Finding the right career path can improve your life. In some cases, you’ll spend at least eight hours a day at work most days of the week. Some jobs require you to work longer hours, so finding a career that gets you excited is important. Many people choose career paths that pay well, but while pay is important, it’s not the most important part of a job.
No matter how much you make, having a job you enjoy going to is key to ensuring your happiness. To find the right career for you, you’ll also need to consider your lifestyle, personality, and interests. Regardless of if you already have a degree, you’ve been in the workforce for a while, or you’re just starting college in the fall, spending time to think about your future career can make a big difference throughout the rest of your life.
Tips for Choosing the Right Career Path
Here are a few tips for helping you choose the right career path.
Take a Career Assessment
You can take a career assessment test at any age. Even if you’ve already been in the workforce for decades, you can still take an assessment if you’re considering a career change. Since there are many factors that can influence your happiness in a career, it can be difficult to consider all of them when considering a career path.
Factors like your personality, talents, interests, and skillset can all influence your ability to begin a career. Career testing helps you identify all of these factors based on where you are in your life at the moment the assessment is completed. For example, if you’re wondering what types of jobs you can get with your current skills and interests, a career assessment can tell you which careers match these different factors to make a career decision easy without the need to go back to school.
Of course, career tests don’t always accurately consider your current skill set, and there are many different types of assessments. Therefore, if you’re thinking about what to study in college, you may choose to take a career assessment that pairs you with different areas of study and gives you insight into the type of education or degree you’ll need to be successful.
Identify Your Interests
Figuring out what’s most important to you can help you choose the right career. Instead of letting a salary dictate which career is right for you, you should consider the activities you enjoy doing. After all, there are other ways a job can provide you with value, apart from money. For example, jobs like being a registered nurse aren’t the highest paying jobs, especially when compared to doctors, but they can be rewarding as you’ll be able to help individuals feel better.
Meanwhile, other careers like becoming a doctor or lawyer will pay well but require long hours, and other jobs may have inconsistent and unstable sources of income but offer the greatest happiness. Careers in the marketing and communications field offer a lot of flexibility as well, potentially providing a lot of satisfaction if you end up finding which section of marketing you’re passionate about and choose to focus on. Whichever career you choose, you should find something that aligns with your interests and values.
Trial jobs give you the opportunity to explore different careers. While some careers will be difficult to break into using trial jobs, you can still try out different types of jobs, including conventional jobs and more creative careers like entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to get a trial job, even though it’s quite easy. If you’re considering entering a certain field of study or career path, you can reach out to businesses, introduce yourself, and tell them why you’re there. Depending on their needs, they might be hiring urgently for different jobs to give you experience working in a certain field.
Trial jobs can help you figure out which jobs and industries you’re not interested in and those that sound appealing. Of course, trial jobs have their downsides because you won’t get benefits for a few months, so it might not be worth forgoing a full-time job that allows you to start your career.
Consider Your Skills
If you’re better at some school subjects than others, it may indicate the type of job you’ll be successful at. The skills you have don’t always dictate the best career for you, though. Other factors like your passions should also play a role. However, if you’re good at some things, it can make it easier for you to study the right courses in college and have an easier time climbing the corporate ladder once you get a job.
If you’re interested in a career path but don’t yet have the skills, you’ll need a plan for how you’ll gain the skills. To build your skills, you might have to go back to school full-time, which means putting your career off for longer. However, once you graduate from school, you’ll be able to start working in the field as soon as possible. Another thing you can do is start taking online courses to develop new skills and learn. No matter what you choose to do, furthering your education will surely give you the skills you need to help you find the right career path for you.
Networking can help you meet people who are already in the career field you’re interested in entering. Even if you’re not ready to start working in the field yet, you can still learn about how others feel about it. For example, let’s say you’re interested in becoming a veterinarian. In this case, you might talk to individuals who have been working as vets for years to learn about what they like and dislike about the job. A vet may love working with animals but hate breaking bad news to pet parents.
Learning everything you can from individuals who are already working these jobs can help you gauge your interest in them. Additionally, depending on your personality, talking to professionals can help you determine whether you’re the right fit for a job. Using the veterinarian example, you may not be comfortable with end-of-life care of pets, even though it’s a significant part of the job.
Consider Your Lifestyle
One of the most important things to consider is your lifestyle. If you’re someone who enjoys working a regular schedule, some jobs may not be right for you. For example, ER nurses have to work long, unpredictable hours, often being told they need to work at a moment’s notice. Meanwhile, office workers typically work 9-5, giving you a predictable schedule that allows individuals to achieve their ideal work-life balance.
When looking for the right career for you, it’s important to be flexible. Not everything you’re interested in will be a good career option for you. Some people take many years to find the right jobs for them, so there’s no shame in learning everything you can about multiple jobs and taking time to gain knowledge that can help you succeed in whatever career you choose.