Choosing a career path is arguably the largest decision most people will make in their lives. As such, it’s important to get that decision right. Choosing the right career will make your life easier and give you a better chance at being both successful and happy. Here are four fundamental steps you should be taking to choose the career path that is the best for you.
Decide on Basic Characteristics
With so many possible careers out there, the best first step is to narrow down the list to give yourself a more manageable number of options. To do this, start by deciding on some basic characteristics of a career path you would choose, such as the general field you’d want to work in, the amount of free time you’d have and the amount of money you would make. This list doesn’t need to be extensive, but it should provide some basic criteria that all of the choices you’re going to consider must meet in order to be right for you.
Make a List of Possible Careers
Once you know the basic characteristics you want in a career, you can start deciding which career paths match what you want. Try to come up with a list of 10-15 different options that you feel are a good fit for you based on your criteria. A list this size will give you plenty of variety, but at the same time should be narrow enough that it won’t overwhelm you. If you can think of more careers that you know you want to look into, don’t worry too much about going over. Just try to keep the list short enough that it doesn’t present you with too many options.
Research Each Career
By narrowing down your options, you’ve already streamlined the process of choosing a career path considerably. Now, it’s time to find out more about each of the careers you’ve identified as a good fit in the previous steps. If you’re still in high school or college, start talking to a guidance counselor to get more information about each possible career path.
You should also try to talk directly to people who work in the careers you’re interested in. If you really want to learn about being on the inside of a profession, try to find an online forum or group for people who already work in it. These resources will give you considerable insights into what the day-to-day realities of a given career are.
Make a Choice
Once you feel you’ve equipped yourself with all of the information you can, it’s time to make a choice. Don’t rush this step, since it is certainly the most crucial one. At the same time, don’t delay forever, as putting off the choice will lead you down the road of an uncertain and unplanned career path that will likely not be as successful as one that you intentionally decide upon.
At this stage, setting some kind of reasonable deadline can help to keep things from dragging on indefinitely. If you’re a college student, for instance, that deadline might be the beginning of your senior year or your graduation day from a school like Stevens Henager college. If not, you might give yourself six months after completing the research phase to come to a final decision.
Choosing a career path is certainly difficult, but this process should make it somewhat easier for you. By narrowing your options, gathering information and giving yourself a finite period of time in which to make a choice, you can establish a structured framework for choosing your career path. Stick to it, and you’ll be able to identify a career path that meets your needs and that you will likely enjoy.