Choosing a Career Path: How to Find the Right Career For Me
Did you know the average worker spends 50 years in the workforce?1 This equates to a total of 13 years and two months of life spent at work. So with all the time spent on the job, it’s a good idea to find a career you enjoy.
But if you’re wondering how to find a career that’s right for you, CollegeAmerica may be able to help. Check out our list of 10 tips for choosing a career path you could enjoy for a lifetime.
1. Consider Your Interests
Think about your natural interests when you’re first considering your career path. As the saying goes, you’ll never work a day in your life if you love your job. Do you love science and helping people? If so, maybe a career in healthcare is right for you. Or do you love working with kids? Then maybe teaching is a good path. Make a list of what you love to do, and see if any degrees align with those interests.
2. List Your Strengths
Playing to your strengths will make it easier for you to find success in your career. If you’re already great with computers, a career in technology could be a great fit for you. And if people always tell you what a good listener you are, maybe a job in counseling would be ideal. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses to get a good idea of the type of career that would work with your personality. If you’re not sure of your strengths, ask friends and family to weigh in.
3. Take a Personality Quiz
Personality quizzes certainly aren’t an exact science, but they can help you narrow in on the type of career that might appeal to you. Many organizations use personality tests to identify who would do well in a leadership role and how to better motivate various employees according to their personality. Some of the most popular personality tests for the workplace include Meyers Briggs,2 Big Five,3 and Occupational Interest Inventories.4 Just remember to take the results with a grain of salt and don’t let them completely dictate your choice.
4. Talk to People about Their Career
One of the best ways to decide on a career is to talk to someone in the industry you’re considering. When you’re in the initial stages of deciding on a career, try to talk to everyone you meet about what they do for a living and the pros and cons of the job. When you find someone in a job that sparks your interest, get to know more about the industry and find out if it could be something worth pursuing. If you’re ready to start further investigating a certain career path, make sure you talk to multiple people in the industry so you have a wide array of perspectives.
5. Find an Internship
An internship is an amazing opportunity to network and get a trial run of any given job. You’ll be able to see what everyday life is like in that career and make valuable connections that could land you a job in the future. Find an internship by first asking people you know, then start applying to online listings. You’ll have the best luck by going through your existing connections, so don’t get disheartened if you don’t hear back from internships you find online.
6. Job Shadow
Like an internship, job shadowing is a chance to learn the ropes of a career, but with even less commitment. Job shadowing is a great way to decide if you’re interested in seeking an internship in a certain industry. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and identify things you might like and dislike about the job. It’s also a chance to show a potential employer that you’re willing to invest time to learn more about the job, so it might land you a position in the future.
7. Take a Career Test
Career tests are similar to personality tests but are even more geared toward a work environment. These types of tests are a great option for someone who doesn’t know where to start in their journey toward a career. These tests might tell you the types of jobs that match your natural strengths and interests. They might even introduce you to a career you didn’t know existed. Even if you don’t take the results of the career test too seriously, it’s worth checking out to get a fresh perspective.
8. Ask Others for Advice
Your friends and family can be very helpful in guiding you to the right career. Ask others what job they think you might be well suited for. If you hear the same answer over and over, it could be a sign that you should look into the career option. You can also ask people you know about how they knew their career path was right for them. The answers may enlighten you or give you a more realistic idea of how you might find your future career.
9. Check Job Listings
There’s little point in pursuing a career path if no one is hiring for that type of position. Hence, it’s wise to keep a pulse on job listings well before you’re looking for a job. This will tell you the types of jobs that are realistically available in your area. If you plan to move somewhere else, regularly check on job listings in that city. If you notice the same type of job listings popping up frequently, you’ll know there is a high demand for that type of career.
10. Research Schools
When you’re trying to decide on a career path, it can be helpful to research various schools to find out what types of degrees they have to offer. You might just find inspiration as you read the course catalog and find yourself attracted to certain types of classes. You’ll also get a realistic look at what is required when you want to take a certain career path. Talk to a career counselor at the school if you want more detailed information to help you in your search.