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7 Tips for Choosing the Right Career Path

Whether you're thinking about switching careers or just starting out in the workforce, these tips will make it easier to choose the right career for you.

By
Andrew Charles, Partner
career paths

Choosing a career for the rest of your life puts a lot of pressure on someone just starting college or thinking about the next steps after high school. No one wants to land a job that makes him or her miserable for the next few decades. It's important to choose a job in an industry where you can feel successful and satisfied since most of your waking hours will be devoted to working throughout life. Here are some places to start if you aren't sure which career is right for you.

Assess Your Skills

A solid career plan for your life starts with the actual skills you have. Students, who usually don't have a lot of job experience, may struggle with identifying specific career skills. Start with figuring out what kind of soft skills you have, such as communicating, writing, flexibility, integrity, and more. Understand that the skills you have in one specific time period may grow and change over the years as you build up your life experiences.

Think About Your Interests

Another way you can pinpoint a career path is to figure out what interests you. Think about what excites you and the things you've always had a passion for. If you love working with computers, a career in internet technology may be the right place for you. Those who have a passion for babysitting, coaching, and working with younger children may want to consider a career as an educator. Creative types who love to write stories and poetry may find the right fit with a career as a journalist.

Match Your Personality to a Job

Your personality may also help you unlock the best career for your future. Take a personality test online, such as the Myers Briggs Personality Test, to identify your specific personality. This personality test classifies people as either introverts or extroverts, thinkers or feelers, judging or perceiving, and sensing or intuitive. Then, learn about how to match your personality type to the right career. Your personality could be a true test of the perfect career match that will make you happy and lead to a more pleasant life.

Make a List of Your Values

Your career path should also reflect your values. Understand what matters to you the most before settling on a specific field. If salary is one of the most important things to you, choose a field that has a history of high pay. Some high-paying careers may cut into your future family life, so be sure to think about what that will look like if you want kids someday. A career that requires a lot of time away from home or travel may also cut into your future family life.

Talk to People in Different Fields

Another way to get a real look at what a career really involves is to talk to people who work in the field you're interested in. Start with family members and friends who have worked in your industry of choice to get a better idea of what the work is like. Find out what kind of quality of life your contact has before going all in and pursuing this career.

Get Some Experience

Next, consider getting some part-time or internship experience in a field you may want to work in later down the road. If you're in college, you can talk to your school's career placement department or professors to get some leads about internship availability. An internship can be a great way to dip your toes in the industry and see if it's a good fit. If you want to get paid instead of earning college credit, see if there are any part-time positions available in the industry.

Make a Plan

Once you've chosen an industry you like, it's time to make a plan for your future. Figure out if there is a career path you are aiming for in this field. Most jobs have some sort of career progression, such as starting out as an assistant and slowly working your way up to a supervisory position. Plan out your success to make some goals for your life after finishing school.

Finding the right career is one of the ways you can plan for a great life. Take your time before jumping into a field that doesn't align with your goals and values or may not make you happy. 

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