As a kid, it’s normal for people to ask you what you want to be when you grew up. Now that you’ve grown up into a fine adult, choosing a career path is fundamental in order to live a happy and fulfilling life. It’s normal to go through dead ends, detours and stops along the way, but eventually, you’ll reach your final destination.
That being said, really thinking about what career path to follow from the get-go can really help you build the right skills and experience to help you easily reach your goal. To start this long process, you must first consider what your interests are, career goals, current skillsets, experiences, and more. You’ll also have to make certain life choices that will help lead you towards your career goal, such as choosing which entry-level job to apply for, whether you should make the effort to obtain a post-graduate degree or earn certification.
You also need to make an effort on creating your work-related social media profiles. For instance, LinkedIn is especially popular among professionals, and you may even find great opportunities and connections there. You need to make your profile as eye-catching as possible, though, so a LinkedIn profile writer may be able to help you with that.
What Is a Career Path?
A career path is exactly what it sounds like—it contains all the positions you’ve held so far as you grow and advance in your chosen career. For instance, your very first entry-level job or even your college degree can be considered as the initial steppingstones of your chosen career path. As you learn new skills or gain knowledge about the industry you’re in, you may move on to more advanced careers or roles. On the other hand, some professionals may end up moving in another direction if they change career paths.
An example of a career path is as follows: Teacher > curriculum coordinator > assistant principal > principal
How to Decide on a Career Path
There are several factors you need to consider when choosing your career path. For instance, you need to take in account your future plans, personality type, and goals, among others. It’s best not to ignore these factors because they can really help you make strategic decisions as you try and reach your dreams.
Think About Your Career Goals
Before anything else, you need to do a bit of self-reflection instead of diving choosing whatever career you can think of. Ask yourself questions that allow you to really dive deep into your psyche, as this will ultimately help you narrow your options.
For instance, ask yourself:
- What are my interest and hobbies?
- What strengths do I have?
- Do I have any soft or hard skills?
- What are my values?
- What do I want to get from my career?
These are only some of the self-reflecting questions you need to ask yourself, but once you have an answer, you’ll be able to do better research into possible career options for you.
Formulate a Plan for Yourself Within the Next 5-10 Years
Next, you should create career milestones for yourself. For instance, take a look at where other professionals in your chosen field are after 5-10 years, as well as what kind of achievements they’ve received. What kind of job title do you want to hold after how many years? Once you have an idea, do some research on how you can achieve these milestones.
Depending on what industry you want to be in, you may have to enroll in training programs or take up prerequisite positions to get to where you want to be.
What Kind of Personality Type Do You Have?
Your personality trait plays a major role in what career you’ll thrive in, so it’s important that you have an idea. There are different ways you can learn what your personality type is, such as via the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.
After taking the quiz, you’ll see that there are common career options for the different personalities. You can also use this to help narrow down your options.
Review Your Previous Work Experiences
Take a look at your previous positions and identify where you succeeded and where you failed. It’s likely that one job offers more satisfaction than the other, and this can be a clear indicator of what your career path should be.
Consider the Job Requirements
As we all know, every job has its own set of requirements. Many jobs have specific education requirements for new applicants. For instance, many job offers require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree at the very least. So, take a look at what the common requirements are for the career you want and see if there are any extra degrees or certifications you need to earn to get the job.
Take Note of Your Current Skills
List down all your current skills along with your area of expertise. You can even ask your friends or co-workers if they can give any feedback with regards to your people skills, interpersonal capabilities as well as technical skills. This will help you look for jobs that can match the kind of skills and experience you have.
What Are Your Interests?
Naturally, you need to choose a career path that not only matches your personality but is also something you’re genuinely interested in. After all, you’d be miserable if you hated your line of work. Take a look at your hobbies and any other activities you may have that could help narrow down your interests. For instance, there’s a chance you’ll like being in the cybersecurity field if you’re fond of figuring out logic puzzles.
Think About What Kind of Salary You Need
Last but not least, different careers also have varying salaries. So, you need to think about your bills and what’s an acceptable starting salary for you.
Choosing your career path is vital in this life, so you need to choose one that you can be happy with. That being said, there’s no shame in choosing a completely different path in the future. What matters is that you choose the road that makes you happy.