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How do I know I am doing the right career choice?

There is so many career choices that I would like to do but in the end I will have to choose one to pursue so how do I know that I will make the right choice and not regret it? career-path career-advice

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Subject: Career question for you

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John’s Answer

With thousands of options, how will you choose a career that's right for you. Create a profile of your ideal job and employer. This will help you to identify attractive positions and pass on other jobs that you don't think would be a good fit. Consider what type of employer would be perfect for your personality and work style. Before you can choose the right career, you must learn about yourself. During the self-assessment phase of the career planning process, gather information about yourself to make an informed decision. A self-assessment should include thoroughly examining your values, interests, personality, and aptitude.

• VALUES: the things that are important, like achievement, status, and autonomy
• INTERESTS: what you enjoy doing, i.e., playing golf, taking long walks, and hanging out with friends
• PERSONALITY: a person's traits, motivational drives, needs, and attitudes
• APTITUDE: the activities you are good at, such as writing, computer programming, and teaching. They may be natural skills or ones acquired through training and education.

Once you make a decision, identify your long- and short-term goals. This helps to chart a course toward eventually landing work in your chosen field. Long-term goals typically take about three to five years to reach, while you can usually fulfill a short-term goal in six months to three years. Let the research you did about required education and training be your guide. If you don't have all the details, do some more research. Once you have all the information you need, set your goals. An example of a long-term goal would be completing your education and training. Short-term goals include applying to college, apprenticeships, other training programs, and internships. Put together a career action plan, a written document that lays out all the steps you will have to take to reach your goals. Think of it as a road map that will take you from point A to B, then to C and D. Write down all your short- and long-term goals and the steps you will have to take to reach each one. Include any anticipated barriers that could get in the way of achieving your goals—and the ways you can overcome them.

Noe this may sound like a lot of work—and it is. But it's much easier to forge a career path when you know what you want. Taking these steps early will save you a lot of struggle and uncertainty in the long run.

John recommends the following next steps:

Many people hire a career counselor to help them with this process and administer a variety of self-assessment inventories. What follows is a discussion of the different types of tools, as well as some other things to consider when using your results to choose a career.
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Ceil’s Answer

Everyone's response so far is very good. I would add one thing: don't worry about making the right choice. Sometimes you have to find out if something is great for you by doing it - all the research in the world can't prepare you for what a job is actually like. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind after a few years and trying something new. This is particularly true if you're not one of those people who "always knew" what they wanted to be - a teacher or a doctor or a dancer, say.

For you, the type of work might be less important than the kind of people you get to work with - do you feel most comfortable around people with your type of education and growing-up experiences, or do you gravitate toward people who are different? Similarly, you the type of place you get to do the work may matter more than the work - do you prefer to work on your own, taking general directions from a boss and then figuring out how to get the work done? Or do you like working closely with a team, following specific instructions from a hands-on manager? Either approach can work - what you want to find out is if it works for you.
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Tammy’s Answer

Hi Noe!

Deciding on a career path may seem daunting at times, but rest assured there are many professionals in their career that will ask themselves this same question throughout the years. My advice to you would be to put pen to paper what your interests are and what you value most both in a career and life. There are pros and cons to any career you choose, but what may help you decide which career path to take would be thinking about which career aligns best with your values, wants and needs. Here are a list of questions that can help you get started:

1. What do I want most out of a career (challenge and growth, work-life balance, flexibility, stability, etc)?
2. Where do I envision myself years from now in my career and in life (in 5 years, in 10 years)?
3. Which career sparks my interest and gets me excited the most? Does this career also align to what I value most in life?

Ultimately, the career choice you make now is not an end-all-be-all. A few years from now, if you decide the career path you chose is not the right fit for you anymore, there is still time to switch and revisit other options. People have switched career paths by going back to school to develop the knowledge and skills for another job. Others have switched careers applying to other jobs and presenting transferrable skills from their current job to the next through their resume, cover letter, and interviews.

