Choosing a career path can be very challenging for most people; this is because there are many things to put into consideration, challenges to overcome, and much thought to put into decision making.
In most cases, there may also be external pressure that would likely influence your decision, which may be difficult to control. Still, you would have to make your own decision eventually.
To make the best decision, its important to put your strength and passion into consideration to determine the industry you fit into. To get started, there are simple steps you can take to make the process of choosing a career path more efficient and effective.
In this article, we discuss eight steps you can adopt when choosing a career path, and also tips that would take you from being undecided to having a real career.
Eight steps for efficient decision making when choosing a career path
1. Practice self-assessment
Self-assessment is an evaluation of yourself; it has to do with your likes and dislikes, your strength, values, skills, talent, and your personality. A self-assessment is done to identify the type of occupation that suits you best.
There are several self-assessment tools you can utilize; some are free and easily accessible online, while others have to be paid for. These tools gather information about your traits, based on the data you provide the system. Subsequently, the system generates a list of occupations befitting to the information provided.
You can try several self-assessment tools to get as many options as possible, or you may decide to consult a career counselor or other professional involved in career development to help you in your decision making process.
2. Create a list of occupations to checkout
Having options can be very helpful when it comes to making a decision, and choosing a career is no exception. If you made use of different self-assessment tool, you probably have several lists of occupations at hand already; you want to combine the occupations on these lists to create one file.
Since your self-assessments identify these occupations as befitting to your traits, they are worth checking out.Furthermore, you want to scrutinize your list by searching for occupations that appeal to you and dispose of the ones you don’t like.
Choosing a career path which you have little or no knowledge about is not also a bad idea. Your career choice may turn out to be something you least expected.
3. Explore your short-listed occupations
It is crucial to have basic knowledge about your options to be in a better position to make decisions. To get some necessary information about your short-listed professions, you want to search public sources for the job descriptions they involve, educational qualifications, licensing requirements, and training process.
You may also want to find out more about the labor market, financial benefits, and advancement opportunities.
4. Re-scrutinize your list for further elimination
With more information base on your research about the short-listed professions, you may find some of them unsuitable for you. Begin to eliminate the occupations you find unappealing and wouldn’t want to pursue any further.
You may want to eliminate jobs with poor outlook, jobs that require skills, or educational requirements you do not possess or unwilling to fulfill.
5. Conduct an Interview for more information
With few options let, I engage in more in-depth research. Make arrangements to meet people in that field and are interested in discussing it with you. With just 15 minutes or less, you can get firsthand knowledge about the profession. You can access professionals through online platforms like Linkedin, or you could contact people you know in that field.
Many people would be glad to share their knowledge with you, get them to discuss the pros and cons involved in the area of specialization, how they go about their career, mistakes and lessons learned, and also if they would choose the same career path if they had the chance to go back in time. Make sure you begin and end the discussion with probing questions and do well to be attentive to their response.
6. Make a choice
Eventually, you have to make the decision that once seemed though. With all the information and resources you have gathered, you probably are ready to make a final decision. Based on all the data collected, you want to pick a career that you think would give you the most satisfaction and fulfillment. Keep in mind that you are free to change your mind on your decision at any time.
7. Create career goals
Now that you’ve made a career choice, you want to make a long or short-term goal to achieve. These plans are meant to guide you in taking actions that would eventually land you a job in your career field. As you make short-term plans that you see yourself achieving in the next couple of months, also consider long term plans for what you intend to accomplish in years to come.
Go into more in-depth research if need be, and also make use of your previous research on educational and skill required to know if there are degrees or skills you need to start acquiring.
8. Write out a career plan
The next thing you want to do is putting your plans into action, and an excellent way to keep track of your plan is to document how you intend to carry them out in every step. Jot down your short-term goals and outline how you intend to accomplish them, also include any foreseen barrier and possible ways to overcome them.
These steps may seem like a lot of work; your decision making would be easier if you know what you want from a career. However, now that you know some simple steps to take to facilitate your decision-making process, let’s look at some tips you can use when choosing a career path.
Eight tips for choosing a career path
1. Determine your skills and talent
You want to choose a career path where your current skills can be put to use, but also a position that challenges you. Put your talent and hobby into consideration and how they would be useful in your chosen field.
Furthermore, get to know the skill set you would like to acquire. Also, ensure you choose a career that would remain relevant in the long run.
2. Play the field
Before making a final decision, it may be best to explore different industries and try different career roles. Search industries that appeal to you for temporary positions; this would give you more insight into that industry and expose you to the working experience. It is also an excellent opportunity to try a variety of roles and explore your abilities.
3. Don’t succumb to pressure
Don’t be forced to choose a career path out of pressure, especially if you are new to the workforce or want to change your current career path. Although, most times, the pressure may be difficult to control, especially if it’s coming from parents. However, you have to realize that the decision is yours to take ultimately, as you’ll be the one to face the consequences of your choice
4. Seek contentment
You also want a job that makes you contented in it a physical, mental, and financial requirement and rewards. When you are satisfied with your career, you will wake up every day with enthusiasm to work, spend more time at work, and derive pleasure from what you do. Therefore, you should consider the satisfaction level a position holds when choosing a career path.
5. Strive to reach your goals
You probably already have career goals you would like to accomplish. Now you want to choose a career that would help you achieve those goals. Perhaps you want to be famous and travel the world, or you want to meet renowned people from different places, then you have to choose a career path that helps you accomplish those goals and not hinder them.
6. Opt for balance
Other aspects of your life would also require your time, such as family and other ventures. When choosing a career, you have to consider its flexibility, how it affects your social life and workplace wellness. This is important, mostly for the sake of your mental and physical health.
7. Keep an updated resume
This especially concerns those looking for a change in career. If you’ve had an active professional life, you have an updated resume already. Search your resume to see where your expertise has full potential, roles you’ve handled successfully in the past, and consider revisiting those professions.
8. Work with recruitment firms
Another way to make your career search more efficient is by working with recruitment firms. When you partner with then, you are provided with more knowledge and resources to help you find the right career as a recruiter.