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what is the best path to finding a good career?

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Subject: Career question for you
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Ashley’s Answer

Hi Eve,

This is a great question! In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Consider the following points:

1. Trial and Error

It may take you a few false-starts (and a few bad jobs) to figure out how to forge a career path. While this can be discouraging, I have found it helpful to examine which parts of each job I liked the most. Determine whether the more enjoyable aspects we part of your prescribed job responsibilities or if they were opportunities that you created for yourself. For instance, if you work in retail, do you enjoy working with customers and selling or do you prefer creating more efficient ways to maintain inventory? Take these concepts, such as "sales", and throw them into Google with "career path" tacked on the end. This is a great jumping-off point for discovering what kinds of jobs are out there.

2. Make a Wish List

Some great career advice I once received was to think beyond the role and also dream about my work environment. As you grow in your career you will discover that every company does business a different way. So, considering that you will spend a sizeable portion of your week and even your life with a company, make a wish list. What do you see yourself wearing to work-- jeans or a suit? Do you see yourself having a flexible schedule or do you prefer the structure of going to the office every day? Would you prefer to work with a smaller company or meet someone new every day?

Your wish list will continue to change with each job you take but, always keep your deal breakers in mind when evaluating an offer and when interviewing with a company. No paycheck is worth your happiness!

3. Intern and Shadow

Interning is a great way to learn what skills employers are looking for new hires to walk in the door with and begin developing them. Take detailed notes and journal your experiences every day. This will be very helpful while creating your resume as you will forget some of the things you accomplished during your internship.

Shadowing is my final advice. This is your chance to see yourself in 10, 20, or 30 years. Ask the person you're shadowing about their career paths, their false starts, and what their favorite and least favorite parts of their job are.

I wish you the best of luck, Eve. Keep asking questions like these and searching for the answers.

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G. Mark’s Answer

This is a surprisingly simple answer. First, you should take a personality assessment. That is a questionnaire, like RIASE and others, that will give you an idea of how your personality matches that of people who are successful and who enjoy various careers. The idea is that satisfaction and success in a chosen profession are positively correlated. As I tell my students, "You'll be more likely to be successful at what you enjoy, and you'll be more likely to enjoy what you're good at." So first, use that to get a prioritized list of what you seem to be suited for. Second, you'll want to rank those careers in terms of what the demand is for those positions and how much society will pay you to do them. Third, you'll want to consider just how much you think you'll need to make to be content. You'll need to realize that most of us actually don't need to make a huge amount of money to be happy. Most folks scale their wealth expectations or perceived needs based on what we actually think we need to spend. And that's very, very variable. In the US, for example, it doesn't really take a lot of exorbitant wealth to survive well. So take those steps. And look for happiness as your primary goal.

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Tyzhanae’s Answer

Do your research.
Find out what you like to do or what you have a passion for.
Try different things.
Get support from family, friends, peers, mentors, and counselors.
Make a decision. Succeed and stay positive.

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Whitney’s Answer

I best advice is to find something you are passionate about. I took many classes outside of my major to just reaffirm that I enjoyed my major but also to scope out my other options. I also talked to many people in the careers I was interested in to see their day to day activities and if I could picture myself doing the same job.

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John’s Answer


Get out there an experiment with career fields. Volunteer at varying organizations that interest you and see if any of them are how you envisioned them.

I stumbled into the military and they chose for me to be an IT. I love it! I did a few jobs before that and all i know now, is that none of them give me the genuine satisfaction that this does.