How do you know that the career you are pursuing, is the career that you actually want to pursue?
One of my biggest fears in life, is that I’m on the wrong track and that I won’t actually find out that I’m on the wrong track, until it’s the end of the road. At the moment I’m pursuing a degree in international business, but often feel like my heart is in digital communication and/or education. I’d like my career to fulfilling and meaningful and not just something I do to get by. #career #career-counseling #careers #career-path #career-choice #july20
Most importantly, when you think you like digital communications, you should take a class or an online course about it, read up about the trends, the job description, the life of an editor, etc. Just do your research and see if that interests you. If it does, connect with someone in the field who can answer your questions about this career path. Then, if your interest remains the same, find a volunteer work in digital communication/education or an internship that can help you gain real experience and a whole lot of insights. After all of that, I think you will know surely if it is for you.
My point here is that finding a career that suits you is not always so straightforward. It will take time and a lot of effort. In order to minimize your fear and rationalize your big decision, you need to do your homework. And believe it or not, sometimes the career picks you and not the other way around :)
I think that fear is common to a lot of people. It is terrific that you're thinking about this issue early. I wish I would have been more thoughtful in my approach to determining the field in which I majored. The simple fact of the matter is that our interests change as we get older. A way to address that challenge is to get a degree in a discipline that is applicable broadly. In other words, pursue a program that will enable you to be successful in a variety of career fields. A simple way to do that is to backwards plan: identify what careers you think you might be interested in and work back to think about what majors will allow you to pursue multiple career interests. For example, if I thought I might want to work at a think tank doing research but also was considering consulting for a professional services firm, I might have pursued something like economics or math. Both of those majors would provide tremendous technical skills that are extremely attractive to employers and a wide range of career options.
In the end, keep in mind that, no matter what major you get or what your first job out of college is, that does not lock you into that field forever. Don't feel like you need to have your whole future figured out as soon as you graduate. Give yourself time and space to think. Gain some work experience and evaluate if that path is right for you. If not, start looking for other options. Not getting it right the first time is okay - I certainly didn't and a significant proportion of my friends have had at least one change in job/career in the seven years since we graduated from college.
I hope this helps - feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to clarify anything. Good luck!
My own story- I was a licensed professional counseling (psychotherapist) and recently got an MBA and now work in corporate quality management with a clinical flair to it. I'm also under 40 so you can change if you need or want to. I did this as a married man, with two young kids and a full time job. Its doable even if you need to change gears for your own future.
Follow what you love. The worst thing you can do is back up into a corner when you have a family.
Jennifer recommends the following next steps:
The truth is that we can only know what we really want by starting, it may be that you start with something and don't feel that it is good for you, and okay, we are constantly evolving, and you can change the direction whenever you want.
Assess Yourself – Who Are You Right Now?
Think about who you are, what you’re good at and what you enjoy. This will help you choose career ideas that match your skills and interests.
Here are some useful questions and activities to explore:
What subjects have you enjoyed studying at school and beyond? Why? Is it because you like the person teaching you, or there’s something about that subject you can really relate to?
What subjects have you done well at, and why?
If you had to pick a favorite out of words, numbers, visuals and physical activities, which would it be? Could you see yourself in a job where your top choice formed a big part of what you do every day?
Useful self-assessment activities
Take one of these online career personality tests to find out more about your personal qualities and strengths. Also known as career aptitude tests or self-assessment tests, they can help you make career choices based on your personal traits, or qualities.
Do a SWOT analysis. All you need is a pen, paper and a willingness to be honest about yourself. Don’t worry, no-one else is going to see the results of this exercise, just you! Use your SWOT analysis to figure out your current strengths, weaknesses, threats to your goals and opportunities you can reach out and grab if you put your mind to it.
Think about the 5 most important life and work skills you already have – and which ones you want to build on. Which skill comes easiest to you out of communication, self-management, self-belief, teamwork and problem solving? Every career needs these skills, but some more than others. Sales, nursing, teaching and investigative reporting careers need you to be great at communication. Being a sports coach or a firefighter need you to have a level of fitness and you’ll enjoy these careers if you enjoy physical activities. Some really unusual careers need you to be good at numbers, like being a platform error correction associate or a food technologist. You can develop all these skills for free as a Young Professional.
Once you’ve had a good think about your skills and interests, make a list of all the careers you think could be a good match. Remember, there are lots more careers that could be a good match that you haven’t thought of yet!
