If you’ve ever wondered how to choose the right career path, this article is for you.
Many people seem to be able to live their dreams, but many others fail to pursue what they want to be. How can life be so unfair to those who finally end up doing things they hate as a career? The answer can be simple. They don’t have enough knowledge to assess their potentials and match them with the career they choose.
Students, employees, fresh graduates, parents, or anyone who feels the confusion of choosing the right career are the target audience of this article. So, if you want to have brighter futures with well established careers, you can read this blog post as a guideline.
How To Choose The Right Career Path
For Those with No Working Experience:
1. What Interest You Most
When you are thinking about careers, you must start with something that attracts you most. The reason is simple: because you will devote most of your times and energy to perform tasks in the thing you do as a career. Do not choose a career only because you think the particular one is a trend in the market. Your career must be something you are committed to do for a long period of time.
2. Think about Your Personalities
Personalities play important role in determining someone’s career. An introverted person may not be as successful as extroverted person in pursuing a career in sales and marketing unless she/he works a lot harder. Similarly, a “not-too-creative” person will be less suitable working in creative industries, such as in graphic designs, entertainments, publishing companies, or arts.
One good tip is to list down all positive personalities you have and try to figure out careers that require those personalities to fit in. Remember that personality is not something that you can fake. Although you can gradually improve yourself, you need strong and persistent effort to do so. Please note that not all sloppy people are able to transform into well-organized people in just one night.
3. Your Dream Careers
Only few people in this world who know exactly what they want to pursue in their lives. Most people don’t have any idea about what they want to be in the future or have too many career dreams that they cannot decide which one to pursue. For you who do not know about where you want to land your dream should follow the tip from the beginning to the end to be able to figure out your passion. However, for the ones who have too many dreams, it is better to list down all your dreams and arrange them based on a self-analysis of your interests, hobbies, personalities, and personal values.
4. Particular Skills You Are Expert in
Skills can be both associated or not associated to your academic backgrounds. For example, an ideal pharmacy student should not only have a set of drug and pharmacy-related skills, but also managerial, communication, planning, negotiation, and decision making skills to become successful in the profession. Many people who devote themselves as researchers are expert in their fields and have outstanding abilities in exploration and even adventure.
5. Positive Sides and Strengths
Focusing on your positive sides and strengths is a must. By knowing who you are, what your skills and expertise are, and what your strengths are can abundantly help you to map yourself, and finally map your position in the job-seeker markets. This step is a crucial movement that most likely will help you unlock the door of an uncertain future. Keep in mind that many successful people out there are among the most positive people in the world.
6. Ability to Commit into One Field for Certain Working Hours
When you choose a particular career, you will commit most of your time, energy and other sources into the field. So, start to ask yourself this simple question: will you be willing to spend at least 8-10 hours every day to engage in one particular field? Think about a doctor or a nurse who will be willing to be called on a duty 24/7. Think also about a soldier who is sent into a battlefield for certain period of time. And don’t forget about a librarian who works in the same place every day in a quiet place with almost no meaningful social interaction.
7. Going to Universities to Obtain Certain Degrees
Whenever possible, you should obtain a certified degree that best supports your future career. Nowadays, even artists go to universities to update knowledge and expand networking. When you have already known what career you want to pursue and you have enough resources (including money and willingness to commit into academic lives), get your formal certification. Modern people respect not only natural talents but also contrived skills.
8. Career Opportunities for Certain Fields You Are Interested in
Be aware that one particular interest you have may lead to many different career opportunities. For example, if you like drawing and painting, you can be a painter, gallery owner, painting curator, painting restoration expert, set designers for plays, or graphic designer.
Another example is when you love Biology, you can think of careers like becoming a doctor, general practitioner, specialist doctor, forensic, teacher, researcher, marine biologist, veterinarian, ecologist, anatomist, and many more. All you need to do is to explore the opportunities and improve your skills gradually to match the one you desire.
9. Learn from People Who Start Earlier
When you think that following the success of an expert is a difficult thing to do, learning from those who start earlier may be easier. Think of some senior students who have just graduated earlier or someone new in a particular career as your role model. Have regular conversations with them discussing about challenges and opportunities as well as their strategies to cope with the challenges. Take all the good advice and start to make a plan for you yourself.
10. Learn from Other People’s Mistakes
List down every mistake that other people made in a particular job/career. Try to build up some strategies to avoid or at least minimize the mistake in the future. For example, if you want to build a career in an advertising agency, you may hear that ideas are often stolen. In this case, you may take initiative to always have a backup plan or you can be more aware in sharing (or not sharing) your ideas or keeping your records.
11. Avoid Careers Associated to the Things You Hate
One common mistake made by fresh graduates is to accept the first job or the highest payment offered. They end up in terminating the contracts for the reason that the jobs don’t really suit them. Do not ever choose a career associated to the things you hate. If you don’t stand relocation and adapting to new atmospheres, do not accept jobs or choose a career that requires you to travel a lot, for example working as a staff in travel industries (pilot, tour guides, flight attendant, cruise ship crew), field researchers, or marketing.
12. Consider the Challenges You May Encounter in a Particular Career
This is extremely important. Many people quit their job or career because they don’t stand the pressure. Always keep in mind all the possible challenges that you may encounter in a particular career and think whether or not you are able to handle them. You are the one who knows your potentials and weaknesses. Therefore, asses yourself well.
13. Update Your Knowledge and Think about Global Demands
Don’t get easily satisfied with what you have achieved today. You should make sure that your knowledge is updated so that you can compete well in the market. Think also about the global demand. One interesting thing in this era is that job opportunities are not only available locally, but also globally. When there are too many engineers in your country, there are many third world countries that need your expertise. You will get hired as long as you are sure that you deserve the job.
