When the time comes for you to decide what you want to do to make a living, it’s important to remember that a career is more than just a job that pays the bills. It’s a way to express yourself and utilize your talents and skills. A career should be something you enjoy. Something that completes you.
You need to learn about the responsibilities, skills, employment opportunities, and training or education requirements prior to pursuing a specific career. Follow these steps to narrow potential career options:
1. Assess yourself – Each individual has different goals, talents, interests, and values. In other words, there are certain careers each individual should not pursue and others where they’d excel and be satisfied. Determine what you would enjoy and excel at by taking career assessments, receiving career counseling, and conducting thorough self-evaluation.
2. Make a list of potential occupations – After conducting some self-assessment, it should be apparent the types of careers you should pursue. It is not possible to pursue each one, so the list should be used to determine where to begin your career search. Select 5 or 10 careers and create a new list with these choices. When making your choices, select jobs that interest you, are recommended following career assessment tests, and ones matching your skill set.
3. Explore the options – Learn about each potential career after narrowing your list. Be sure to learn about educational or training requirements, job duties, employment outlook, annual earnings, and promotion opportunities. Information can be obtained from the Internet, but try to meet with a professional in each field to obtain in-depth details about each profession. If you not know professionals in these fields, contact willing participants and schedule informational interviews. However, you will probably find that you have relatives, colleagues, and school mates currently working in fields that interest you. During an informational interview, collect details about annual salary, employment prospects, and entry-level employment requirements. It’s not recommended to request employment during these interviews, but take advantage of networking opportunities.
4. Narrow down your list – Eliminate careers that no longer interest you after thoroughly reviewing each one. Many people become dissuaded from pursuing a career after learning about education requirements, annual earnings, and declining industry growth. Once you’ve become acquainted with each career, narrow your list to 1-2 options.
5. Set goals – After your list has been narrowed, establish attainable goals. You should be informed enough to establish short and long term goals. Typically, short-term goals can be met between 1-3 years and long-term between 3-5 years. It will not be easy reaching each goal, so be prepared to work hard, make adjustments when necessary, and remain committed. Goals are typically achievable when they’re defined, flexible, realistic, and attainable within a specified time period.
6. Create a career action plan – Once you’ve established career goals, begin developing a career action plan consisting of goals and specific steps to reach them. Additionally, career action plans contain possible obstacles, steps to address them, and resources that can be utilized when assistance is needed. This plan will clearly define how you will receive required training or education, obtain employment, and develop professionally once you’ve begun your career.
7. Obtain training – Obtaining required career training will probably consume the majority of your time and efforts as you pursue a career. Depending on the profession, you may be required to earn a college degree, complete vocational training, learn new skills, or complete an apprentice or internship.