Facing the tough challenge of choosing a career can be overwhelming. With changing technology and growing international markets, there are a lot of options to choose from. The possibilities are truly endless so where does one start?
Your chosen career should be a harmonious blend of your skills, education, personality and interests. A self-assessment is a great way to identify a starting place for your search. Take time to jot down your likes and dislikes on a sheet of paper. Brainstorm several jobs that would utilize at least two of your likes yet avoid your dislikes. Use the list you have come up with to research and evaluate these options. You can gather job descriptions, examine the education and experience requirements, check out the career’s longevity outlook, interview others already in the position and visit the library for additional resources. Following this process will put you in a much better position for choosing which direction you would like to pursue in your career.
You could also take a formal skills assessment test. Several good ones, most of which are free, include those provided by careerlab.com, keirsey.com, the Princeton Review Career Quiz and CareerFitter.com. You should take a mix of tests as no one is infallible but all may present opportunities you had not previously considered. Taking advantage of a career coach or counselor is a great idea if you can afford it. These professionals can help you examine key areas in which you excel and point you in the right direction. Many often have their own skills evaluations as well. If a coach or counseling structure is not an option, you can get free advice from parents, friends or colleagues. Be careful when listening to the often biased opinions of parents; however, as their agenda tends to be geared towards the monetary aspect rather than what would be a good fit for you. Choosing a satisfying career should not rely on how high a position pays but rather how close it embodies your own goals and interests.
If you are young, I suggest temping. Join one or two temporary staffing agencies that specialize in your primary fields of interests. This would allow you to try out several different positions without committing yourself to a particular company. As an added bonus, you can use the temp agency experience to pad your resume. Then, if you do decide to pursue a career along the same lines of the temporary positions you have held, you may have gained some very important industry reference contacts. Don’t worry if you are already in a permanent position. You really don’t have to be stuck in one job forever. Take smart risks and explore what’s out there. Careers can become dated just as hairstyles. What fits today may not fit tomorrow and because all temp jobs can be listed under its relative agency, your resume will not reflect you as a “job bouncer.”
Choosing a career can be a grueling task. Try to only look at options that keep your interests at the forefront. Remember, going into a job simply because it pays well will not keep you happy. You want to find a career that offers the most growth potential, is attuned to your passions and properly rewards your performance.