Hope this helps!
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Riley’s Answer

Speaking from my own experience of having to explore what career path was right for me... here is an exercise that really helped me learn more about what I wanted: Linkedin Sleuthing!

Choose your favorite brand. Is it Starbucks? Is it Spotify? Is it PlayStation? Head over to Linkedin, search and click on that business' page, click on their "People" tab, in the small search bar under that tab search "marketing" or "accounting". You should see that company's employees start to filter! You can then click around and understand the ecosystem of their departments / job titles / career paths. You can even sleuth your way onto someone's profile with a job title you find interesting and see what experience they have that prepared them for the role! Very helpful, and a way to open the door to a possible informational interview.

Wishing you all the best on your career journey!
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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Noe! First thing I would say is, don't worry about making the "right" choice -- there is no such thing! :-)

Life will take you on a beautiful journey if you let it. Be open to opportunities that will stretch you, as those will grow you the most.

If there is something you are incredibly passionate about, pursue that! Otherwise, try jobs which match your skills and interests.

Almost no one knows what they *actually* want to be when they grow up, even when they're in college. It takes time, experimenting, trial and error.

Don't be alarmed if you don't feel like a career is right for you right away. Give it a chance and look for ways in which you can excel. You can always move to another job that's a better fit, and bring your learnings from past roles with you!

Best of luck :-)

Nicole recommends the following next steps:

List out skills and interests
Map to various careers and rank in order of interest
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Caroline’s Answer

We are pressured to start our career path at such a young age. Most people don't know what they want to do, lots of people end up changing majors/careers. Do what makes you happy, don't think too hard about it:)
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Noe,

Here is something important to know. Regret is sometimes a part of life. Your challenge is going to be not to linger long on this regret. You are going to make wrong choices in life. Your goal is to learn from wrong choices to move in the right direction. You have already started out on the right course by asking for feedback on what went wrong for other people.

When I was your age, I already knew what I wanted to be - a journalism. That was because I was a good writer, but my parents didn't support the idea that I could be a published author. It is a difficult career with a lot of rejection and few people who are truly able to live from the profits of writing fiction books. I figured journalism would be a better bet. I just didn't know what it would take to be a journalism. It is competitive and requires more than writing skills. It took two years in college for at a very expensive school to learn that. I ended up changing my major, and delay getting my college degree for another 15 years. So what do I regret? I did not learn enough about this career in advance. Now these were the early days of the internet, so being able to learn about the job was limited. I didn't attempt to talk with journalists or even try to job shadow or intern in the job role. And these are both two key ways to learn about the job and be less likely to regret making the choice. If you can, learn about a job that you are interested in by talking with others about what the job entails, what they like and don't like about the job, what would it take to get the job? And right now, you are on the perfect platform for that. You can ask a wide variety of people here for their thoughts on various jobs.

I would suggest that you think before you post additional questions. What do you love to do right now? I have been a writer since I was a kid. I love to write. So I should have learned about a wide variety of writing careers. I have a writing career now. I am an Instructional Designer. I have my dream job and I didn't know its name. What skills or talents do you have? Look for jobs that list those skills as needed for the job. What jobs do you admire in the people around you? I grew up with teachers and nurses around me. These were people that I could talk to about why they chose what they did. That is research. Hopefully you can see that at the core of your question is you. You are the only person who knows what you like to do and what your talents are. Use yourself to guide you into a job that you won't regret. It is mostly true that if you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work. I say mostly true because you won't love work every day. It is just easier to get through some of the stuff you don't like when you do something that you really like to do.

Good luck in your career search.
Gloria
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James’s Answer

I am happy to hear that youth are looking to their future.
If you are in high school, see your guidance counselor. They have a skills assessment test that can give you an idea of what your skills and interests are. You can also look into yourself and find out what your interests are. Those interests can become your career. You should also consider volunteering in areas that you think you might be interested in. For example, if you like animals, working at your local zoo or vet office would give you some hands on experience.
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