When we’re growing up, we have big dreams about what we will achieve in the future and what kinds of jobs we will be doing. Once you’re older, you start to realize that you have certain innate talents, weaknesses, passions and dislikes. While it’s tempting to pursue a career simply because it brings big bucks – it’s a poor gamble. You could easily find yourself dissatisfied later on – stuck in a job that doesn’t make you happy at all. Follow your brain and heart – don’t let anyone tell you what you “should” or shouldn’t be doing.
How to figure out which career is best suited to you and your unique qualities? Here are a few tips:
1. Do What You Love
While you’ve probably heard this one countless times before – it still rings true. If you have a particular passion that makes you excited, fulfilled and satisfied, you should try and turn it into a profitable career. Doing something you love will keep you working hard and enjoying it. Think about people who love music and have the talent to be a professional member of an orchestra. If you are lucky enough to be a person who can make money from an activity they enjoy – go for it.
2. Know you
You need to dig down deep and contemplate your own interests, unique skills weaknesses, beliefs and goals. Make a list of your greatest abilities. List all the types of jobs you dream about having. Write down your long term goals. See where these different things align in a way that makes sense. You should try, as much as possible, to think about the type of daily lifestyle you want, the amount of money you need to be content and what your 5-year plan looks like.
3. Work environment
Once you know yourself and your habits, you can start to think about what kind of office, company and work surrounding would fit you. A few questions to contemplate:
a. Do I want to work fixed hours or do I prefer to set my own schedule? Would I thrive more going to an office every day or working on a schedule I set myself?
b. Would I be more productive in an urban office setting or working from home or outside the city?
c. How much do I want to interact with the people and/or customers?
d. Do I have qualities to lead a team or am I more suited to following instructions?
e. Do I want a job that requires travel and/or relocation?
Think about your ideal work environment and what it would look like. Be as realistic as possible, but don’t eliminate possibilities because of minor conflicts.
4. Career counselor
Speak to a professional career counselor or recruiter – they have seen thousand of resumes and individuals and know where people with your experience and desires best fit, based on experience. You could even start off by taking a career assessment test and seeing how the results align with your prior, personal self-assessment.
5. Do research
Once you can narrow down the careers and/or jobs that you think might fit you, you should start investigating the types of education and experience it takes to break into those fields. In addition, try and get an idea of related salaries, opportunities for career growth, typical benefits, cities related to the field and more.
6. Talk to elders
When Luke Skywalker needed to become a Jedi warrior, he consulted with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Likewise, you should seek out people with years of experience in your desired career(s). Ask questions and get advice from professionals. Try and make connections that could be useful in the future. Would you be willing to shadow this professional or intern with their company to try and learn the ropes of your desired profession?
7. Make a plan
Gather together everything you’ve learned about your prospective job and/or career and draft a plan of action with steps to be completed one by one over a scheduled period of time. Now – set things in motion.
8. Get schooled
The majority of jobs you’re probably considering require some sort of post-high school education and experience. Find out about the best education and training available and the schools that specialize in your desired subjects. Choose the right school, and get on-the-job training and/or an internship if possible.