Choosing the right career can be a daunting prospect. What if you choose the wrong one? The decision can be overwhelming, whether you’re just starting out or you’re deciding on a new career path. Nothing is ever set in stone, but you don’t want to commit to something you’re unsure of. So, how do you choose the right career for you?

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How Do You Like to Work?

The way you tend to work will help you decide on the type of career you’re suited to. For example, someone who is good at motivating themselves could be suited to a freelance career, but someone who tends to procrastinate will need someone to answer to. It’s an excellent way to figure out whether you’re suited to owning your own business or if you’d rather work for someone else. If you aren’t sure, think about the jobs you’ve had in the past and parts of your role you enjoyed and didn’t enjoy.

What Are Your Skills?

It goes without saying that knowing your skills will help you to narrow down the type of career that’s right for you. The problem is, many people don’t take the time to figure out where their skills lie. Make a list of the things you’re good at, including the things that may not help you get a job. Skills aren’t necessarily qualifications- they are things that help you in everyday life. For example, the ability to stay calm under pressure is a great skill to have. Your skills will lead you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a career.

What Are Your Goals?

This includes long-term and short-term goals. Your short-term goals may include something like just getting a foot through the door, while your long-term goals could include having a job with future prospects and high earning potential. Or, you may just be happy to have a job you’re passionate about without worrying about earning potential. It’s difficult to know what you’ll want from your job in ten years from now but try and look as far ahead as possible. Establishing your goals will give you a better idea of what you really want from a job.

Study, Study and Study

Many people hold off on choosing a university course or deciding on a major because they aren’t sure about the type of career they want. The truth is, the majority of the time it doesn’t matter what you study. Unless you’re looking at a career as a doctor or veterinarian, most employers just want to know you can stick at something long enough to see it through. Many people end up doing something completely unrelated to the degree they took. Any online MBA can help you learn the skills you need for the workplace, no matter where you end up working. Studying, no matter what the subject, will always help to open your eyes to new things.

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What Fulfills You?

Everyone is different and everyone will find satisfaction in different things. Perhaps you enjoy being around people on a regular basis, or maybe you take pleasure in doing the school run and seeing your children’s faces after each day of school. Whatever is important to you will shape what you need from your career. A person working around their family may not get much interaction with others during the day. But a person working in a busy office may not be able to pick the kids up from school every day. There are many swings and roundabouts to finding the perfect job and you may need to narrow down your priorities before you do.

What Do You Need to Do?

If you’re clear on where you want to go in your career, it’s important to find out what it will take to get you there. Perhaps you just need to top up your resume with some additional training or maybe your dream job requires years’ worth of study and dedication. If you’re thinking about your university course and which path to take, you have the world at your feet. However, if you’re trying to start over in an effort to find a career you enjoy more, you may not have the time or money to make a huge commitment to studying. If that’s the case, you could look at other avenues. For example, instead of becoming a veterinarian, why not consider a vet assistant or a vet receptionist?

Things Always Change

Just because you’re passionate about something now, it doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way in ten years. And just because a career is one of the highest earning now, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Don’t put pressure on yourself to choose a career that will see you through for the rest of your life. Things will always change, and you may find yourself choosing a different path in a few years. Nothing is set in stone, so choose your career based on the information you have right now instead of what you think may happen in the future. Your main aim should be to find a career you can get satisfaction from.

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Get the Inside Scoop

What you think about a certain career may not be the reality of that career. There are lots of aspects of a career that you don’t get to see until you’re actually in the midst of it. Before deciding on what you want to do, talk to some people who work in the industry first. They’ll be able to tell you from experience the pros and cons to working in your chosen career. Go away and carefully consider whether it’s something you still want to do. If it is, use your new knowledge to get your foot through the door. Even janitors can work their way up if the conditions are right.

A Tester Role

It’s a great idea to gain some experience in your industry if you’re able to. For example, doing an apprenticeship or volunteer role is one of the best ways to see if you’re actually cut out for the job. You’ll get to see first hand what it takes to do the job you’re dreaming about, warts and all. You’ll get to take the career for a test drive and decide whether it’s something you want to pursue. If it is, you’ve already got your foot though the door with your apprenticeship role.

Seek Advice

Choosing the right career for you isn’t something you have to do alone. There are plenty of resources out there you can use when it comes to making your decision. If you’re at college or university, you probably have access to a student career counselor. Your counselor can help you make your decision and put you in contact with the right people when you need to ask questions. Interviewing someone in your career industry is an ideal way to get some clarification if you need it.

Be Open Minded

If you’ve spent years studying a particular subject but you’ve come to the realization that you don’t want to pursue it as a career, you won’t be the first or last. So many people have walked into jobs they don’t enjoy just because they were relevant to their degrees. Stay flexible and be willing to take a leap of faith when it comes to choosing a career that you love. Don’t do something because you think it’s the right thing to do; do it because it will make you happy.

Stay Focused

It’s easy to lose focus when you’re under pressure. Choosing the right career is no easy task but it’s important to not bury your head in the sand. Stay focused and motivated by the task at hand. The decision you make now will impact the next few years of your life, at least. Try not to get distracted by other things going on in life. Easier said than done, right? If you’re at university, it may be easy to get distracted by friends, parties and more but it’s important to focus on what will happen after university or you could end up at a loss.

Have a Back Up Plan

Many people who go into business for themselves have a back up plan. It’s a great idea since up to 80% of small businesses fail within the first year. Having a back up plan doesn’t mean you’re setting yourself up for failure; it just means you have some sort of financial cushion should things not work out. For example, if you want to try your hand at being a freelance website designer but you find that you’re not cut out for the job, you may have resumes at the ready to send to all the local graphic design businesses. There’s nothing wrong in having more than one egg in your basket when it comes to choosing a career for yourself. A back up plan could be what keeps you happy in the future.

Choosing the right career is all about following your instinct.

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