With so many career options floating in the universe, choosing the right career path can be a daunting process, irrespective of your age or experience. For many people, the road to choosing a career isn’t always straightforward. As such, it’s perfectly normal if you have garnered years of experience in a field and suddenly feel you need to choose a new career path. Determining the right career path for you is one of the most critical decisions you’ll ever make, as it can determine your lifestyle, residence, friends, and overall quality of life. With this in mind, here are five tips to help you choose a career path.
1. Evaluate your interests and talents.
When it comes to having a quality life, there’s no perfect career that can compensate you for an unbalanced life. Therefore, when contemplating a career path, you must first understand yourself and the type of life you desire. Start by understanding your interests, values, soft skills, and your personality type. All these will go a long way to determine which occupations will be the right fit for you. For instance, Caitlin Gossage is an investment manager who enjoys outdoor activities like skiing. This is why her career path affords her the time and flexibility to earn while staying true to her interests and personality.
Some people use self-assessment tools and career tests to gather information about their personalities and interests, subsequently generating a list of possible career paths that are a good fit. Alternatively, you can visit a career counselor to help you navigate through this process.
2. Make a list of career options to explore.
At this point, whether you used a self-assessment tool or a career counselor to assess your personality, you should have different career options in front of you. The next step is to combine these options into a master list. This list will be the possible career options you should explore. Look through the list to see if there are occupations that appeal to you, and confirm if your current job is on this list.
Where your job is on the list, review your experience in this role. It’s not unusual to find adults go back to school or finish college education online after spending years at a job. Thankfully, higher education graduate programs will help you complete your education program through an online program and earn a master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or doctoral program in your own time. As an adult learner who wants to work on the side, an online degree program will provide you with online courses, online classes, and an overall online learning system that replicates campus programs. In this way, you can still achieve your career goals without missing a beat at work.
3. Create a shortlist & choose a career path.
Now that you have a list of possible careers, the next thing is to narrow down your list to about three to five options. This will be called your ‘career shortlist.’ An easy way to narrow your list is to remove occupational duties that don’t appeal to you or ones for which you are uninterested in fulfilling the educational requirements.
For example, let’s look at what it takes to become a real estate broker and earn a Florida real estate license. You must first be 18 years of age or above, then complete a sales associate license course. Next, you’ll make a license application to receive authorization to write the final exam. This is to allow the authority to conduct a background check on you.
Once your application is approved, you can now write the real estate exam, and if you pass, you’ll have to complete the DBPR sales associate form. You’ll then have a sponsoring broker activate your license through their online account. Once these steps are completed, you’re now a Florida real estate agent. So, ask yourself, is this a process you’ll want to pass through? If no, eliminate real estate from your list and focus on other occupations that interest you and for which you have the necessary soft skills.
4. Conduct informational interviews.
With a few occupations left on your list, it’s time to conduct more in-depth research into these careers. One of the best ways to know more about a career path is by having discussions with professionals in the field. These people can provide you with firsthand details about the professions.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to identify and locate these professionals. You can connect with them on LinkedIn or send an email with your questions. Ask about the earning potential, educational requirement, and job satisfaction level.
5. Identify your short and long-term goals.
After you’ve gone through the whole process of choosing a career, it’s time to set some achievable goals for yourself. You can start with long-term goals then break them down into feasible short-term ones. Ask yourself what it takes to kickstart your career and reconfirm if you have the required skills and qualifications. Next, use a spreadsheet to document all the things you will like to achieve in the next few months or years and add an expected date of completion. Taking these steps makes your career dream more realistic and sets it in motion.