Aside from perhaps your choice of partner or whether or not to have children there are not many decisions more important than choosing your career. Deciding on your career path is one of the most challenging and biggest decision you will face in your life, but there are steps you can take to help you make that decision.
In the past, it was common for children to simply do what their parents did. It was not a matter of making a decision. However in the modern world, choosing a career is an individual decision. With new technology, changing industries and so many different jobs out there, it can become a daunting experience trying to sort out which one best suits you. Without proper guidance, you may feel overwhelmed with decision paralysis or second guess your final decision. Alternatively there may be careers to which you are highly suited but you simply don’t know about.
How did you choose your career?
When I speak with friends and colleagues asking how they chose their careers I am generally met with a blank stare followed by a response along the lines of “well I had finished school and I had to choose something so I went with …”or “I studied law but I didn’t like it so I ended up an architect”. A small number say something like “I always wanted to be a pilot so that’s what I did”. I always considered this last group incredibly lucky to have such clear direction in what they wanted to do. For the rest of us, it seemed to come down to just a gut decision. Considering the huge expense in time and money of training and educating yourself, just going with a feeling doesn’t sound like the most effective way to make such a big decision.
Unfortunately, choosing a career is not usually accomplished on the first try. Neil Howe, an Economist, has estimated that only 5 percent of the population get it right the first time. Everyone else will end up switching their education courses repeatedly or moving from job to job.
To avoid being part of the 95 percent, we have come up with three hurdles to overcome. Conquer these, and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of finding the job that’s right for you the first time.
1. You Don’t Have Enough Information
Choosing a career may seem easy because there are thousands to choose from. Dream jobs are now, more than ever, a reachable goal. The problem is finding the right information that will lead you to it. You can start by checking out local newspaper ads, top job sites, career exploration sites or blogs and write down every job that catches your eye. Doing some research like this can give you career ideas and show the possibilities available to you in your region but it can also be time consuming and still limits you to what is directly around you.
2. You Don’t Know What You Want
Once you have seen what’s out there, you will have an idea of availability you have to work with. There are many great jobs in the world, but there are fewer great jobs that are right for you as an individual. Making a good connection between yourself (your interests, personality, values and preferences) and a career can be tough. Asking yourself the following questions can get you started in the right direction:
Does this career sound interesting to me?
When choosing a dream job we all expecting it to be one that we are extremely passionate about. However passion is no guarantee of suitability and over the long term, passions can change. At the very least, a career should genuinely interest you on a gut level. It can be a good sign if you hear about a job and get an immediate connection with it or an interest in it. If you don’t get this feeling of wanting to know and learn more about a career then its a good chance its not for you.
Does this career involve work that I could be good at?
You can learn many skills if you put the time into it, but pursuing a career that actively goes against your natural tendencies is an “epic fail” waiting to happen. If you’re a social butterfly, you probably won’t mesh with a job in an office setting. Likewise, an introverted person forced into a sales position could end up turning out badly. Go with your strengths. If the work clashes with your skill set or personality, it’s a sign that job is not the right fit for you.
Does this career fulfil my essential needs?
What you need from a career can include everything from education requirements and basic salary to more complicated concerns related to family situation, religious beliefs, disability and so on. Your essential needs can help narrow the scope to a field that will help accomplish those needs. For example, if your lifestyle requires a six-figure income, you can narrow down the jobs that can bring in that amount of money. In that case, you may want to avoid industries like fashion design and filmmaking, where only a lucky few strike it rich, and opt for something in the healthcare, science, business or technology fields where high incomes are more evenly distributed. In the same vein if helping others is vitally important to you want to ensure that these personality traits are being met by your career choice.
Does the world need this career?
Check out industry discussions and employment projections to get a feel for what careers are in high demand. You need a career position that will actually result in being hired. It would be a bummer to put all that time and money into education for a specific job just to end up finding out that industry has been disrupted or that there are way more candidates than available jobs. Your time is valuable so don’t waste it.
3. You Can’t Make a Decision
You have probably thought of several fields in which you would fit in nicely. With so much to choose from, it’s easy to feel anxiety and second guess yourself: “What if I don’t pick the right career?” You could just choose one and then if it doesn’t work out just choose another one on your list. The reality is most of us will try numerous careers in our lifetime. The trick is to avoiding wasting a lot of valuable time in your life by using tools to eliminate unsuitable options.
This is where a tool like the Forsee Career Navigator is so valuable. It’s advanced psychometric testing directs you to a list of career options that truly fits your personality, values and who you are inside. The Forsee Career Navigator takes only about 25 minutes to complete and utilizes a simple drag and drop ranking algorithm that is the equivalent of answering over 2,500 multiple choice questions! Don’t rely on your gut feeling to make the most important decision of your life. Avoid wasting valuable time. If less than a half hour of your time can save years of wasted effort, it is definitely worth it!
For a limited time you can trial the Career Navigator and receive the Your Greatest Strengths report free. Click here for more information.