What Career Should I Choose?

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What Career Should I Choose?  No doubt a question heard so many times by career councillors that if they had a dollar for every time they were asked, they would be millionaires a few times over!

Wanting a different perspective, I decided to look to the various career communities online to try and find what out what people do when deciding which career to pursue.  I found the City Data community members to be particularly helpful.

I had some great responses and would like to thank everyone that took the time to reply to my question, even though it is not the simplest or most straight-forward.  StPaulGal made this clear:

That is a question that only the individual him or herself can answer.

Totally true. But StPaulGal also gave food for thought and advised that the starting point for digging deeper is to explore your personality and traits:

What are their aptitudes? Ambitions? Likes? Dislikes? Tolerance for risk? Motivations? How about their intelligence level? Tolerance for repetitive/rote tasks? Introvert? Extrovert? Flighty or diligent? Etc, etc. etc.’

jimmy92683 had a much simpler approach to the question:

List three jobs that you want to do and then pick the one that high the highest pay and job growth.

Simple but effective advice, depending upon which stage you are at, in deciding which career you want to pursue. If you can narrow your desired career to your three favourites, then it is certainly a viable strategy to try.

etsmaca draws on real world experience and advises the following:

 Careers are not something that you always choose and sometimes they choose you instead! When I was going through high school, if you asked me this question, I would have answered that I wanted to be a doctor. Good job. Good pay. Good future.

‘Careers are not something that you always choose’, that is one statement that many of us would agree with.  Sports and movie star aspirations aside, you may think that people in your life who have a certain career in mind will end up doing what they wish to do, but the reality of life is such that even the very determined and hardest working people can end up doing something completely different to what they aspired to do.

 But, when I got to college, chemistry and the hard sciences weren’t for me. So I followed what I was better at, math, and got a degree in Economics. I then landed a career in the government.

The subjects you are or have studied can have a huge impact on the careers you can and can’t consider. Also, many careers will have a strict criteria on prerequisites such as medicine which has science subject requirements or engineering which would need a minimum level of Mathematics.

So, when I look back, everything worked out better than I had planned. I would more-so tell people to be flexible, build up as many skills as possible which complement their aptitude, and seize (or even make) opportunities for themselves.

Finally some excellent advice if ever I heard it.  If you are unsure of what career you want to follow, then be flexible, develop a broad base of skills and seize any opportunities that come your way.

Additional Methods To Help Choose You A Career

Skills: make a list of the skills you have and the strength of each.  If you are struggling, make a list of the job titles of each of your previous jobs.  Then search for job listings for jobs with the same title.  Have a look through the job listing and make a note of any of the required skills for the role. Voila!  You have a list of your likely skills.

Interests: what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?  What are your interests, your passion?  What are your hobbies?

School subjects: which subjects did you study at school and/or college?  Of the subjects you enjoyed, which subjects did you excel at and/or enjoy.  Ideally there are subjects that you enjoyed and did well at.  If this is the case, then you will have focused in on at least the general area you can work in.

Work experience: review your work experience.  If there was a job that you particularly enjoyed, think about what it was that job, that caused that feeling.  Was the location, your colleagues, your boss or the work itself?

Once you have an idea of the career you want to pursue, one final thing to consider is the lifestyle.  Consider the life of someone who is in the career you wish to follow.  Are you willing to work the hours and do what they have done to get to where they have.   For example, consider your favourite movie star.  They do a film or two per year, so maybe work a few weeks a year.  But to get there they spent thousands of hours and dollars and most likely made many sacrifices get there.

What makes you happy at work?  Consider which of the following factors are important to you and then make sure your list matches the description of the potential workplaces of any of the careers you consider following.

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http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Choosing/career-satisfaction.htm

 

Conclusion

So which career should you choose?  A complex question, with life changing consequences and no simple answer.  Review the subjects you have studied in school/college, your current work experience, as well as what your skills and interests are.  Start there and keep in mind you may be spend your entire life in this career, so even if you are not passionate about it yet, a small amount of interest can go a long way. If none of these sound like a good option then perhaps you could explore other ways of making money like starting your own business.

 

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