For Those with Working Experiences
14. Asses Your Current Job and the Position You Have
Do a simple job assessment such as the benefits scheme you receive, the time you allocate, the job satisfaction you feel, the risks you encounter, the tasks you have to perform, as well as the possibilities to expand and improve yourself (including promotion, higher salary, bonus, further training, awards, relocation, etc.). When you think that there are still plenty rooms for you to develop and you are still happy doing that as a career, then go ahead.
Otherwise, you may think of finding other jobs under similar career (simply move to another company with better prospects in the same or higher position—if you actually love your career but does not fit in the current company), or moving to an entirely new career (when you truly sure that the career is not for you). Do this assessment effort in a timely manner, let’s say every 3 years.
15. Think about Improving Your Personalities
Like what have been stated previously, personalities are something you can improve with strong determination and willingness. When you think you love your career but you miss some interpersonal skills that may improve your career, then find a way to improve them. Set a goal and start making progress. You deserve all good things and possibilities that may come ahead. Be more organized, meet more people, learn from them, ask them to evaluate you, and be discipline in your effort to create a better version of yourself.
16. Broader Elements of Your Current Career and Profession
Don’t get trapped by working routines that create boredom. Start to think about wider elements of your current position so that you can start to build up a clearer career path. Map all the position in the company that you can achieve, and list down all requirements you need to win the position. Take action and do not hesitate to show off your talent.
Another idea is when you want to move to a different career that still relates to you current career. Take for an example is from a self-employed painter to a painting restoration expert. Search broader elements of your current career and profession and update yourself to match the requirements of the possible new career.
17. Match Your Professional Skills with the Requirements Needed by the New Career You Wish to Take
Suppose that you want to change career, make sure that you have listed all the skills and requirements needed for your new career. Don’t waste your time making the same mistakes and find a new career path or start all over again. Assess yourself, your current career, and prospectus future career well. Make a clear goal and always have plans for everything. Improvisation is good, but it is your entire career that we are talking about.
For Those Thinking of Leaving Present Profession
18. Think Whether or Not You Accomplish A Lot in Your Current Job
Accomplishment can be in a form of material and immaterial things, range from earnings and awards to happiness and satisfaction. When the result is not satisfactory, you may need to re-evaluate your present career. Remember again about your goal in choosing the career, and consider whether the goal has been accomplished or not.
19. Think Whether or Not You Keep Making the Same Mistakes
Making the same mistakes over and over again is a clear sign that a particular job is not suitable for you. Ideally, you can learn from your mistake and improve your ability to perform certain thing. But when similar mistakes happen for so many times, you must consider different careers.
20. Think Whether or Not You Have Sleeping Problems
Your body cannot lie to you. When pressure is too big and you cannot handle it properly, you are likely to have stress or worse, depression. People with this mental strain are more difficult to sleep. They start to be unhappy and feel upsets for little or simple thing. When this stress is triggered by your professional life, you’d better find the solution before it gets bigger and more problematic for you.
Depression or serious health issues may appear subsequent to stress and lack of quality sleep. Ask for professional helps if you think you can handle the problem. It can be a career advisor or a psychiatrics. Taking a break from activity that involves high level of stress, including jobs, is often advised.
21. Think Whether or Not Your Current Job Provides You Enough to Afford Your Life and Your Lifestyle
The truth is you work to support your life—and maybe your family’s life. This becomes an important reason for you to go to the office everyday and build a good career from the very bottom. When you think that your hard work is not appreciated so that you cannot increase your life standard after devoting certain amount of times in the career that you choose (let’s say 5-8 years), you need to re-evaluate your choice of career.
Although monetary rewards are not always the main criteria of choosing a career, but when your living condition and lifestyle are not improving, it means that something goes wrong. During your 5-8 years of dedication, an ideal career should enable you to save some or purchase some. We are not talking about owning a penthouse, but when you are still living in a filthy rented apartment and driving your grandfather’s car, you are not making a wise decision about your career.
22. Think Whether or Not You Have Problems with Your Boss, Supervisor, Upper Manager, or Co-workers
Relationship with other people in the working place is also an important matter to think about. You cannot become an alien who doesn’t not have “supporters” to back you up in the office. Having one or two foes or colleagues who don’t really like you is normal, but having the majority of the community dislike you is another thing.
No matter how brilliant you are, you still need acknowledgements from your environments about your works or behaviors. Without the sense of respects you receive from the bosses and fellow coworkers, you’d better to consider a career transfer.
23. Think Whether or Not You Have Time for Yourself
You may have high salary and great position in your career, but you may have less time for yourself. Many people in the managerial position are facing this problem. They have all they need to buy the world but have no time to spend their money. Some try to solve this problem by planning holiday getaways in a timely basis, arranging a working holiday with clients or colleagues, or investing their money for a retirement plan.
The thing is you must plan something to make sure that you have time to enjoy your hard work. When you face a dead end to do this, find another job that respects your life more.
In conclusion, there is not any best job or career for everyone. The truth is there is the right job for the right people with the right passion and personalities. Not everyone can be famous lawyers or reputable doctors; similar like not everyone can be talented artist or successful marketer. There are many underlying factors that make a particular career suitable for a particular person. This article only serves as a guideline to help you shape your mind in choosing the right career for you.
Other than all these tips presented above, there are two additional tips that you should highlight.
First, you must be positive when thinking about your future. Don’t let small challenges stop you from dreaming. There are many successful people who start literally from zero. If they can, why can’t you.
Second, always have backup plans. Don’t be frustrated if you cannot achieve your biggest dream. It is not the end of everything. It can be just a postponement of your dream. Find another focus, create a milestone(s), live your life, and be the best version of yourself.