12 answers

How to make a decision about careers?

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I have heard a lot of different things about careers, from friends, family, and teachers, but I really have no idea how to make a decision. How do other people make this decision? When do they make this decision? #career-choice #career-path

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12 answers

David’s Answer

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How to make a decision about your career and when to make it are both excellent questions and you have already begun to discover answers to them by questioning friends, family and teachers about their own choice of career. By questioning others you can collect an amazing amount of information about an incredible number of careers. Everyone enjoys talking about their career. Talk to your dentist, your doctor, your grocer, the postperson, store clerks, uncles and aunts, musicians, dancers, elementary school teachers. The list is endless. Do not be timid or afraid. This, of course, is fun and it's the easy part.


You then have to question yourself and this is the hard part. "What do I like to do? What interests me? How do I like to spend my time? What courses in school do I like and which ones do I avoid? What books do I enjoy reading? What sort of music do I listen to?" Make a list. If it's short that might be a good thing, you have narrowed the field a bit. If it is endless and wanders all over the place, that is also interesting, you have many choices. Do not become bewildered by the multitude of choices. Career is rarely singular anymore. Many of us have had multiple careers, so don't be afraid to change horses in the middle of the stream. The new horse might be better the old one or it might be worse, but you can be sure that it will be different, and the ride into the unknown is usually worth the risk.


College is a great place to test many different career paths. I passed through many "majors" before graduating with a degree in theater arts: Elementary Education, Sociology, History, Music, English, back to Music and then finally, Theater Arts. Each major was a different experience, and "all experience is an arch wherethrough/ Gleams that untraveled world...", and even experiences that are painful are valuable. In all your exploration you may find that a career will chose you. The Theater found me when I was 18 years old and it took me the next six to seven years to discover how to turn an abiding interest and fascination with this most curious of the arts into a career.

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Tiffany’s Answer

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I work in event planning, but I wouldn’t say that I knew in my sophomore year in high school that I wanted to get into the event world but looking back on it now, I would say that the most important thing I learned is to educate myself on the things that I already liked. For example, I loved taking photos of my friends and family so I took a photography class to see how I can take even better photos. I always thought that making pottery was like playing with play-doh so I took a ceramics class. As my high school, college years rolled by, I realized that school was an opportunity for me to try as many things as possible and learn as much as I can. It gave me a great foundation for me to grow and see what it was in life that I wanted to do that would make me happy. Being happy in what you’re doing is the key to having a successful career.

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Conor’s Answer

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One thing I will point out here to add to what has already been said is that when you make a career decision, it does not have to be permanent. In fact, most people nowadays have at least 2 or 3 careers.


Making a decision can be difficult but realize that it's almost too late to change your mind either, so it's not like you have to permanently decide what you want to do at 16, 18, 22, 30 or even 40.


People evaluate their careers constantly enough as adults that there is a whole profession of "career coaches" and "executive coaches" so you are lot alone in seeking outside advice as to what you should do careerwise.

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Hien’s Answer

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Making a career decision is one of the most difficult decisions one has to make (no pressure). For some it would be fairly easy (my dad is a doctor, therefore I will be a doctor), and for others it will be difficult (OMG, I don't know what I like). How each of us arrives at a career decision is very different from another person.


One thing one can start is to figure out which industry/industries you think you would like to work in, whether that is in politics, entertainment, medical, and etc. Then start asking your neighbors, relatives, family members and others that work in those industries with questions like what do you like and don't like about your job.


At the same time, one also needs to do an inventory of what one likes and dislikes as well as.


Just know that the process of making a career decision will take time, and one needs to spend time and energy to arrive at a decision. Also, don't be afraid to switch your decision once you discover new information or another career you that think you would like better.

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海东’s Answer

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First of all, we should know ourselves scientifically and systematically under the guidance of professional planners.
Again, combined with the consultant's work experience, the level of education, personality tendency, intelligence, physical condition, social resources and other factors, determine the next step or next steps of how to get professional,
Finally, solve the complex situation (such as trade-off, strategy, order, priority, urgency, etc.) of the consultant in the path of target career development.
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Abigail’s Answer

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I have had a bunch of different careers throughout my young (ish) life and my strategy has always been to try everything that I think sounds interesting, and cross off the things that I DON'T want to do. By doing this, you end up narrowing down the the skills you want to develop, the tasks you like to do, and the industry that motivates you.

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Rod’s Answer

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Probably the best advice I got early in my life was "What can you imagine yourself doing, even if it paid NOTHING."   Take money out of the equation early on so you can focus on the type of work you want to do, then MUCH later, consider how lucrative it might be financially.  Seeking a career just on the basis of money seems to diminish long-term job satisfaction. 

I love electronics, and decided to pursue it as a career, and even a hobby.  It's  a wide enough space to do many different things throughout your career, and that's been true in my work life. 


Rod recommends the following next steps:

  • The old adage, "Follow your passion" is great, but you have to have a sense of reality. If you decide what you'd like to do, find others who do that, and see if you can do a "ride-along" to see if you can imagine yourself in that career path. (Not to be hostile to educators, but they might not be the best source of information about a career. Those actually doing that work are the best teachers of that subject.)
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Aaron’s Answer

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Identify what you love doing first.  Often I will have a direct report draft up a sheet with a list of areas that make them happy.  They don't have to be connected at first glance.  The next step is to find a 'through-line' on what you've selected.  Is there a job that encompasses all or at least many of the items from your list?  If you identify work that falls in line with what you actually like to do with your life, you will truly never work a day in your life. 

Find what you love that you can do well and make that your career.  The money will follow the passion and skill.

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Brian’s Answer

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For me it took me a while! So I been there. I would say do something you love. Like if you have something you are passionate do it! Because then you'll never work another day in your life

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Ken’s Answer

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Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Alex’s Answer

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You have to first identify if you are building a career or just looking for a job. I did not find my career path until after being in the industry for several years. My recommendation is to be open and flexible when you start your working, be open to change, and not be negative to quitting or starting over.
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Tiago’s Answer

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Forget about tests and magical paths to have an answer. No one is more capable to find it our than yourself. For me, the best way is thinking about the careers that attract you and talk to friends and family to find someone that has experience on this. This person will be able to tell you all the pros and cons of the career, with no lies. Besides, never forget that a graduation is always a great step for your career, but if you find out later on that it's not your choice, there's always time to study a bit more and change.
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