Maybe you are one of those lucky people who have known their whole life that they would someday be a veterinarian, nurse or engineer. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for most folks. If you are struggling with what career path to follow, it can help to first do a bit of self-exploration.
Evaluate Your Interests and Skills
- Jot down a list of all your strengths and special skills. Include any skills that highlight your practical, creative and physical abilities. Ask yourself questions such as, “Am I a good public speaker?”, “Do I enjoy working with people?” and “Do I have a talent for technology?”
- List your passions in life. Consider questions like, “Do I especially enjoy being out in nature?”, “Do I enjoy nurturing young children?”, or “Am I passionate about helping animals in need?”
- Take an online career aptitude test. There are many tests out there, each of which will ask you some questions to guide you in finding the kind of work that will match your abilities and personality traits.
- Try not to let your decision be influenced by the norms and expectations of family and friends. If you follow your dream and are good at what you do, your loved ones will come around.
Narrow Down the Possibilities
- Do some digging into potential jobs to see what kind of responsibilities they entail. You may think a job sounds exciting, but when you look at the actual job description for positions in that field, it may not be your cup of tea.
- Make sure you have the right personality and temperament for any potential career. If you don’t enjoy working with people, for example, chances are Human Resources won’t be a good fit for you. Or, if you don’t have a lot of patience with kids, teaching probably won’t suit you either.
- Once you’ve narrowed down the list of prospects a bit, you should make a connection with someone in the field to discuss the career in more detail. Perhaps you are interested in engineering and your friend’s mom is an engineer, or you are considering being a teacher and your cousin is teaching. They would most likely be happy to talk to you about the details of the job. Some companies also allow job shadowing for a day to see what the job entails.
Get the Educational Skills You Will Need
Once you have chosen the career you want to pursue, the next step is to find the college that will best help you reach your goals. You can go the traditional route and enroll in a university near you, but that path isn’t always the best fit, especially if you are currently working and need that income to finance your education.
Many people these days are forgoing the traditional approach and finding a successful career by getting their degree online. You can pursue many professional careers that way, including accounting, healthcare management, marketing and human resources. You can even obtain an online teaching degree.
Find the career that will give you the most job satisfaction and one that, after you retire, will make you look back and smile.