How to Pick the Right Career Path

Trying to decide on your career or thinking about changing careers can be a scary and overwhelming thought. How do you know if the career you’ve decided on is the right career path for you? In the perfect world, everyone would know from an early age what their career path should be and be truly happy with their work. Most of the time this is not the case.

People tend to take the first job that comes along because they need the money. Then the work becomes routine and comfortable, and taking a leap to your perfect career path can be a huge risk. This is why many people do not and end up staying in a job that they do not like or enjoy. Everyone should love their career, wake up every day and be motivated to work. If you are looking into changing your career or trying to decide on your perfect career, then check out these ideas:

What are your skills?

It’s all good knowing what job you want to do, but do you have the skills for it? You need to be completely honest with yourself and evaluate yourself. What are your skills, abilities, and values for work? Once you have answered these questions you will have a better idea as to what jobs you are suited for. If you don’t necessarily feel passionate about a certain career path and are more concerned about the money and work benefits, then you should think about your skills and personality.

Pick a career path that you would be good at. If you are an introvert and don’t like talking to people, or maybe you always wanted to be a surgeon, but you faint at the sight of blood. Take this into account when applying for jobs. If you have a dream career in mind but you don’t have the right qualifications or experience then work towards it, take some extra classes at a college or do some volunteering work. It doesn’t matter how good the pay and benefits are or how interesting the job is if you do not have the skills required for the work they don’t follow this career path.

What makes you happy?

It’s very important for your mental state that you enjoy your career. There really is no point putting all your energy and time into a job that you do not like because it will drain you mentally and physically. When you start your chosen career hopefully you start with the intention of staying with that career for a long time. If you do not enjoy your job or it doesn’t excite you then you will grow unhappy very quickly.

It can be hard to figure out what excites you at an early age, especially with so many career options available. During your studies and hobbies try experimenting with different classes and subjects to see what strikes your interest. When you wake up in the morning, wouldn’t it be amazing if your first thought was “yes! I have work today” instead of “no! why do have to go to work today?”. Being paid for something you enjoy and are passionate about is a dream come true, but it doesn’t have to be a dream. Make it your reality.

What are your life aspirations?

What do you want out of life? Is it your dream to be a millionaire? If so, you should aim for a career that pays well. Some examples of career fields that pay well are in science, business, banking, medicine, and finance. If you are looking for a high wage for instance, avoid jobs in the art or film industry. These are very hard to become successful in and will not match your life ambition. If you’re not worried about becoming rich and you want to follow a passion, do it!

If you love to travel then try to combine this with your career. Search for jobs you can do remotely or that involve traveling. Your life doesn’t have to revolve around the typical 9-5 clock or stay sat in an office. Find out what your life aspirations are and chase after them. Do what makes your heart happy, you may not become a millionaire, but you will be doing a job that nourishes your soul.

Create a list of options

Now you have thought about your personal skill set and what you have to offer its time to make a list of jobs you could work. Write out a list of career options that you would consider working. Once you have your list you can makes notes next to each about your thoughts on the job. What the job itself entitles, would you relocate, how much is the wage, do they match your work values and skill set and would it make you happy?

By doing this you will dramatically narrow done your list of careers to ones that you feel would suit you personally. This will then allow you to focus on the ones that you would like to do and work towards gaining the skills or qualifications you need to successfully do the job in hand.

Try an internship

An internship could be the perfect option for you if you are ok for time and are flexible with your salary. This is a great way to dip your toes into your chosen career and see if it is right for you. If you enjoy your internship and impress your boss, then this could lead to a full-time job. Even if you lack prior experience, an internship is a perfect way to get your foot in the industry door so to speak.
If it doesn’t lead to a full-time job, think of it as a networking and learning experience. You still get to speak and network with outs currently in the industry and get first and knowledge and training as to what happens during the work. Internships as well as volunteering also look great on your CV, they show that you are dedicated and passionate about the work.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and to test the waters of a possible new career path. If you do not currently have a job or you are looking to switch career paths volunteering is a great way to gain an insight into the chosen field without a work contract. You can choose how much volunteering you want to do, and when you stop. Volunteer at work events, you will be able to hear and see what the work entails and also network with others. If you really enjoy what you see you could volunteer long term or if you don’t enjoy it, you can stop as you will not be bound by a contract.

Volunteering also looks very impressive on your CV. It shows that you have a passion and are willing to put in the extra time with no pay for something you enjoy. Most employers will look favorably on someone who has volunteering experience over someone who has not.

Networking

Networking can provide a valuable tool in everyday life, especially when it comes to your career. Once you sort your career choices into two or three options, you can now network on your career choices. Try to attend some seminars or talks about your career option, read up about the career in question to find out more information about what requirements the job has and other important information you will need to know.

There are many useful resources available such as LinkedIn and Facebook job pages. Use these to spread your name and skill set and meet people in the same industry. Ask current professionals in the line of work you are interested in questions. Ask them how the job works and what is expected from the staff, see what the benefits are and fallbacks. A good tip is to also carry an up to date CV with you if you are attending conferences or meeting up with professionals as they might be interested in you working for them. Everyone likes an enthusiastic employer and asking the right questions will defiantly reflect well on you.

Take a test

There are many online career quizzes you can take that will help you narrow find the right career path for you and help you understand your work style. Quizzes like self-direct search, myplan.com, and career strength test will help you to see which skills you have and what job your skills match. They will also help you to understand your career personality, interests’ values, and skill sets. No test can ever tell you what your exact dream career will be, but these tests definitely help you understand what you want and point you in the right way as to what your next steps should be.

Create a career plan

The best thing you can do for your future career is to plan it out and make goals. If you do not come up with a career plan you will become lost, unmotivated and unsure what your next step should be. Map out where you want your career to take you, what you want to achieve and the steps you’ll take to achieve your goals. Setting out achievable goals will help you keep you motivated. It can be difficult and overwhelming to chance after your perfect job so by setting up goals you can achieve you are rewarding yourself. This will inspire you to carry on and push forward through difficult times.

Remember that changing your career path or starting from scratch are scary times. Even if you create a foolproof plan life may still intervene. Your career is not set in stone and things can change. Be open to these changes as you don’t know what the universe has in store for you. Figure out what your skills, values and life ambitions are, these will help you when trying to decide on the right career path for you. Most importantly, be happy in your work. Whether your career goals are to make you rich or to become the boss, love your work and in return, you will be motivated to achieve your goals.