When You Can't Decide: How To Pick A Career In 10 Simple Steps
The picture above shows a bunch of cubes with the word job printed in each side. One of the cubes has the word career
When You Can't Decide: How To Pick A Career In 10 Steps
Choosing what you want to do with your life is extremely difficult. It's one thing to choose a short-term job, but an entirely different one to make a decision about what you want to do for the next few decades.
It can be hard. You want to know yourself and what you want before you jump into anything. We're here to help you learn how to pick a career that you'll love.
Of course, the ultimate decision is up to you, but a little advice never hurt anyone.
How to Pick a Career You'll Love
There's no one way to determine what you should do with your career. Some people know from a very young age, while some people don't realize their path until later in life, for example.
At the same time, there are a number of things you can do to stop grasping at straws and make some headway toward what you want to do. Ultimately, the goal is to find something that will satisfy, challenge, and reward you. Use some of the following steps to find what sorts of careers may rub you the right way.
1. Identify What You Already Enjoy Doing
If you have any dominant hobbies, interests, or habits that you enjoy, think about what careers might incorporate those things. If you really enjoy rearranging your room, for example, you might like a career in interior design.
Or if you find yourself drawing on every piece of paper you get your hands on, that might be a good indication that art would be a good path to follow.
2. Flesh Out Your Values
You should also consider what things are most important to you. If you value money and stability, you may be willing to sacrifice a little bit of passion for the comfort of a steady paycheck. If money is not your primary motivation, think more in terms of your passions.
There's also the element of purpose. You may find that you're only satisfied when you're doing something that supports the greater good. Working in the nonprofit sector might be a good thing for you in that case.
3. Make a Venn Diagram
Set up a Venn Diagram with three circles. One with professions that align with things you love, one that lists professions that pay well, and one that aligns with things you're great at.
The overlap between things you love and things you're good at will generally be things that make you happy, but may not pay extremely well. The overlap between what you love and what pays well is the ultimate goal, but it is often extremely difficult to find those jobs.
The overlap between what you're good at and what pays well will be jobs that make you a lot of money but might not satisfy you. Any jobs that lie in the center of the diagram are ones that you should seek to learn more about.
Those are jobs that you'll love, excel at, and make a lot of money doing.
3. Take a Personality Test
Take a Myers-Briggs test to find out where you fall on the spectrum of personality. Introverts and extroverts fare differently in different kinds of work environments.
Your test results could come back with information that you had never thought of but says a lot about yourself and your potential work environments. There's also a lot of research on how your Myers-Briggs results fit into your career choices.
4. Take a Career Assessment Test
These assessments take a summary of your interests, preferences, and aptitudes and pair them against a large base of career options. While no one fits directly into boxes that describe their career choices, the numbers show that there's usually a pretty good chance that you'll be able to get a better idea of where you should go.
5. Research Potential Careers
Once you've gotten a little information about your personality and the careers that should fit well with you, pick a few that interest you and research them. A lot of people are misinformed about different professions, imagining that they're just like they're portrayed on television.
Look into career websites that describe specific professions.
6. Speak With Professionals in Your Intended Fields
Talking with people who work in a profession that you're interested in could be the best way to learn more about whether or not you would want to do their job too. Ask to come along to shadow them for a day.
You can also talk with these people about how they got into the profession, what they wish they knew when they started, and ways for you to succeed as an applicant and worker.
7. Sit On Your Decisions
You may come across a number of potential careers that seem like they would be a good fit. It's easy to get into a flurry of grand ideas about your future, but don't take immediate action when they come up.
It's great to be excited about your future, but chew on the details for a while before you, say, enter into college to earn a degree in that field.
8. Talk With a Career Counselor
Career counselors are typically employed by universities and colleges, but you can find them elsewhere as well. These are people who are knowledgeable about a breadth of career options.
They can also put you in touch with some of the things listed above. Personality and aptitude tests will be a lot easier to access if you go through a career counselor.
9. Be Willing to Make Adjustments
You may enjoy a career for a period of time, only to find that it isn't what you want down the line. That's totally fine!
The point is to work at something that supports you and makes you happy, not to work at the same thing for as long as you can. Make sure you're aware when things stop aligning with what you want.
10. Be Open-Minded!
The career paths present to you through this process might not be ones that you ever imagined yourself taking. Some of the most fulfilling jobs will probably be ones that didn't cross your mind before.
Be open to the process, and don't be afraid to try something new!
Need Help Finding a Job?
Learning how to pick a career is the first step, finding a job is the second. It can often be intimidating to search the web for job postings and opportunities.