Did you know that 99% of people choose the wrong careers? Starting your career planning process early will help you stay on the right path.
Are you wondering how to choose a career path? Most high school students often try to plan out the rest of their lives before graduating. This is a lot of pressure to handle, and it’s not practical because people’s goals and desires change with time.
Before planning out your entire life, keep in mind that choosing a career path involves a series of small decisions along the way that add up to make an impact on your overall happiness and well-being. You may not have control over everything in your life.
But with thousands of career options to choose from, which one is the best for you? If you don’t know where to start when choosing a career path, the task may seem impossible. Fortunately, this isn’t the case.
Read on for a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right career path.
Assess and Understand Yourself
Before choosing a career path, you should start by assessing yourself. This means learning about who you are, your interests, values, aptitudes, and soft skills. You should also know about your personality type.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your hobbies, and what do you enjoy doing? Knowing who you are is the first step to knowing the right career for you.
Some personality types are better and a good fit for specific career paths, while others are inappropriate. You can use online career tests and self-assessment tools to gather more information about yourself and your traits. Then, write down a list of potential career choices that are a good fit based on the collected information.
Additionally, you can work with a career counselor or a career development professional. They can help you navigate the process of choosing an occupation.
Write Down a List of Potential Careers to Explore
After assessing yourself, you probably have a list of potential careers to explore. You may have numerous occupations generated by the different self-assessment tools you utilized. Ensure you write them all down into one list for organizational purposes.
The first step is to check the occupations that appear on different lists. Write them down on a blank page with the title “Careers to Explore.” Because the careers are indicated to be good for you based on your self-assessments, traits, values, and skills, they are worth exploring.
The next step is finding the careers on the list that best appeals to you. They could be occupations you know about and would like to explore further. Ensure you also include other careers that you don’t know much about and open your mind to learning.
Research More About the Careers on Your List
After writing down your list of careers, it’s time for research. You probably have a list of 10 to 20 career options to choose from. Start from career number one and check online about it.
Get some basic information about each career on the list, their qualifications, required skills, and level of education. You should also look at different job descriptions, licensing, and training requirements for that particular job. Understanding more about the job requirements for the careers on your list will open your eyes to which careers are better for you and which aren’t.
You should also check on the advancement opportunities available for each occupation. Where will you start, and how can you advance to the top of the industry? Check the government-produced labor market website for job outlook and potential earning information.
Short-List Your Favourite Occupations
After getting all the information you need about the occupations, you can further narrow your list. Start eliminating every occupation you’re not interested in based on the things you have learned doing your research. At the end of the elimination process, you should be left with a few choices, maybe 3-5 that you feel are perfect for you.
If there are factors or traits of a career that you find non-negotiable or unacceptable, you should remove them from your list. Cross off everything with duties and requirements that do not appeal to you. Get rid of occupations that have weak job outlooks and low advancement opportunities.
Eliminate any career if you’re unwilling or unable to fulfill the job requirements such as educational or training needs. You should also avoid careers that require specific soft skills that you don’t have.
Conduct Casual Interviews
You should start doing in-depth research now that you have 3-5 careers left on your shortlist. Organize to meet people already working in the careers you’re interested in. Schedule informal interviews to try and understand more about the career.
People working in the occupation will have first-hand information and knowledge about the career; they are a gold mine of information. You can find these people within your social network, social media platforms, or through friends and family members.
Check Facebook and LinkedIn for people working in the career field you are interested in. Then request for an informal interview. During the interview, ask the below questions:
- How did you decide to choose this career path?
- What are the primary components and responsibilities of your job daily?
- Are there things you enjoy about your current career choice?
- What do you like most about your job?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years in this industry?
- Would you still choose this career path if you could get a do-over?
- What kind of experience is needed in my portfolio for this career path?
- Who else would you recommend I talk to about this occupation?
During an informal interview, asking the right questions will help you know what you need to kick-start your career. It’s also a great way to create a network of professionals in the career path you’re considering while also getting a full inside scope of what you need to land in the career path of your choice.
Write Down Your Career Goals
After deciding the right career path for you, it’s time to identify your career goals. Knowing your short-term and long-term career goals will help you identify what you need to do to land a job in your chosen field. Short-term goals take six months to three years to materialize, while long-term goals take up to five years.
