How to Choose a Career

When we ask people about the most meaningful parts of their life, family, health and work often rank as the top three. Choosing the type of work you’ll do, therefore, is arguably one of the most important decisions you can make.

You can begin choosing a career by taking the following steps:

  1. Perform a self-assessment
  2. Identify your must-haves
  3. Make a list of jobs to explore
  4. Research jobs and employers
  5. Get training (if you need it) and update your resume
  6. Find and apply for jobs
  7. Continue growing and learning

Selecting a career path can take weeks, months or even years as you continue learning what you want and need in a job. It’s important to note that you may have the option to change your path multiple times in your life, making the ability to choose a new career a valuable life skill.

Related: What Is the Difference Between a Job and a Career?

Perform a self-assessment

Before making any important decision, it’s a good idea to take time for self-reflection. Choosing a career is no different. In this step, you’ll reflect on what kind of work environment you want to be in, what type of work you enjoy, who you want to work with, and more.

As you’re reflecting, you may want to write down your notes. These can be helpful references as you’re evaluating job descriptions later on.

Here are a few questions to get you started. Try not to dwell on the questions but rather, write down the first thoughts that come to mind. If you’re not sure of some answers, trusted friends or family may be able to give guidance.

Self-assessment questions to consider:

  • What are your key values?
    Example answers: Financial stability, helping others, independence

  • What soft skills do you possess?
    Example answers: Time management, communication, confidence, problem-solving

  • What technical skills do you possess?
    Example answers: Data analytics, planning, research, multilingual, photography

  • What natural aptitudes do you have?
    Example answers: Writing, leadership, selling, project management, communicating, planning, technical problem-solving

  • What’s your personality like?
    Example answers: Myers-Briggs personality type, quiet, outgoing, confident, aggressive, loyal

  • What are you interested in?
    Example answers: Technology, writing, medicine, design

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