Build A List Of Careers You Want To Learn More About
If you’ve assessed your strengths, skills and interests, you should biq have a list of careers to think about. It’s useful to have a long list, with at least ten career choices because there is no such thing as just one dream career. Lots of careers could be a great match for you.
Have you got some ‘dream careers’ high on your list already? Use those top choices to expand your careers list. Head over to careers hub and see which of the fifteen business areas, or ‘sectors’ you think your dream career would fall into – like creative careers or science careers, for example. You can find out more about that sector and jobs you could do in it. Each sector features a range of jobs you could be great at. You’ll learn learn how much they pay, what qualifications you might need, how to get started when you leave school or education, and who can help.
EXAMPLE: Say you like the idea of being a teaching assistant. You visit childcare and education jobs on our careers hub to find out more. You discover the job description for an IT trainer and decide that sounds pretty good. That gets you thinking – maybe you’d find a whole load of exciting career choices in digital careers as well?
By now, you should have built up a good-sized list of career choices you like the sound of. Aim to have at least ten careers on your list. There will probably be some career ideas you’ve already thought about, but also some possible careers you don’t know that much about, or haven’t really thought about before.
Create A List Of 2-5 Top Career Choices
Now it’s time to narrow down your list of careers – but not too much! You want to keep an open mind, because there is more than one dream career out there waiting for you. Pick careers you are interested in. Aim to choose careers that match your qualifications so far (or pick them if you genuinely want to build up any needed qualifications over time. Remember, Rome wasn’t build in a day – you can always do extra courses or learn part-time if you need to).
See if your top career choices feature similar qualifications and skills that could be useful in your future career journey. Perhaps all your top career choices say it’s good to have strong passing grades in the sciences, or in English, or geography. Make a note of that, because it can help you decide what your future study options might be – whether it’s choosing GCSES and A-levels, or thinking about courses and study once you’ve left school.
Think About Your Short-Term And Long-Term Goals
Now that you’ve done all this thinking to choose a career that’s right for you, your next step is to think about some achievable goals.
To make your top career choice a reality, what are you going to work towards in the next few months? And in the next few years?
Create a document or spreadsheet. List down all the steps you can take to achieve your goals – and add a date you’d like to achieve them by. Is there a grade you want to get on a school project or exam? A course you’d like to research? An hour you’d like to spend finding online interviews with people doing your dream job? Your goals can be small or large. They can be achieved this evening or next year – but they must be achievable.
Create your list of achievable goals, add do-by dates, and you’ve taken a big step to not only choosing a career but setting your dream in motion.
There’s More Than One Path To All Your Dream Career Choices.
Never forget – if you’ve got the interest, you can build the skills and qualifications.
There’s no one set path to a career destination, whatever careers you choose. We always list multiple career paths in all the career ideas we offer. You can go to university. You can start in a junior job and work your way up. And you can get apprenticeships for almost any career you can think of. It’s all about finding the right apprenticeship for you. For example, if you want to get into a finance career or a digital career, financial service giants EY offer business apprenticeships and even digital degree apprenticeships – where you can become an apprentice and get a degree for free!
Remember – there is more than one path to your dream career, and there’s also more than one dream career.
Your skills and interests could be a great match for all kinds of careers – even some you haven’t heard of yet. What’s important is figuring out a range of careers that excites you, because a career path that starts with customer service (maybe you love being social) could lead to a career path in healthcare, catering and hospitality, journalism or sales careers – to name a few.
I think nearly everybody has the fear at some stage trying to figure out what career is for them. If you think you'd be interested in a particular sector - maybe try and get a summer internship, work experience, or even chat to people who are always in the industry to get guidance.
Good luck!! :)
I am a Career Certified Counselor and I always encourage my clients to follow their hearts. How do you know if the career you decide on will make you happy? Talk to a school guidance counselor about taking some career interests surveys. There are tons of surveys out there to assist you. Once you find your true interests, do some volunteer work in that field to see if you like it. I wish you the best in your career choice!
I utilize a 4 part process with my clients:
Find out how you're wired - what do you seek in the world (power, love, harmony, adventure, loyalty)
Find out what specific functions you are best at
Find out what areas of the world you care about
Test it out and THEN get any education you need to support your path.
Not the other way around as we tend to do in this country.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
This is a fear that I think many, many people have. One thing that I think can help ease that fear is that despite the world becoming ever more 'specialized' it is still possible, and often beneficial, to shift careers and continue to try new fields until you find the one that is right for you. I would encourage you to check out the book 'Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World' https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PHLNR28/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1. It lays out the case for continuing to sample different careers until you find one you are enjoy and are suited for.