It's a big question; one that many people who already have 'careers' ask themselves, too. Most of us will have 12+ jobs over our lifetime (Bureau of Labor Statistics via "Getting from College to Career" by Lindsay Pollak) so it can be helpful to think in terms of what do I want to do next and what working environment suits me best. The only way to begin answering these questions is to gain experience with different fields. This can be done via informational interviewing, job shadowing, volunteering, internships, etc. You likely won't know what suits you until you see it, hear it, do it. That means taking action and exploring opportunities early.
I wanted to work with animals so I majored in biology. Big mistake. I got a D in my Bio 101 class and was filled with dread whenever I entered a lab. After doing an informational interview with someone at the local humane association, I realized that there was an entire field of nonprofit management that I had never known about. I spent the next few years interning at the humane association and volunteering at the animal shelter and it really solidified my desire to study nonprofit management and focus on animal welfare. I probably never would have discovered this path online or in a book. I was only able to discover it by talking to people and spending time in the field.
Charlotte recommends the following next steps:
First ask yourself what you see yourself doing in 5-10 years. Be honest with yourself, make a list of strengths and weaknesses. Ask people close to you to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses as well and compare it with yours, to give you a deeper insight to help you decide.
And remember, we can major in something but along our way there will be other opportunities that will arise for us and say 'yes' to everything comes in your way.
Secondly, when you start developing your career path you will discover yourself even more. Observe your behavior, see what excites you, see what changes you, see what makes you wake up in the morning. We acquire some skills only when we actually starting to work on something. We are not born taught, give yourself the chance to experience more than a single job role, diversify; because you have so much time to explore.
Doina recommends the following next steps:
1. Ask yourself what you are passionate about and enjoy doing, whether you got paid for it or not. What are your innate talents? What skills do you already possess that are second nature to you or that you have a lot of experience in?
—This is the best way to go about deciding upon almost anything in life including a job. It prevents you from ending up in a job you hate and instead helps you line up with your greater purpose in life.
2. What type of job interests you the most, and why is it so appealing? For example, if you could have your dream job what does that look like? Are there particular skills you hope to acquire through this job? Like learning how to specialize in a particular area or get training for it that will benefit you in your future endeavors?
—Landing a job for this reason would help build up your resume.
—Its a great way to explore and try new things out to see if a particular role or job position suits your personal development and professional desires (especially if you really don’t know yet)
I found that deciding a career is tied with deciding upon a major. For me I went through several different majors before selecting one and I still have not decided upon the best career for me. A website that I like to use to explore career options is onetonline.org . This website includes information about what training/major is needed for each career, the amount of money those careers make, outlook in that career and more. I also suggest visiting your career center for more help with this research.