Choosing a career path is something that everyone does at least once in their professional life. There’s no set route from A to B, and that’s why it’s so important to consider your own career path and where you want yours to take you.
Your career path can be chosen and changed at any point in your life, so whether you’re leaving school, currently studying, recently graduated or even contemplating a career change, read this article to help you decide which career path is right for you:
First thing’s first, your career absolutely has to interest and excite you. We spend a lot of our lives working, so make sure your career path is one that’ll motivate, inspire and challenge you. Have a think about some of the subjects and activities you enjoy the most. Follow that up with why you think you’re drawn to those interests and you’re on your way to pinpointing specific qualities that will be transferable to your career path.
Don’t worry if you’re struggling to determine your interests. Simply start off by considering whether you’re more enthusiastic about words, numbers, visuals, or physical activities, and that should help you to narrow things down.
It’s also useful to consider your core values; what’s important to you, what sort of environment could you thrive in, which sector most appeals to you (public, private, not-for-profit), what sort of lifestyle do you want? Getting an idea of the answers to some of these questions will help you to discover what you want most from your career.
When you’re deciding on your career path, it’s important to understand the unique set of skills you possess, so that you can determine how they can fit with the career you’d like to pursue. Here’s where it could be useful to research which skills are the most important for some of the industries and sectors you’ve already selected for your career path. Comparing these desired skills with the ones you already possess will give you the confidence to pursue your goals, whilst clearly highlighting any gaps that will need filling in order for you to achieve your career ambitions.
Once you’ve compiled your unique list of interests and skills, it’s time to consider which industry or sector is the right one for you. It’s totally fine to have a few completely different ideas at this point. Put together a shortlist of however many jobs you’d like to consider, and then delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each. Some of the main things to think about include your career development opportunities, the job market and chances of you being able to find a job in that field, the entry requirements and whether you have or can gain the skills needed, the job descriptions and how much these appeal to you, any other related jobs it might be possible to move into with some more experience, the salary and working conditions and how these fit with your preferred lifestyle, and of course, any training necessary to get your foot in the door.
Once you’ve got your list of a few potential career paths and job ideas, as well as the qualifications and education you’ll need to make a start in those fields, now’s the time to make the first step - apply!