Choosing a career path: What to do when you don't know what to do
Many articles written on the job search come with the assumption that you have already chosen a career path. But what if you haven’t reached that stage yet? What if you aren’t sure which occupational direction to follow? Career indecision is common for many of us. Even when we have selected a career, many of us have second thoughts. Your past education and experience can point you in a certain area, but when specific career decisions need to be made the choices can be daunting.
In your pursuit of the right career choice, keep these six things in mind:
Don’t Fret – There is nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to do. Yes, choosing a career is an important decision, but it isn’t something that will make or break the rest of your life. Many people try five or six jobs, before they find one they truly enjoy. The key is to not let career indecisiveness become debilitating or paralyze you indefinitely. Make a decision and realize you can always change careers down the road.
Rule Out What You Don’t Like – A great way to narrow down your career choice is to automatically rule out those areas where you clearly have no interest. Knowing what you want is sometimes made a bit easier when you rule out what you don’t want. Think about the realistic career options available to you. This will help you develop a prioritized list of occupations that you can explore further.
Consider Your Educational Background – Don’t dismiss your current academic background, skills and talents when deciding on a career path. It is much easier to pursue work that takes all of these areas into account, rather than dismissing them and starting out in a brand new direction. For example, if you are in an accounting program and enjoy it, you probably are good with numbers. Seek out careers that utilize your talent in math.
Start Exploring – As you develop of list of careers that may be of interest, you can start exploring them more in-depth. What qualifications and skills do you need for this occupation? What experience may be necessary? What is the average level of pay? Answering these kinds of questions will help you narrow down career choices. Try to talk to others already in the profession to gain ‘hands-on’ vital information.
Try New Things – Remember, every career you take is a stepping stone to something else. It is important to try new jobs, to determine your likes and dislikes. My first full-time job out of school was working at a bank. I ultimately realized this is not what I wanted to do, but the experience and knowledge I gained helped me tremendously in dealing with my personal finances throughout my life. This career choice turned out to be invaluable for me. There is no such thing as a wasted opportunity.
Talk to Others – If you still unsure of which career path you want to follow try talking to family and friends who know you best. Sometimes those closest to you can provide important insight into the talents and skills you possess. Remember, take others opinions into consideration, but realize that in the end the choice needs to be yours. Follow your intuition!
Choosing a good career is all about following your passion, keeping an open mind and learning about different careers. There is no right or wrong career, just choices that we all must make throughout our lives. Take the time to make an informed decision and then after careful consideration take the leap! You will be well on your way to a career that is right for you!