How to Choose a Career

To find a career that is right for you, first, you must clarify your focus on what you want to do. Explore career options through informational interviews or conversations. Talk to people with similar or interesting career paths or who have made choices you find to be relevant. You are looking for advice to help you choose a career. What is the job outlook for that particular role? What did people like about it? How would they describe it? How did they get into that role?

Secondly, taking assessments that help you articulate and find what you value, what motivates you, and what you align to. Those core values and motivators will drive you in any role you take. StrengthsFinders, Strong Interest Inventory, and Myers-Briggs are good ones. There are a number of assessments to help narrow down your list and highlight similarities to streamline the process.

Figure out how to narrow down your career options, and both informational interviews and assessments will help you do that.

The third suggestion for finding the right career would be to shadow someone already in a position of interest, take on an internship position, or take a job in one of those roles. You could consider part-time or volunteering to help learn more and understand the long-term commitments. Does it really fit in with you, your interests, and what you thought it might be? That is a great way to help you choose the right career.

Choosing A Career Test Or Assessment

There are a number of career tests and assessments to choose from. Some identify personality traits like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Some are more about what strengths you bring to a team of coworkers such as StrengthFinders. Others help you articulate what you value in a work situation. The Strong Interest Inventory focuses on occupational alignment to your values and career aspirations.

A career counselor can help you identify what tests or assessments would give you the most information towards clarification in choosing a career. Some are done in college or your high school to college timeframe. If you’ve taken one of them before, you may want to retake them, or different ones, as you start a career pivot because your situation has changed.

Selecting A Career Path

Informational interviews and assessments can help you select a career path. They help determine the long-term roles and responsibilities, how they play out, and how you build on them. It is also important to determine what your career path end game is. If it’s about your salary range or wealth building, research how jobs pay and how to increase your wealth as you move through different job titles and positions because your career path might not be linear.

It may be like climbing a mountain, traversing back and forth on switchbacks to get to where you need to go. You follow the trail of how a career or a job opening moves through an organization and that should give you a better idea of if it will work for you.

Usually companies inside an industry have very similar titles. Do research on the company or industry to understand how they talk about roles, the type of problems they solve, the work that they do, and the people they interact with. You end up with a concentrated list of potential titles to use.

Choosing A Career at 30

Many times, people in their 30s are getting into their second or third role in a company. Often they are just looking, and it is all about finding a job. It is better to think about finding a career because that helps them move through the rest of the time they are working professionally and wealth building.

Many people came out of college thinking they have this degree with the capability of this internship, and they need to move off of that. Once you get into your 30s, you are starting to build a broader sense of capabilities and a wider sense of responsibilities that can go in a lot of different directions.

Assessments and informational interviews will help you choose that career longer-term. They are the best way to choose a career, basically at any age; but in your 30s, this is where you might see the fork in the road and wonder which way you should go.

Choosing A Career During Or After High School

During high school, many times there are assessments given to students to measure their aptitude because you have ability but not much experience. Those tools are very well honed and researched and provide great information on your job outlook. Choosing a career after high school might be challenging because your path could be going into a trade or a paying job right away, into higher education, or into the military. Pay close attention to those assessments for which path to take.

Today, many high schools do a great job of making sure students have visibility to a lot of different types of careers. This includes careers coming after some type of four-year or two-year education, a trade, or the military.

Other Career Advice Options

O*NET OnLine is a great resource for people to get information on what it takes to be successful in many careers, including what type of education, certification, or training skills are necessary. Some people think you can watch Netflix or YouTube documentaries to decide what your career is going to be. That is not necessarily the optimal way to do it. It’s one bit of information. It may not be the strongest bit.