If you’re in your late teens or early twenties, the big question that constantly haunts your mind is just that, “what career is right for me?.” You want to be sure that you choose the right one, that you will be good at it, that you’ll enjoy your work 10 years from now….
Choosing a career for yourself is not child’s play, but its not a difficult mission either. Furthermore, it’s a question that only you could best answer. Never let anyone influence your decision.
There are numerous ways to answer this question, but you need to decide whether you’d like to stick to “self-help” methods or ask a professional career guidance counsellor for assistance. Or, make use of both the options for surety!
You can begin by making 5 lists.
Start by listing down your greatest skills. Be sure to note down skills that can be profitable work experiences. Take a few days, maybe even an entire month to complete your list. Because, with each passing day, you’ll feel the need to add more, delete, edit your list. Once you think that your list is final, compile it, print it, put it up on a board and imagine what life would be like if you turned your skill into a profession!
List down your interests separately. You’ll be a lot closer to choosing a career that’s right for yourself once you’re able to match a few skills to interests. For instance, if you’ve included “cooking” as a skill and “cooking” as an interest – voila, the right answer is staring you right in your face!
LIST 3 and 4
Once you’ve completed the lists above, you should separately make note of working styles and values that you’d like to have at your workplace. If, for instance, you realize that you want a corporate environment, then “cooking” doesn’t help give you that. The only job you’d get being a good cook is in the kitchen of restaurants or fine dining bars.
If you are able to match a few commons between the 4 lists you make, you’d be able to shortlist some key prospective careers.
Lastly, you have to make sure that your core personality matches your potential career choice. You cannot be a broadcast journalist if you don’t like interacting with people!
Another way to decide is to rely on the traditional tried and tested technique – a career guidance counsellor or taking an aptitude test. A professional counsellor will evaluate your scores and will be able to logically tell you what career would be best suited for you depending on you I.Q levels, logical reasoning and other series of tests. If you get a list of careers that are best suited for you, you can be sure that you’d be good at them too!
Before you make your final decision, you have to ask yourself what your goals are. Many young people these days want to have careers where they get free time to explore or pursue hobbies. Ask yourself your goals in terms of how much money you’d like to make, whether you’d like to move, eventually start up a business of your own, etc.
A lot of career decisions are made based on these factors.
Let’s use the example of a sample case study:
There was an honors graduate from UCLA, everyone thought he’d make a great stock broker or financial consultant. He was great in Math, loved a strong debate and was a great sportsman. Wall Street seemed the right place for him. And VP of a major financial holding within the next few years a sure thing.
However, he surprised everyone by graduating (at the top of his class) and then moving on to become a language tutor in developing countries. Why? Because, his life’s goal was to travel the world, to see places and meet people. To explore life and his surroundings.
What can you learn from this? Simple. What seems the ideal job for you, may not make you happy unless they connect with your life’s goals. So, make your lists, separately and then sit down to compare them. It will be the best way to make a final choice! Remember to take your time and to weigh all the possibilities and options that are in front of you!
Sometimes, speaking to working professionals from your short listed fields may help. You can set up an interview with them and ask them a series of questions regarding the scope of work, hours, job satisfaction levels etc. This may help give you a better understanding of the work culture of that particular industry too before you decide to step in to it. So go ahead and start with those lists! Its always best to be on top of your game and to stay ahead so that you can race ahead and race happily with the decision in place!