Choosing the right career is not an easy task. Many people think that choosing a career is simple. But it’s not that easy.
Choosing a career is an involved process that is based on several things, including your interests, skills, strengths, aptitudes, work-related values, and personality. Of course, since we all have different skills, interests, experiences, and expectations, there’s no one career that’s best for everyone. So how do you choose a career that is the best for you? Your new career list would not only contain the possible fields you would like to pursue, but also all of your talents and abilities which could be applied to your new career path. Focus on what you are good at and what activities make you happy.
While selecting a career can be a difficult process, the following tips can make this process easier for you.
1. Career Assessments
Career assessments can help individuals identify and better articulate their unique interests, personality, values, and skills to determine how well they may match with a certain career. Many books and workbooks are also available to guide you through the self-assessment process. Knowing the natural talents of an individual is the key to choosing the right career. Some skills that career assessments could help determine are job-specific skills, transferable skills, and self-management skills. Sufficient information and self-examination can help you choose a satisfying career that you will enjoy for years to come. For example, some people are social, friendly, and communicative. They will do well in teaching and marketing.
2. Making Aware of Career Options
Extensive reading about potential careers is vital. You will discover details about careers that you were not aware of. It’s important to collect vital information such as career descriptions, career outlooks, employment statistics, educational requirements, and potential earnings. There are several ways to know about your chosen occupation. You may search for several prints and online resources about that particular job and learn more about it. You can even ask those who have been working in that particular field for a long time.
3. Setting Career Goal
The top reason why people are in their career crossroad is mainly due to their lack of interest in what they are doing. Think about what you do love and what you’re good at; somewhere there will be a career that can use those skills. Would you like to be a fireman or a teacher or a doctor or a hairdresser or a banker or an entrepreneur? When you’re young, these are the jobs people talk about. There are countless careers out there. Doing something that you love or interested about and at the same time, able to make a living out of it is the best deal.
4. Conducting Internship
Internships provide excellent opportunities for acquiring a realistic, clear picture of the daily duties and job satisfaction in a particular occupation. Also, internships provide valuable networking opportunities that may lead to a job. Further, companies often hire interns that perform well. Follow the example of companies that use interns and attempt to evaluate an individual before they extend a job offer. Real-life experience in the work environment where you think you want to work can help you make up your mind for certain careers. Job shadowing, internships, and temporary assignments give you a realistic view of a day in the life of a profession.
5. Finding A Mentor
Many colleges and employers have a formal mentoring program. Also, formal mentoring organizations are available that match mentors to individuals. It’s a great way to learn about a career, and a mentor can provide valuable networking opportunities. “Ment-Working” is a new trend which combines mentoring and networking, and which has shown good results. Many community colleges have career centers that provide free individual and group career counseling. Career counselors can assist with the self-evaluation process, career selection process, and the job search process.
6. Making Aware of Your Strength
Your aptitudes should be a vital factor in your career selection process. A gratifying career is often built upon a match with what you are naturally good at. Natural strengths allow an individual to work with ease and to acquire expertise faster. Doing what you love can lead to a rewarding career.
7. Scope of The Various Careers
It is important to examine the scope of various careers. How far can they go? What are the opportunities and limitations of each career? Does advancement require additional education? Can it take me to achieve my ultimate goal? Say, in the education field. For you to advance in your career, taking a higher or additional qualification may need to be taken into consideration – is that something you would look forward to doing? Is being the Dean your ultimate goal? Explore the advancement opportunities of each potential occupation. Does advancement require additional education? Will additional education and certification provide you with a significant advantage over the competitors
8. Seeking Advice From Experts
You might want to meet with a career development professional or counselor or career development facilitator. A career development professional will use various tools to help you evaluate your interests, personality, skills, and values. He or she will then show you how all these things, combined, play a role in choosing a career. A career counselor, or any other career development professional, can’t tell you what career is best for you. He or she can provide you with guidance in choosing a career and can help facilitate your decision.
9. Conduct Research
You can read books, internet articles, researched papers, blogs, etc. You can get information about the employment statistics, job descriptions, qualifications required, and potential earnings. There are hundreds of career options out there. Gathering information about careers will help you decide which one is right for you. Get job descriptions and find out about earnings, job outlook, and educational and other requirements. Take quizzes that will help you discover if you have the personal characteristics needed to succeed in a particular career and get firsthand accounts from people in the trenches. Learn about related occupations.
