How To Choose A Career Path: In the past few months, I have been asked by many students about how they will know the career path that is best for them. Consequently, I decided to write this article, believing that it will vividly explain how to choose a career while in school. But before that, I enjoin anyone who wants to learn from this work to read very carefully.
Career is an occupation, one which requires training, undertaken for a period of the person’s life. It is a course through life, which ranges the aspect of an individual’s life, learning and work. Examples of careers are: Agriculture and natural resources, Architecture and construction, Business management and administration, Education and Training, Health science, Information technology etc.
In order to choose a career, it is important to understand individual jobs and professions, the industry trends and development to get a better and full understanding of the long term potentials and benefits, including the experience and the knowledge expected of you.
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Guide for Choosing The Right Career Path
1. Write down your strengths: To succeed in choosing a career, it is imperative for you to understand yourself. Take a long look into yourself and check for your values, interests, skills and personality. These will all be needed in choosing a career path. For a more detailed assessment, ask close friends, parents and anyone who is likely to tell you the truth to help by telling you what they think you are good at.
Also there are tests, career tests online to help gather your traits and skills, through questions which would be directed to you, to be answered truthfully. You could also go to a career counselor to help guide your choices by using your interests and strengths as a blue print.
2. Make a list of careers to explore: You have interests in certain fields but are confused on how to go from the list you have made, what to do and which to choose from. This stage is very normal. However, to have an understanding of the career to choose and how to go about it, it is important to write them down with the intention to research about them later, bearing in mind that choosing a career due to the hype and people’s perceived notions about it will not be wise. The following are questions you should ask yourself and research the answers before taking a step further.
Firstly, you should ask how much people in that career earn monthly, or yearly. This is important as earning is a very core essential needed in order to choose a career. If the pay is less, small, meager, you might want o reconsider choosing the career and opt for something more lucrative.
Secondly, check the risks involved in the profession or occupation. If it is an occupation that requires risks, more risks than you are capable and willing to bear, you might want to reconsider. For instance, choosing to become a soldier is a very risky occupation, it means you must be willing and ready to lay your life for your country, willing to stay days without seeing your family. If it is a risk you can bear, then choosing a career path in the armed forces might be a right choice for you. The same goes for investing.
Thirdly, does the occupation require working in a fixed location? If yes, are you ready to work in that location? Are you willing to leave your comfort zone? These are the questions to be asked with regards to the location needed for you to engage in that occupation.
Finally, ask yourself, what are the benefits of this occupation? What do you stand to gain within a number of years. After asking these questions, it is presumed you have made your decisions and you already know how far you are willing to go to succeed in that career.
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3. Narrow your list: You have made a list of the careers which you think you might do well in, you have also researched based on the questions stated in number 2. It is fair to say now, based on the research made so far, that you know which career you think you can do well in, which career looks appealing to you and which career you know you will not be caught dead doing.
The implication of this decision is that the list has been reduced, and the careers contained in the list have been narrowed to fewer careers. Yet, there is still much work to be done. It is important to note here that careers with weak job outlooks, with experiences which you might be unable to satisfy should not be in this list as they should be removed.
4. Network: This is the most crucial point of choosing a career. The network you are able to make goes a long way to determine how well you perform and how successful you become in that profession. Make good use of linked in, make yourself visible on social media, follow people who seem to be top professionals in that career, meet with people successful in the careers, ask them questions, make yourself noticed.
It is also very important to state here that you should try to be intelligent in your questions and some questions and acts might do the opposite of what you intend to achieve, that is, it might repel them. Be subtle in your approach. People are attracted to smart people. Be smart.
5. Put on your thinking cap: The thinking cap is a metaphor for making an informed decision with the information you have been able to gather. Leave nothing behind. Take into cognizance very detail, and pick the occupation that would bring you the satisfaction you need.
A career is a life changing aspect of a persons’ life and it is important for you to be careful and thinking slowly before making a decision. Remember it doesn’t have to be made in a hurry. Sleep over it, ask for advice from people, think before acting.
6. Identify your goals: A goal is something you intend to achieve within a given period. Once you make your decision, write down your goals, short term goals, long term goals. They help to set you on motion, to motivate you into doing better and achieving better within a short period.
An example of long term goals include achieving a certain GPA within a particular period, completing your education and obtaining an undergraduate degree, even a Masters degree. Whilst short term goals include internships, training programs etc.
7. Create a plan: You have written down your goals and ambition. It is necessary that you set out a plan on how to achieve it. Write down your steps from day one, the barriers you need to overcome, and hurdles you need to face and overcome whilst smiling.
Think of this as a road map to achieving what you set out to become. Think of the whole journey as a war, and your plans as a necessity, a battle plan needed to ensure you win the war.
8. Start executing your plans: This is the final stage, the stage where all you have researched will be put into action. This could start out as writing the necessary exams, obtaining training necessary and required for the career. It could be a college degree, a vocational training, internship or apprenticeship.
9. One must know his/her personality: It is also important to know what one loves and what he/she is good at (that is what makes one who he/she is). If he/she is a person of the people (as in an extrovert), it would probably not be a good idea for him/her to run a library and if he/she is more of an introvert, he/she may not want to get into the field of customer service or hospitality.
It is also pertinent for one to write down a list of his/her main personality traits which will also help out in choosing his/her career.
10. One must determine his/her values: His/her values will help in propelling him/her to his/her set goals and it is important he/she keeps the list of personality traits close by in determining these values as they are connected to each other.
In recent times, there are questions that can help one to determine his/her values which include: What type of work culture or leadership structure do one thinks would thrive for him/her? Are there any “deal breakers” that arise from his/her personal convictions? Many of these questions may require some years to reveal their answers while some may be more easier to answer than others.
In conclusion, choosing a career is not a day’s job. However, with zeal and determination, choosing the right career is possible.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.