Choosing the right career can be difficult, but having a defined career direction will help you with getting a job. But with a little hard work, some planning, and some serious self-reflection, you can set yourself on a path towards a fruitful, fulfilling career that can provide for you and your family.
Consider your dream career.
There is an old saying that if you’re trying to choose a career, you should think about what you would do if you didn’t have to work. If you had a million dollars and you could do anything, what would you do? Your answer to that question, while maybe not literally the best career choice for you, may give you insight into what you should do.
If you want to be a music star, consider going into audio engineering or music composition. These careers are easier to pursue and you will be much more likely to succeed and provide for yourself in the future.
If you want to be an actor, consider going into media broadcasting. You can get a degree in communications or work your way up the chain of command in a local news or other television studio.
If you want to travel the world, consider becoming an airline steward or stewardess. This is a great way to make a living and pursue your dream of traveling the globe.
Consider your hobbies.
It is very easy to turn your hobbies or something you love doing into a future career. Many hobbies correspond to real world needs and positions. Consider what you like to do and how that might fit into a career.
For example, if you like playing video games, consider becoming a video game designer, programmer, or QA specialist. If you like drawing or art, consider becoming a graphic designer. If you like sports, consider going into teaching and getting certified as a coach.
Consider what you enjoy or enjoyed in school.
Academic subjects translate well into future careers but may require more schooling than other types of careers. Your favorite class in high school could very well launch you into your future career but you have to be willing to work for it.
For example, if you loved chemistry, you could look forward to a future career as a lab technician or a pharmacist. If you liked English class, consider becoming an editor or a copywriter. If you enjoyed math, consider becoming an actuary or an accountant.
Think about what you are or were good at in school.
Think about the subjects you excelled in in school. Though it may not be your favorite thing to do, choosing a career based on something you are skilled at can help you excel and provide yourself a secure future. Look at the examples from the previous step if you need ideas.
Consider what skills you excel in.
If you are particularly good at certain skills, such as fixing things or making things, this can provide you with a great future career. Schooling may or may not be necessary, but skilled labor is often in demand and you will find it fairly easy to find work.
For example, carpentry, auto repair, construction, and electrical work all benefit from people who are good at fixing things or working with their hands. These also tend to be stable, well-paying jobs.
Other skills, such as a skill for cooking, can also be easily turned into a career
Consider your interpersonal skills.
If your skills lie more in helping and communicating with other people, there are jobs for you as well. People who communicate and interact with others well can easily get careers as social workers or in marketing and similar business positions. If you’re more the type to take care of others, consider nursing or work as an administrative assistant or office manager.
Ask someone if you don’t know.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to see the areas in life where we excel. If you don’t think you’re good at anything, ask your parents, other family members, friends, or teachers what they think you’d be good at. Their ideas might surprise you!
Figuring out what you should do with your life may sometimes require you to get to know yourself better. If you want a career that will really make you happy, you have to have a very good understanding of what you want and what you enjoy. For some people, this means taking some time off to decide what’s important to them. There is nothing wrong with this, so don’t feel bad. It’s more important that you figure your life out as early as possible, rather than getting knee deep in a career which makes you hate your life.
Consider your financial situation.
Your ability to pursue or change careers may hinge on your financial situation. Some career paths require special schooling and this is sometimes expensive. However, you should not feel that being poor restricts you from getting the education you want. There are lots of government programs to help you pay for schools, as well as scholarships, grants, and apprenticeship programs.
Think about the education you will have as you enter a career.
It is important to consider what education you already have or will have as you begin pursuing a career. If finances may prevent you from pursuing more schooling, you may need to consider what you already have. It may also be necessary to stick with your existing high school or college degree if there are time limitations or other restrictions. If you find that you are limited to jobs relating to the degree you already have, consult with a career counselor to find out what options are available to you.
Think about returning to school.
If restrictions do not bar you from pursuing more schooling, you may want to consider this option. Not everybody excels in school or needs a traditional college education, but most career paths have associated training which you can do and will help you advance more quickly. Technical colleges, for example, may be a good option for those who would prefer not to pursue a traditional education.
Consider the careers you have easy access to.
Consider what career options are available for you to easily move into. These would be careers in which you have both the necessary skills and an “in”. Examples would be working for the same company as one of your parents, working for a family business, or working for a friend. If your options are limited, choosing a career in which you can quickly enter may be your best option.
Consider your future financial security.
One of the most important things to consider is if the career path you’re choosing will provide you with an acceptable level of financial security. In other words, will you be able to make enough money to support yourself and your family? Remember, this doesn’t have to be a lot of money or enough money by somebody else’s standards. All that matters is that it’s enough for you and what you want for your life.
Consider your future job stability.
It is also important to consider a future career’s stability. Job markets fluctuate as society needs different things at different times. Certain jobs are also always in demand or frequently unstable. You will need to consider if the career you choose is stable enough for you and your desires for the future. For example, many people recently went into law school and racked up often in excess of $100,000 in school debt because they thought they’d be making a very high wage in the future. However, law positions are not in demand as much the last few years and now those people have huge debts and no way to pay them.
Another example is working as a writer or any career based on freelance work. You may sometimes have plenty of work but there may be years when you have almost nothing. Working in this way requires a certain level of determination and discipline and is not for everybody.
Look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
One way for you to gauge if a career option is a good idea is to look it up in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a guide, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which looks at what kind of education is required for different jobs, how much people in those careers make on average, and how much the demand for that job is likely to increase or decrease