How Do I Choose the Right Career for Me?

As a recent grad or a soon-to-be college graduate, you will be embarking on your job search to kick off your career. Choosing the right career path right from the get-go can help you avoid financial and emotional stress down the road. However, this can be an overwhelming process. Instead of forcing yourself to identify a direct path, find out your “wants” and “needs”, and then see what the world has to offer.

Your passions and your skills

While some people clearly know what their passions are, some of us aren’t so clear and may have a passion that is very vague.

We all want to follow our passion but at the same time, we’re afraid that we’ll waste our life if we don’t obsessively pursue a career goal. Sounds familiar? Well, the problem usually is not about following your passion but it is that they are too broad and you don’t know where to begin.

You can use your interests as a starting point for your career planning and break them down into bite-size interests. For example, if you want to be a writer, you can break “writer” down into “writing” and “editing”. Next, do a “skills inventory” to come up with a list of your skills. Match your interests and skills to job titles and zero in on those that have the best prospects for your career growth.

Your personality type

You know yourself best. Are you more of an extrovert or an introvert? If you’re not sure, a personality test such as the Myers-Briggs personality test will likely shed some light on that. Knowing your personality will help you determine what kind of work environment allows you to thrive. For example, as an extrovert, you will probably enjoy working in a busy sales office, while an introvert will thrive in a quieter role as a researcher.

In addition, ask yourself this question: “what motivates you?” In other words, are you prevention-focused or promotion-focused?  People who are prevention-focused prefer thorough planning and analytical thinking, and their goal is to remain status quo. On the other hand, people who are promotion-focused are creative and prefer to try out new things.

Your preferred lifestyle

As a newbie in a career, expect to work your tail off for at least a few years. However, you should look at people who are well into the career you are about to choose to see if the lifestyle they lead is what you want in the future. Do they have control over their time and what they make? Will you be happy if you live like them? What gives you the most satisfaction?

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By Sophie Deering