Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions we make in our lives. This is because the job we select will have a great impact on everything, both present and future. This includes our own health, lifestyle and interactions with family. Your job also becomes part of your identity so, in a way, you are choosing who you want to be when you are selecting a career. You want to make sure your choice actually reflects you and fits your personality. The good news is that you can start with some soul− searching plus research to help you gain clarity on what you want. This article will focus on the questions you can ask yourself to help you make the big decision.
What are your interests?
Do you prefer working with numbers and data, people, abstract ideas, or a combination of some sort? What subjects are you most interested in? Which books do you read? Where do you spend most of your time? Do you like to work indoors or outdoors? Such questions are aimed at understanding your interests. These are the people, things and the information that you enjoy most. It is proven that people tend to gravitate around their interests and, if you can find a way of incorporating the same in your career, then you will be doing what you love. There is no doubt that those who enjoy what they do feel more fulfilled in their jobs. There are aptitude tests available that you can take that can help you sort out the kind of career that will suit you best.
Determine what your values are and consider them
Values are your principles and standards; the things that you consider important in your life. Your career satisfaction also depends on your values and how your values and the job environment relates and, as such, it is important to take your time to consider them when trying to find a job that fits. If you value finances, find a job that pays well. If you love spontaneity and fun, then a desk job may not be the right choice for you. If you love children then maybe teaching is a good route to take. While some jobs will require teamwork, others promote independent contributions from employees. Be sure to have well− defined values and find a job where you will be able to find satisfaction working every day.
What is your personality?
It is prudent to consider your personality traits when making a career choice. Try to relate to the career you want to pursue and try to choose a position that suits your personality. Think about your personality by asking yourself the following questions: are you an extrovert or an introvert? Would you rather lead other people, help other people, or not work with other people at all? Do you like abstract thinking or do you prefer to work with concrete concepts or materials? If you choose a career that fits with your innate personality, you will find greater enjoyment at work.
What skills do you possess?
Try making a list of all your skills. Now make a list of skills you perform poorly at or dislike. You can use these lists to help you find a career that can utilise your skillset. Avoid career choices that involve those tasks you dislike or cannot do effectively. If you are confident in your ability to complete your job duties, you will have more confidence and more job satisfaction.
What are your strengths and talents?
There is a relationship between your talents and your strengths. Strength is your ability to provide high performance in a specific activity consistently. Talents are naturally recurring thoughts, feelings or behaviours you can productively apply. Talent, knowledge and your skills, along with the time you spend on practising, developing your skills and building your knowledge, serve to create your strengths. Look at careers that utilise your strengths.
What training do you need?
You might have already decided a specific career path that you would like to take. Your next step will be to identify the kind of education or training you will require. It could include additional schooling, licensing, or getting a certification of some sort before you can legally work in the field you have selected. Think about the amount of time it will take for you to finish the training and the money you will have to invest in it as well.
What are your financial needs?
While it is not smart to look at the salary you want to earn as the first thing to consider when choosing a career, it should be one of the factors. The high paying jobs usually require a lot more education or experience, it takes time to get them and, in most cases, the opportunities may be limited. If you want to make a lot of money, be ready to do what it takes. Other careers may have fewer financial rewards but, based on your personality, skills and interests, they may be more suitable for you. Planning will help you make informed decisions and avert future regrets.
What is the availability of the jobs?
The fact that you would like to pursue a given career is not enough to make you go for it. Ask yourself if there are jobs available in your region or if you are ready to move for the suitable job. You can do this by researching the labour market both locally and internationally. Some may argue that the job market should not be a factor to consider, but nobody wants to spend years of schooling only to find out that the profession you have been focussed on is outdated or lacks opportunities.
Choosing a career is not simple. It is a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life. Consider your options carefully. Determine your strengths and weaknesses. Choose something that you will be good at and something that will make you happy at the same time.