How to Choose the Right Career PathAugust 14, 2017
Choosing the right career path can be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever make — but also the most rewarding.
Ultimately, your career path is about you and what you want to do with your life. We all take on little “jobs” here and there to earn money just to get by, but making one of those jobs a career is a big step to take.
Since the decision is up to you, and will influence your life, you’re going to have to look deep within yourself to find the right career path for you. You’re going to have to ask yourself some difficult questions.
What Are Your Hobbies?
Yes, your hobbies have weight when it comes to deciding your career path and areas of expertise.
Do you like to ride horses? This could indicate you’re good with animals, or that you belong outdoors. Do you love to knit? This could mean you’re good with your hands. Do you enjoy sketching? You may have a fine eye for details!
Take a few minutes to think about your hobbies. Write them down.
Which hobby do you enjoy most, and why? Write that down as well. Be as detailed as possible.
What Jobs Have You Held?
What jobs have you held down in the past? Again, write them all down.
Don’t forget jobs you did as a volunteer. Those count!
Which job did you enjoy the most, and why? Or, if you didn’t enjoy any of the jobs you’ve held thus far, write down a detailed account as to why.
For example, if you’ve had nothing but offices jobs up until now and loathed them because you’d rather be outside, write that down. Knowing why you disliked something is equally important as knowing why you liked something. (And this could help you narrow down why none of these previous jobs became your ultimate career path).
What Are Your Beliefs/Values?
This section isn’t exclusive to religious beliefs (although you should certainly write those down as well!). This is more about your passions and causes.
Are you passionate about animal rescue? Helping the homeless? Or maybe you’re very into organic foods…? Those are all things you should write down.
Maybe being a parent is the most important thing in the world to you. If so, write that down.
Really take your time with this one. Choosing a career path that’s in line with your beliefs makes it all the more rewarding. One of the reasons I work with 133T is because I believe in the causes they support. I love helping people (like you!), and doing so makes my career MORE than just a “job” I do to “get by.” It’s something I truly enjoy.
What Education Have You Had?
Which schools have you attended? What classes did you take while you were there? Write them all down. Then circle the classes you enjoyed the most.
Important: Don’t forget the School of Life!
Have you learned an invaluable lesson from a family member or friend? Or perhaps even a perfect stranger?
Once, a homeless man told me “Skidrow’s not a place, it’s a feeling.” Meaning, if you’re depressed and your mental health isn’t in order, ANY place you live can FEEL like “Skidrow.” This was an invaluable lesson for me to learn, and one of the things that inspired me to take care of my mental health. That’s NOT something I would have learned in a classroom!
Take your time with this one. Just let it all flow out of you. There’s no time limit on this exercise. You’re doing this for YOU, and you deserve to dwell on the details.
Which Businesses Do You Love?
What stores/businesses have you visited over the past two months? As a customer, you already have inside knowledge into these industries!
Which store was your favorite, and why? Write it down.
What Do You Like to Read?
Which books/blogs/magazines do you like to read, and why? Write them all down.
If you’re not much of a reader, feel free to write down the television shows and movies you’ve enjoyed over the past couple of months.
Do you like to read young adult novels? This could indicate that you’d be good working with teenagers. Do you prefer reading articles about investment techniques? Then perhaps a career in money management is in your future.
Or perhaps you love the Marvel superhero movies? As silly as it sounds, this could be an indicator that your place in life is helping others — being a real-life “superhero!”
What Are the Common Themes?
Now, you have a huge list of things you like, and you’ve circled the items you like the BEST. What are the common themes?
For example, if your favorite previous job was volunteering with Meals on Wheels, the best advice you ever received came from your nana, and one of your passions is fighting for better living accommodations for geriatrics… You probably belong on a career path that involves helping the elderly!
Or, if your favorite classes in school were all English classes, your favorite hobby is writing, and your favorite place of business to visit is the local bookstore… There’s a good chance you’re meant to be a writer, like I am!
Yep, I took this test myself when I was trying to figure out my ultimate career path — and it worked wonders for me. I went from working retail and food services jobs for half of my life, to having my dream career.
Once you figure out what you want to do with your life, it’s time to start doing it!
Figure out what qualifications you need, and get them, if you don’t already have them. In my case, I already had all the qualifications I needed to set off on my career path. There’s a good chance you may as well. Do the research and find out.
From there, start applying to jobs in your newly-chosen field. It won’t be long before you start getting called in for interviews!