5 Steps To Choosing A Career

5 Steps To Choosing A Career

Are you a soon to be college graduate trying to decide on what to do after graduation? Or perhaps you just want a change of direction in your professional life? There are thousands of options when it comes to picking a career and it can be difficult to know which is the right one for you. So how do you make this life-changing decision? Here are 5 steps to choosing a career, which may help you in your decision-making process.

1. Self-Assessment

The first step in the process is to self-assess your skills, interests, knowledge and experience. Enlist the help of professional career advisors to aid you in this stage. They are trained to determine personality type, aptitude and values in addition to the above mentioned.

To begin, there are a number of self-assessment tools available to help guide you through the process. The best known is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This test can help you identify distinctive personality traits. There is also the Big Five personality assessments that divide personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. This can help you to determine your learning style and work preferences.

Additionally, there are other considerations to consider in the self-assessment stage. For example, family responsibilities, location or further training or education required. Self-assessment will help steer you in the right direction and determine the type of occupation that suits you best.

2. Make A List of Occupations

Research and list all the occupations that interest you. There may be multiple occupations across industries at this stage, based on your self-assessment results. Create a list in excel or another online spreadsheet tool to help you stay organized and apply filters where needed.

After you have created the master list, research job descriptions matching those occupations and note the details. Include the main responsibilities, skills desired and experience needed. Include this alongside each occupation to give you an idea of the job requirements. Also, note any specific training, licenses or certificates you need to work in a particular job. Furthermore, research the job earnings for each. If this isn’t explicitly mentioned in the job descriptions then check out PayScale.com.

Having completed this stage you will have a picture of which occupations interest you the most. This will allow you to eliminate those that don’t appeal to you or those that you feel you wouldn’t be a good match for.

3. Short-list

At this stage, narrow down your options and make further eliminations from your list. You will have learned a lot about yourself and about the occupations from the research stages above. Having eliminated the occupations you definitely don’t want to pursue you should be left with a short-list of 4-5 desired occupations.

Be ruthless at this stage, eliminate anything that doesn’t match your skills. Also, delete anything that requires educational or training requirements that you aren’t prepared to fulfil.

4. Fact Find

Once you have your short-list completed, it’s time to conduct some thorough research into each occupation. Pick one at a time and learn as much as you can about each. If you know someone working in the area, ask to meet them for a chat to find out more about their job. Use your informal and formal network to reach out to those who can help you get some inside knowledge about the industry. Use LinkedIn to connect to those who can possibly give you any information that will inform your decision.

5. Make Your Career Choice

Finally, having completed your self-assessment and research, you are ready to make your decision. Once you have made your decision, see what you need to do in order to apply for the jobs available. You may need to look at returning to education to obtain accreditation or complete a training course. Take some time to write down your career goals and have an idea of where you want to be in the short-term (the next year-2 years) and longer-term (five years).  This will help you decide on the type of organisation you want to work for in terms of industry, size and culture.

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