When setting your career goals, ensure you refer to the research you did. You should let the educational and training requirements guide you. Conduct more research if you don’t have all the required details.
You can set your career goals once you have all the information. An example of a short-term goal is joining a training program, apprenticeship, or applying to a college. On the other hand, an example of a long-term career goal is completing the training and education required for the job.
Write an Action Plan for Your Career
Use your career goals to come up with a career action plan. This document lists all the steps one needs to take before achieving a particular goal. In this case, it’s a written document laying out all the little steps you have to go through to achieve your career goals.
It’s more of a road map to help you move from point A to B. Write down your short-term and long-term career goals on two separate pages, then list all the steps you will take to reach them. Remember to include any potential barriers and challenges that could hinder your progress or get in the way of attaining your goals.
Under each challenge, find ways to overcome and solve the problem. Unfortunately, this is a lot of work, but it will get you where you need to go. It’s advisable to take these steps early and plan your career path as soon as possible because it saves you a lot of uncertainty and struggle in the future.
How to Find a Job
A few decades ago, finding a job was easy, and people landed their dream jobs immediately after college. Those days are far gone, and finding a job opportunity is quite challenging. According to research, the average time it takes to search for a job in the U.S. is five months.
If you’re looking for a job, below are strategies to help you:
Networking is known as the hidden job market. Most good jobs are never advertised online. Many are filled by applicants who learn about the job through word of mouth from former colleagues, friends, and family members. In fact, referrals account for over 30% of hires across the U.S.
Networking means socializing with people in the industry you’re looking to join. You can do this by joining professional associations, attending networking and social events, and connecting with professionals online. Always take every opportunity to meet up with these professionals in-person or connect online.
Check Company Websites
Do you have a dream employer or company you’d like to work with? Check their website’s career section for any new job openings. If you find a job listing on their website and you send your application, there is a high possibility that you may land that opportunity.
If you don’t have a dream employer yet, create a list of companies you would like to work for and check out their websites. If you have one company in mind, it may take a while to get the right job based on your education and skillset. If you have time and patience, this could be the perfect way to land the job of your dream in that particular company.
Use Recruiters and Headhunters
Sometimes, it’s wise to use professional help when looking for a job. You can contact recruitment agencies and head-hunters for help. Most organizations today hire new employees through recruitment agencies such as Gigzio.
If you’re looking for a recruiter, go online and search for “Gigzio jobs near me.” Recruitment agencies are actively looking for qualified individuals to fill specific positions.
When approaching a headhunter or a recruitment agency, keep in mind that they need to be paid. Ensure you ask who will be paying their fees to avoid future surprises and disappointments.
You should also check your college or high school job placement service. Some schools offer new graduates assistance to develop their resumes and find jobs within their specific industries. Some schools also offer alumni assistance with their job searches.
Try Cold Calling
The best career advice you will get when searching for a job is to try cold calling. If you check a company’s website and you can’t find a position you’re interested in, you should consider making a cold call. This involves contacting the organization to enquire about upcoming job opportunities.
Check their site for a phone number and email, then call the company’s HR. Ask about any new opportunities in your field of study, then send an email with your resume. However, remember that most companies don’t always receive these calls very well, and you may not receive a response.
But, sometimes, things may work in your favor. The HR team may keep your resume and consider you for any upcoming vacancies.
Temporary Jobs and Internships
In most cases, short-term contracts, internships, and temporary employment lead to permanent positions. You can use an internship to get your foot in the door and get yourself some valuable professional contacts you may use in the future. You can use a reputable recruitment agency to land casual or temporary jobs and contract work.
Joining a company through internships is also great for fresh graduates. Most job placement services in schools connect graduates with these opportunities.
Another great way to get your foot in the door is through volunteer work. However, ensure that you can afford to pay your bills for a specific period before volunteering.
Now You Know How to Choose a Career Path
Are you wondering how to choose a career path? Choosing a suitable occupation for you isn’t an easy journey, especially with many career options. Before picking an occupation, you need to embark on a self-realization journey to learn more about yourself.
You should choose the career based on your lifestyle aspirations, goals, interests, values, and traits. While you may choose to change your career path in the future, it’s essential to start a strong foundation.
Did you enjoy this article? Check out other posts on our site for more career tips.