speaking to people with actual industry experience can help you get a better scope of what a career entails and what you should expect from it.

Start Networking

You needn’t only contact industry professionals on LinkedIn, consider going to events and seminars to meet with people who work within one of the prospective industries you are considering. 

Doing this could be a critical step in your career journey.

Of course, research has also found that around 85% of jobs are filled via networking, so it might be the most important step that you take in your hunt for a new career.

We generally underestimate the importance of networking in job searching, and we usually just look at adverts and job boards.

However, networking can be a very critical puzzle piece in building the professional future you desire. 

The more people you meet in different industries and different walks of life you will get the more diverse portfolio of opportunities you may have.

You can also gain different insights this way. 

Networking provides not only an opportunity to gain fresh scope regarding how to get the right career for you but also gives you a chance to gain potential employment interest too!

Get Training And Update Your Resume

Upskilling is a good way to go when seeking a new career.

There are endless online resources to help you.

Should you have your eye on one or two different career paths, it is good to look into if you should get some additional credentials or training. 

Some employers will provide training on the job, but many will look for candidates who already have the skills they need.

So, it can be a good idea to upskill if you think it will increase your chances of getting the career you desire. 

When looking at jobs online, take a look at their “requirements” section and look at what you may need to do to fill in any gaps. 

Then, once you are comfortably qualified for this career, update your resume to show all your skills, strengths, and qualifications. 

Before you apply to anything, it is always a good idea to do industry-based research, look at specific job positions, and figure out what the majority of employers are looking for in candidates for these roles. 

Consider If The Path Will Meet Your Financial Needs

As you discover potential opportunities and career paths that interest you, make sure that you do not disregard the other aspects of your life that matter.

Dreams and interests are not the only focuses of career choice. 

Salary and financial viability also matter.

Not every job is viable for every person, as some have higher income requirements than others. 

Some jobs such as professors and teachers come with awesome status, but they are not high-income jobs.

Some other professions such as lawyers and a doctor do pay well, but their working hours are long and unpredictable. 

There are some other job roles out there, such as being an entrepreneur that have a lot more creative control and excitement, however, they are oftentimes not the most stable income source and can take a long time to build into a successful income. 

Whatever you decide, do make sure that the choice you make is not only a good fit for you, but a good fit for your lifestyle and your financial needs.

Your work can have a massive impact on how satisfied and happy you are with your career in the long term. 

Look Into Fast-Growing Industries

Considering fast-growing industries.

A career in a fast-growing industry might give you extra opportunities.

It is recommended that you take a look into the US BLS forecast for industries that are expected to grow the fastest in the coming years. 

The US BLS should also have a list showing the industries that have the fastest salary and wage growth as well, as this should help you brainstorm and consider the overall options that are best for your future. 

Note that new professions are also always popping up, considering the number of new job titles that were created by the COVID-19 pandemic to respond to the whole new normal that was created at this time.

There are also new opportunities that come with technological growth, such as virtual assistants, growth hackers, and digital marketers, all of which did not exist before the turn of the century. 

Consider that there are always new weird and wonderful opportunities popping up as the world evolves. 

Continue Growing And Learning As You Step Into Your New Career

As is the case with any type of change, once you have stepped into a new career, it can take quite a bit of time for you to fully adjust and get used to the new environment, work type, and style.

As you experience this transition, be sure to pay attention to all aspects of your job. 

Consider the aspects of the job that you enjoy, and make sure to stay positive.

It is even well worth writing down the parts of your job that you are excelling at, and the parts of your job you enjoy the most. 

This would come in handy if you have an employee review, or if you ever find yourself looking for new work, you can refer back to this experience and these skills. 

As you spend time in this new employment situation you will grow, change, and learn more about yourself over time.

You will also learn more about the industry you are in, as well as what works best for you and what you are best at in your career. 

Let’s consider three things you should always consider when you are in a new career.

Make The Most Out Of Your First Year

In your new job, it can be a bit much to take in all this new information in one hit, at the same time as learning the industry and becoming a well-established member of the workforce team. 

It can be helpful to research how you can succeed in your new role.

But, do not forget to make the most out of it, enjoy it, take in the information you are given, and take notes.

Talk to your colleagues and make new friends.

Making friends with colleagues can be useful in the future, as many will eventually move on, and having contacts can help you change careers if you ever need to. 

Keep Track Of Your Goals

Ensure that in this new employment, you still maintain the habit of tracking your progress and your goals.

If you happen to feel unsatisfied or uneasy in your new career, it is useful to go back and revisit your future goals. 

If your career does not align with your desires for your future, consider shifting the tasks you have at hand, or perhaps seeking out other roles that may suit your goals better. 

If your career does match up with your goals, however, and you want to figure out how you can work through your goals even faster to get to where you want to be, speak to a supervisor. 

Your new employer should have a scheme in place to allow employees to climb the ladder, make use of this, and ask about your future possibilities. 

Pursue Your Interests

If your job has any specific activity, task, or role that you enjoy the most, ensure that you spend plenty of time exploring these interests and developing them.

Following the roots of your interest and your passions in your job will help lead you closer to your goals. 

Following the things that you find to be enjoyable, and that you are good at will help you to climb that notorious career ladder and get the most out of your day-to-day working experience. 

You should not be afraid of speaking to your employer about how you can pursue these aspects of your job further and what you could do to make it easier for you to excel in this area.

Summary

A big part of choosing the right career for yourself is self-discovery.

Being aware of oneself can help you to pinpoint what will work best for you in a career, and in which career you will work best. 

As much as it would make it easier, not everyone is made for every career.

Some of us are made for specific job roles, and knowing what skills are, what we enjoy, and what we want from our future careers can help us to discover what job is meant for us. 

Being aware of things such as financial benefits, salaries, working conditions, and industry trends and attitudes can help us narrow down our options in careers too.

Consider every factor before taking on a new career.

Having a career journal can help you track your progress and understand yourself better as a professional, allowing you to make the right choices, and understand where you need to progress and meet goals, and what areas are of less importance to your career journey.

Jamie Willis