How to Choose The Ideal Career?

When you work, you work for many hours a week. It might even be that when you factor in sleeping and commuting, you’re at work more than you’re at home – although, of course, having a good work-life balance is very important and should be something you strive for. The point is, however, that if you dislike your job, you’re going to be miserable for the rest of your life too. You’ll hate having to go to work, you’ll get stressed even thinking about it, and when you are at home with your loved ones or even trying to relax by yourself, you’ll find it very hard to get any decent downtime; you’ll constantly be worrying about work.

This is not a good way to live, and it’s certainly not something that anyone should have to deal with. There are thousands of different potential careers available to people, so if you don’t like the job you’re currently doing, or even if you’ve not yet entered the world of work and you want to ensure you choose well, it’s a good idea to look more closely at what you might be able to do and how you can achieve the results you’re looking for.

Perhaps this is easier said than done. As mentioned, with thousands of potential options, a lot of people find it hard to even know where to start, and because they want to start earning money, they simply opt for the first thing that comes their way. Then, even if they don’t enjoy it, they’ll often stick with it because the idea of finding something else to do is overwhelming and frightening.

Again, this is not good. Luckily, it definitely doesn’t have to be this way. If you have a plan in place to help you narrow down your choices, everything becomes much easier. Follow this process you have set out for yourself, and the ideal career should present itself to you. Once this happens, you’ll know what qualifications you need and what steps to take to ensure you have a job you love. Read on to find out what plan you need and how it can help you.

Assess Yourself

In order to find the right career, you need to know more about yourself. When you do, you’ll be able to instantly see which career paths are good for you and which would be a mistake. So, in order to be happy in your life, you need to assess yourself, and you’ll need to do this as honestly and objectively as you possibly can. This may not be easy; it’s hard to be objective about yourself, and it’s even harder if you already have even the smallest idea of a career you might be interested in. That’s because you’ll hear all your findings to match that, even if you have to stretch some of them to fit.

However, even though it will be hard, it’s the first step in finding your ideal career, so try to do it as well as you can. Things you’ll need to think about include:

  • Your values
  • Your skills
  • Your aptitude for certain things
  • Your interests
  • Your personality type

Understanding all of this means you can have a much better idea of what you really like and the right kind of job for you. You might discover that you work best in a team, or perhaps, conversely, that you are better off working by yourself. Perhaps you like to be in the open air and want an outdoor job, or maybe you prefer an office in a city. Do you want to help people or create things? Are you more scientifically minded or artistic?

The more questions you can ask yourself to ensure your assessment is accurate and complete, the better. If you find that you get stuck doing this, there are specialist self-assessment tools online to help you. These will usually be fairly shallow, however, but they will help you make a start. You can also engage the services of a career counselor. These people are not just there to help high school children; they are there to help anyone who needs career advice.

Find Your Role Models

At the same time as assessing yourself, you can help yourself even further by looking at broader aspects of your life. One thing to consider is who your role models are. Role models are hugely important, as they can help to shape your life and guide you in the right direction. No matter whether the person you look up to is a family member, friend, celebrity, or some other important person in your life, such as a teacher, if you can see their positive traits and look at what they do for a living, and, even better, if you can talk to them about it and hear all the pros and cons, this can be a good way to help you start off in the right direction.

The great thing about this idea is that far from limiting your choices, there are many options that could come up in your research. There are lots of famous social workers, for example, who could make ideal role models. Many celebrities had different jobs to start with, and if you like them and feel some kind of affinity with them, perhaps you have similar personalities, which would mean the jobs they did would suit you too. Look at your parents, grandparents, siblings, and other people close to you – what do they do for a living? Are they happy and fulfilled? Would it make you happy to follow in their footsteps?

Role models come in many shapes and forms, and they are important for all kinds of reasons, but using them to help you find the ideal career is something some people may not consider when it’s hugely beneficial to do so.

Make A List Of Occupations To Explore

If you have gone through the two steps above in your quest to find the ideal career for you, you’ll be in one of two places. Either you’ll already have narrowed things down to just one career and you’re sure you’re making the right choice, or you’ll have a number of different options, each of which looks just as exciting and rewarding as the next.

If you’re in the former set of people, you can start looking at qualifications and entry requirements. If you’re in the second set, you’ll still have some work to do, but that should not be something you see as negative. It’s good to spend as much time as you need to ensure you are making the right choice, and you don’t want to rush things; otherwise, you might find you start a career that isn’t for you, and you have to begin the process all over again.

The next step is to look at the various career possibilities you have come up with and conduct a thorough investigation on each one. It could be that you already know a lot about some of these options, but others might be entirely new to you. This is why it’s best to go in-depth on each one, no matter how much prior knowledge you might have – or not. Start with a clean slate and look at exactly what each job would entail. Look not just at what you would have to do on a daily basis, but what qualifications are needed, what the salary is, what career progression looks like, where you might work (this is especially important if you specifically want to work from home, or out of the home, as the case may be), and so on.

The best way to collate all this information is to create a spreadsheet with different headings that relate to what we have mentioned above. You could also have columns for what interests you most about that specific career, and anything else that is important to you. Complete the fields for each career on your list and then you will be able to compare them much more easily. It might be that one stands out above the others as you’re doing the research, which is helpful, but if not, this spreadsheet will allow you to see which is best anyway. You can also cross anything off the list that won’t actually work for you now that you know more about it.

Speak To People

Now that you have a much shorter list of potential career paths to choose from, it’s a good idea to speak to people who know a lot more about those professions. Online research is certainly a good start but getting first-hand information from people working in your potential profession will help a lot more.

If you know people who work in any of the jobs you’re interested in, these are the first people to talk to. Make sure you have a list of questions that you can ask them about the job that will give you a clearer idea of what it entails. Try to ask specific, detailed questions; the broader your questions, the broader the answers will be, and this may not help you make a decision. You need to find out what whys not just the whats and the hows.

If there are careers on your list that don’t link to anyone you know, you can still get plenty of information and still talk to those who are working in those careers. You can use networking sites such as LinkedIn for some careers – remember, not everyone is going to respond, and not everyone will have the time to answer questions; don’t be put off, as you will find people to help you – or you might have to get in touch with an institution, such as a school or hospital, and have someone get back to you. No matter how you do it, getting this first-hand information is important, as it will help you understand the pros and cons of each career.

Make A Choice

If you haven’t narrowed down your list before you conduct these interviews, you should be able to buy the time you’re finished talking to people. It’s now time to make your choice. All being well, you will have been left with just one or two career options from your initial list, and because you have carried out extensive, intensive research, you can be sure that whatever is left is right for you.

Don’t get too stressed about making this choice. Nothing is set in stone, and if you realize you have made a mistake, you can, of course, start over. However, this can be time-consuming and potentially expensive, which is why, although it’s possible, it’s better to do all this research first. No matter what, just bear in mind that you can reset things if you want to, and then make your start.

Identify Your Goals

You might think that just because you have made a decision about the career you want that’s right for you, your job is done, and you can just get on with working and progressing. This is partly true, but it’s also a good idea to keep your ultimate goals in mind, and identifying what they are in the first place will help you make your career a lot more satisfactory and successful.

The research you did about the job you eventually picked will help you here. You’ll already know what kind of career progression is possible, and you may even have a good idea of what level you want to reach. If that’s the case, you can work backward from there, detailing each step of your path to reaching that goal from where you currently are. It’s not essential to have goals in your career, and you can start working and see where life takes you, but having these goals will help you stay focused and will ensure you make decisions that will help you get where you want to go. In that way, it’s an important task to undertake.


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