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How to choose your career path – without being overwhelmed

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It can feel overwhelming to choose your career path. As human beings, we are taught from an early age that we should have a clear direction about the path we’re headed by the time we turn adults, but this is far from true.

It helps to know that you are never “locked-in” to one thing forever. You can change as many professions as you wish on your way to becoming the best version of yourself. So, if you are looking to change up your work routine or find a new one from scratch, be sure to read this quick guide! Let’s get started.

How to choose your career path: top strategies

Always begin with research

The very first step you will want to take is to do some research and self-reflection. What are you interested in? Or is your current career path just not matching up with your goals?

There are many websites you can visit. Indeed and Monster list tons of jobs, with new opportunities appearing every day. There are many more sites like that online, so you can use it as a way to research jobs you are interested in.

Take Note of Your Skills, Values, and Personality

As part of your research, you are also going to want to assess yourself. You can write down your goals, what work you enjoy doing, and more. You can start by answering questions like the following, but be sure not to think too hard about it and write down your first thoughts:

  • What are my key values?

  • What are my main skills?

  • What are my main interests?

  • What do I think suits my personality?

When it comes to those questions, the Strong Interest Inventory test might be able to help you. If you are wondering what exactly that is, we are going to be covering it in detail below.

What is the Strong Interest Inventory Test?

This assessment is a psychological tool that came around in the times of WW1. It has been revised and rewritten a lot since then, now making it the perfect test to study the career interests that people have.

It can help match your interests and personality with the perfect career. When you get your results, you will be given a very clear look into what you enjoy and what career path is best for you.

You can consider taking the test as part of your research. It is a very informative tool, so be sure to make use of it if you feel stuck in selecting your career.

Learn about your options

Now that you have all of your research on hand, does it point to something specific? If it is still unclear, that is alright! You will want to move onto the next step, which is learning about your options.

When thinking about your career options, you will want to consider jobs that make you happy or capture your interest. If you are not satisfied with your current job, you can study your feelings toward it to learn why. You will want to know your personality type to make the best decision.

Then, learn as much as you can about the careers you are interested in. You will want to know what you are missing on your resume and get the training to fill in the gaps. You will also need to be sure you know how to successfully enter the field.

Why you should choose a profession based on your personality

Your personality will affect how you work in certain settings. It will make some activities come more naturally to you, but make others more difficult to get a hold of. When you are happy at work, you will be more successful.

Holland’s Occupational Personality Types

Dr. John Holland is a psychologist who spent his life researching how personalities affected the preferred career paths of people. He noted that there are six occupational personality types that a person can fall under.

The Interest test we mentioned above can help you figure out what personality you have if you are unsure. They are:

  • Artistic (A)

  • Conventional (C)

  • Enterprising (E)

  • Investigative (I)

  • Realistic (R)

  • Social (S)

Your entire personality can even be a mix of them. Once you are sure what categories you fall into, you can better choose a career path that feels natural to you.

List careers you like

Once you have learned about all your options, you will want to make another list. This time, of the careers you like. This can help you narrow down your search and find your perfect job.

Think about your passions and values as you check out your list. Do the jobs also meet your wealth goals and do they have a good job outlook? If they do not, you can cross them off. You can still come back to those later.

As you narrow down your list, try to determine where your interests, goals, and the demand for workers meet. Going for a job that suits you and is actively searching for people like you will help you make money in the long run.

Do you see a future with the jobs you have left on your list? If you can imagine yourself working on that career path for 20, 30 years, you will know you have found something good for you. If you do not feel that way about your current job, it might be time to branch out.

Ask questions

And the final step would be to ask questions. If you want to learn the most about a career that interests you, the best thing to do is ask someone already in that field about it. You should be able to find people online easily or you might know friends that have connections.

All you need to do is politely message that person and ask them if it would be alright to send them a few questions about their career. Don’t be nervous, the worst thing that could happen is they say no.

If they are willing to answer, ask them:

  • Is the pay good?

  • Do you like your job?

  • How hard was it to get there?

  • Would you do it differently?

This can help narrow down any ideas you had about your career. If you were uncertain, then talking to others about it is a great way to get insight into the field.

Conclusion

In short, you will want to do a lot of research. Not only does this include knowing about the careers you like, but also reflecting on yourself and your personality.

When it comes to choosing your career, always be sure to go with something that will make you happy.

About Susan Alvarado

susana@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Susan Alvarado is a business trainer and advisor specializing in HR and communications strategies

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