How to Choose a Career That’s Right for You

How to Choose a Career That’s Right for You

Knowing how to choose a career can be challenging for many young people. They need to discover what their talents and passions are and also learn about the different career paths available to them.

Choosing the right career is also one of the toughest decisions that we have to make in our lives. The career we choose has a significant impact on our quality of life. 

This decision is even more challenging for young people because they have to decide what they want to do at an early age and with little experience about how the job market works and about what they might be good at

Luckily, there are several criteria and methods that you can use to help you choose the right career. We’ll be discussing this in more detail in this article.

Increase Your Self-awareness

When learning about how to choose a career that’s right for you, it’s a good idea to work on increasing your self-awareness skills. Self-awareness means paying attention to your own behaviour, how you think and how you feel. 

Being more self-aware helps you to understand your strengths and weaknesses better. A strong self-awareness leads to making better decisions because you’ll have a clear sense of self. Only you will be able to determine what you may or may not enjoy.

Even though you’re likely to change and grow as a person, there are definitely certain personality traits that are always going to be stable in your life. Knowing these “building blocks” can help you exclude taking certain paths that you probably won’t enjoy when you’re thinking about how to choose a career.

It’s important to understand what these traits are so that it’s easier to decide the right career path for you. For example, if you’re someone who’s introverted and prefers to spend time on your own, going for a career path that involves a lot of public speaking and relationship-building might not be the right choice for you. 

A great way to increase your self-awareness is through journaling. You can journal about anything like when you’re going through a difficult time, or when you’ve had an argument with someone, or when you’re happy about something and so on. 

Journal and reread your journal from time to time to understand more about yourself. You will notice what has and hasn’t changed in you. All of these will help you to pick the right career for you.

Consider Your Passion

What are you passionate about? And what are your hobbies? We spend most of our time at work, so it’s important that you try to choose a career that represents what you enjoy and what you’re passionate about.

You might be thinking, “I don’t know what my passion is”. Ask yourself these questions: what do you do when you’re not studying or maybe even working? What type of books, Netflix series, YouTube videos, or podcasts do you like listening to? Which activities do you enjoy so much that you would do them for free?

Something else to think about is your energy levels when you do an activity that you like. What is something that excites you, as opposed to something that drains you?

Consider Your Skills

When you are on your way to finding a job, you’ll hear a lot about hard and soft skills. 

A hard skill is a skill that you gain through practice. An example of this is computer programming. A soft skill instead is a skill that is more attached to your individuality. An example of soft skills is teamwork, which is how well you collaborate with other people. 

You can master a hard skill through perseverance and repetition. You can also learn certain soft skills. However, they are more challenging to grasp because these are skills that you learn by exposing yourself to real-world experience. 

At a young age, it’s difficult to assess your hard and soft skills because you still need to develop them. However, you still have some degree of knowledge on which skills you enjoy and are good at when you choose your career. 

Some example questions that can guide you to analyse your hard and soft skills can be:

  • Are you good with numbers? 
  • Are you able to learn foreign languages pretty quickly? 
  • Are you good at writing or designing? 

For soft skills:

  • Do you play a type of sport that requires team collaboration?
  • Are you good at managing your time?
  • How good are you at organising stuff?

Your grades can also help to assess your hard and soft skills. Even though grades are a flawed methodology to examine one’s capability to choose the right career, from your grades, you can gain insight on which career path you should consider. 

Think About Your Desired Lifestyle

Part of learning about how to choose a career that’s right for you is to consider the lifestyle you want for your future. Your lifestyle will depend a lot on the type of career path you choose. 

You’ll need to ask yourself questions like do you want to choose a career that requires you to travel internationally? Or would you prefer to stay closer to your family and friends? Do you like spending your time outdoors?

With the recent Coronavirus pandemic, there is an ongoing debate on whether companies should force employees to return to the office or not. Still, remote working has become popular because it can save companies a lot of money by avoiding renting office spaces.

Some employees prefer to work from home five days a week and not have to commute. They might be more family-oriented and choosing to work from home makes childcare more manageable and flexible for them. 

Others prefer working from the office whereas some employees would like to go to the office only a few days per week. Then, not all jobs are doable from home because some career paths will require you to be present on site. 

It is therefore important to consider what you want your life to be like and pursue career opportunities that allow you to build that life.

You may need to compromise at times

Some jobs are in higher demand than others and some pay better than others. Knowing how to choose a career that’s right for you isn’t always straightforward. There may be something you’ll need to compromise.

Some university degrees, on average, also allow you to make more money than others. These degrees are, for example, medicine, dentistry, computer science, engineering, etc.

If you’d like to know more about the highest paying degrees in the UK, read our blog!

But, what if you’re not interested in any of those? Should you try to get into this field just because of the money? If you’re that type of person who doesn’t enjoy career options that fall on this list of highest-paying jobs, you might want to consider finding a good compromise between what you like and what the job market can offer to you. 

A clear example of this is: are you someone who likes to draw? The job market can offer careers in graphic design and digital design. Another ongoing problem is that some jobs have become (or are on their way to becoming) obsolete due to technological advances. 

For example, pursuing a career in a travel agency can be a risky choice because people can find all possible information with a simple Google search. 

Addressing this issue can feel challenging because it depends on your situation, your background, and what you are looking for in a career. But it is possible, with research and gaining practical experience in the fields you’re interested in! The important thing is knowing what you’re willing to compromise in a career and what you’re not.

Qualifications Needed Vs Willingness To Study

Specific career paths will need you to have either a degree or some sort of certification to prove your competency. How much time do you want to spend studying before getting into your desired career path? Years or months?

Whatever route you decide to take, you’ll need to get some education to improve your chances of getting employed. This can take both time and money.

Depending on your situation, you might not have the finances to afford formal education. You could then consider doing online courses in your area of interest.

Nowadays, there are many pathways that you can take to get more educated: university, boot camps and online classes or in-person workshops. 

Universities also offer distance learning, as well as part-time degrees. For example, the UK Government has a list of free boot camps to address the UK’s skills shortage, and you can attend them at the comfort of your home. 

When you’re thinking of how to choose a career path that’s right for you, you’ll need to assess how much time (and money) you would like to spend educating yourself to get into a particular career or field of work. 

Seek Mentorship

A mentor is someone who can give you valuable insights into a specific field. They serve as a bridge between the mentee and the job market. They can also help you understand what you need to get into a particular career path. They’ll give you practical advice, motivation and reassurance. 

A mentor can fast-track your career by guiding you towards doing things that are relevant to choosing the right career for you. They help you to feel more motivated to make solid decisions. 

You may be wondering: how do you find a mentor? A mentor is often someone you already know and admire within your circle. If you cannot find anyone, maybe it’s a sign that you’ll need to expand your network. Try to attend your local youth community, social club or a volunteering event. Also, leverage your social media.

We’re passionate about providing mentorship to young people, which is why we offer mentoring as part of our 1:1 online programmes! You can get in touch with us if you’d like to know more!

In Conclusion

In this article, we discussed a range of things to think about when it comes to choosing a career that’s right for you. We have seen that the earlier you start considering your skills and passions, and start gaining practical experience, mentorship and expanding your network, the more likely you are to find a career that you enjoy! 

If you’d like the opportunity to explore careers in various industries including Technology, Medicine, Finance, Engineering and many more! And if you’d like to meet professionals from a range of universities and corporate organisations such as PWC, University of Oxford, BT, JP Morgan, EY, BRIT Insurance and Blackrock bank, you can attend our online Careers Summit by registering here!

Maddalena Onyehara
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