10. Attend Career Camps, Seminars, Workshops, and Conferences
If you are a final year student reading this, please seize the opportunity to attend these events organized in your campus or beyond. Find out all the information required. The more you are aware of what is in store for you in the working world, the more prepared are you in knowing whether or not you will like the career that you have been trained to do.
11. Set Financial Goals
As you look forward in life, what are your expectations for money? You might be single now, but maybe you hope to become your future family’s breadwinner. Alternatively, maybe you’re part of a successful two-income family and need to decide whether you’re comfortable living on less or compromising on other career aspects, like work-life balance, to earn a better income. If money is the reward you seek, there are careers to match. While salary is important, it isn’t the only factor you should look at when choosing a career. Countless surveys have shown that money doesn’t necessarily lead to job satisfaction. For many people enjoying what they do at work is much more important. However, it would be best if you considered earnings, among other things, when evaluating an occupation.
12. Assess Your Social Needs
You’ll spend one-third of your life with the people you work with, so choose a career that’s a good social fit. If you’re a loner who doesn’t enjoy social interaction, you may be well-suited to a career where you work independently or work from home. If you love to meet new people, you may find a career in sales fulfilling, where you work with the public
13. Balancing Your Preferred Lifestyle
How much do you value a short commute each day? Is it important that every day you are home for dinner? Do you live for weekends out at the soccer field watching your kids play? If you need these comforts regularly, pick a career that will give you the time to enjoy them. Look for jobs with regular hours and little to no requirements to work overtime or on weekends, or to travel.
14. Evaluate Your Preferred Work Style
Each of us has a preferred work style, even if we don’t realize it. That style can sometimes conflict with a career choice. For example, a flexible work environment might allow you to deliver projects on various dates, while a structured environment would require specific deadlines and strict guidelines. What does work better for you? In which environment do you tend to thrive? An honest evaluation of your work style will help you decide whether a career where you work independently is right for you. If you’re naturally a daydreamer or a procrastinator, you may do well in a career where a supervisor helps you stay on task.
15. Enjoyment of Social Interaction
Do you like working with others or as part of a team? Are you motivated by the needs of others and your ability to provide a solution? This is critical because some people shy away from that connection and would rather deliver value behind the scenes—without the complications of interacting with colleagues and clients. Know your social needs so that you can choose a career that matches them.
16. Consider And Decide What Your Priorities Are
Think about factors like your expected salary, the distance you want to travel, and whether a job offers long-term security. If you’re a visual person, you can try making a collage of your ideal visions for your future career. Also, consider the likelihood of finding employment in your chosen area. Many people know deep down what their dream job would be, but deny it because they think it would be too difficult to achieve, or because they’re seeking approval from family or society.
17. Look For A Job That Suits You
Once you have an idea of what line of work you want to be in, it’s important to do lots of research. Find out how active the job market is in that industry, and how the recruitment process usually works. Research local organizations to see if they have any opportunities for you to do the type of work you’ve decided on.
18. Additional Training or Education
You may need some additional training or education before you can start work in your chosen field. Contact training bodies in your area and find out if there is any free or subsidized training available. Alternatively, you may have to gain some unpaid experience before you can start fully paying work. This can be done in the form of volunteering, internships, and work experience.
19. Do Not Stick With Forever
After choosing a career, do not stick with the same office forever. No, you’ll not be. If you are unsatisfied in your career for any reason, you can always change it. You’ll be in good company. Many people change jobs several times over the course of their lifetime. But be very careful and judgmental.
20. Be Patient
Finding the right career is a process, not an event. An entry-level position in your field may not be your dream job, but it can give you a foothold on the career ladder you want to climb. It takes time to develop your career, but setting goals and following a plan to achieve them can help you fulfill your career aspirations.
Last Few Words
A lot of tips and suggestions have been provided so far that can enable a job seeker to find or choose his right career. There is no single career that may be best for all. These tips are not guaranteed of career success; but if they are followed wise chance of making mistakes or possibility of making unwise career choice will be less. One should choose careers after making a self-assessment of his natural talent, strength, ability, skills, aptitude and preferred lifestyle. We should keep in mind that unwise career choice is harmful to the individual and organization as well. It will certainly damage individual and organizational performance.
About The Author
Professor M.A. Akkas
Chairman, Management Department
Chairman, Bureau of Business Research
University of Dhaka