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How do I find a career path?

How do I find a job that I’ll enjoy for the long run? I have so many things I want to do with my life but I just don’t know where to start looking and it all seems so overwhelming. Where do I start?

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Subject: Career question for you

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ANDI’s Answer

I'd start with a Career Aptitude Test... a test that helps you hone in on your areas of skill and/or interest. A test like this can show you which fields may best suit you and may begin to steer you in the right direction.
A second step would be to take the "year off" after graduation to explore a few entry level jobs before deciding which field to jump into college or trade school for, or before going straight into the "real" work force or military.
If you are truly lost, a third option may to be to speak with a military recruiter and/or to take the ASVAB which is just a Career Aptitude Test for the military that helps them decide which jobs you qualify for before enlistment. The military has a plethora of options ranging from aircraft and vehicle maintenance, to dental hygenists, to cooks, to cryptologists, to xray techs. A simple 4-yr contract may give you the aid you need to attend college afterwards or drive you towards a career field you choose.
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Jerome’s Answer

Write down your top three things you could see doing. Find teachers in those fields or reach out to organizations like SCORE mentors to see if someone who retired from that field is willing to speak.

I thought I wanted to be a psychologist and ended up being a sales professional. You never know where things will go.

You have time. Take it one step at a time and know if you are moving forward just a little each day, you’ll be ok.
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Anna’s Answer

Remember, you have the power to shape your own future! Start by jotting down what's truly important to you, the activities that bring you joy, and the strengths you possess. From there, seek out careers that combine some of these aspects. To gain experience, ask yourself what resources you require and where you can find them. Oftentimes, the help we need is available right around the corner.

Don't stress if your path seems unclear; many successful individuals, like the person who studied art and design but later found fulfillment in financial services, initially embark on vastly different paths before realizing their true calling. Allow yourself the freedom to explore and embrace a hobby alongside your career.

To keep yourself on track, create a road map outlining your ultimate goal and break it down into small, achievable steps. This way, you can approach each step with excitement and determination, knowing that you're steadily progressing towards your dream. Keep believing in yourself, and remember that great things are within your reach!

Anna recommends the following next steps:

write down your strong skills
write down what you enjoy
write down what you want to learn
complete a road map on how you are going to get there
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Audrey’s Answer

Hi Abbie! First of all, don't rush. It's okay to feel overwhelmed. I went into college as an advertising major, and I'm now applying for PA school--and trust me, at the time, I felt certain I wanted to go into a marketing-related field. I found myself struggling to get through my marketing classes because they felt so boring. I took an astronomy course on a whim to fill some credit hours and fell in love with STEM...the rest is history.

I can see from your profile that you are currently a student. Though I am not sure what kind of school you are in now, if you are in high school or college, there are typically recourses available for people who are wanting to explore careers. For example, my university has a Center for Career Development that helps students find their potential interests/careers, provides mock interviews, etc. When I realized I was interested in STEM, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I went to the Center for Career Development and took a free assessment they offer that broke down my interests and strengths and matched me with career options. It was a great starting point for me, because there were some jobs on there I didn't even know existed! If you are in high school, perhaps meet with a guidance counselor to see if your guidance department offers anything similar.

Another great resource, as silly as it sounds, is YouTube. As I was looking into careers, I would look up interviews of professionals in each field, "Day in the Life" videos, etc. If I was wanting to learn the difference between two similar roles, I would look up, for example, "PA vs. NP" videos. It was always very helpful to have a real person discussing the topics honestly. Further, people in the comments of those videos had important input and experiences of their own. It's a great way to learn a bit more about fields you're interested in.

Don't feel like you have to figure it out now. Everyone takes a different path.You would rather take an extra year or two to find a path that truly makes you happy instead of choosing a path you're simply okay with because you felt pressured to pick something. With time, you will find what's right for you.

Good luck! (:
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Scott’s Answer

Hey Abbie, I totally understand how you feel. Figuring out your career path can be a daunting task, especially when you have so many interests and passions. But don't worry, there are plenty of resources available to help you find a job that you'll enjoy for the long run.

First, I recommend taking some time to reflect on your interests and strengths. What are you naturally good at, and what activities or hobbies do you enjoy doing? Once you have a list of your interests, start researching career paths that align with them.

You can use online resources like career assessment tools, job boards, and company websites to explore different career paths and get a better sense of what each job entails. I also recommend talking to people in the fields that interest you, whether it be through informational interviews or networking events. This will give you a better sense of the day-to-day realities of each job, and help you determine whether it's a good fit for you.

Another important factor to consider is your values and goals. What are your long-term career goals, and what values are important to you in a job? For example, do you value work-life balance, career advancement opportunities, or making a positive impact on society? Knowing your values and goals will help you narrow down your search and find a job that aligns with what you want out of life.

And remember, finding the right career path is a journey, not a destination. It's okay to try out different jobs and explore different fields before settling on a long-term career. Don't be afraid to take risks and try new things - you never know where they might lead you!

In short, Abbie, take the time to reflect on your interests, values, and goals, and use online resources and networking to explore different career paths. And don't be afraid to take risks and try new things - the right career path is out there waiting for you!
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Daniel’s Answer

Abbie,

My suggestion is to go to a community college to obtain your basics. This will help you have time to try some different jobs in completely different fields. Also, by going to a community college you will be saving money and giving yourself more time to decide on a career/job while making progress on your degree. Don't let people put pressure on you that you have to decide now on the rest of your work life. I had a teacher in high school tell me that I would be a failure if I did not know what degree/career I wanted by the time I graduated high school. Well, I did not by graduation but decided a year later on what I wanted to do and absolutely love it (operations)

I really think business is a great field to go into since it keeps your options wide open. That way you are not committing to one specific field and find out later that you hate it. Some fields in business include:

1. Operations
2. Finance
3. Sales
4. Marketing
5. Human Resources

I decided to go into Business Operations since operations touches almost every facet of the organization. I enjoy the different challenges and operations also gives me the flexibility to try new things. Another great aspect about operations is they usually support the other divisions of an organization. Since, there are many divisions of an company if you do not enjoy one area its not a big deal since you can support other areas of the business.

Many larger companies will start you in a rotational analyst program. By doing this you will get to see usually 2-4 different sections of the business. Companies offer this to not only help you hone in on your career path but many companies have realized that if there employees actually enjoy their job they will get better overall performance.

Lastly, I know its hard but do your best not to stress out. Life is to short to waste time stressing out.
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