How To Choose a Career Path: A Simple Guide

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What do you want to be when you grow up? This question used to seem innocent when we were kids. As you come closer to "adulthood", the question may bring up anxiety.

With so many options, how do you pick a career path? How do you even start a career?

Choosing a career can be overwhelming. If you're not sure where to start, continue reading. Our guide will cover how to choose a career path, from self-reflection to finding an entry-level job. 

How to Choose a Career Path

There are a few steps worth taking before looking for an entry-level job to launch your career. It all starts with being honest with yourself.

1. Self Reflection

To help brainstorm what careers you would be interested in, grab a piece of paper (or open your Notes app) and answer the following questions.

  • What activities and hobbies do you enjoy? Do you want to turn your hobby into a career or keep it just as a hobby?
  • Do you like working in a team or independently?
  • Do you enjoy talking to other people (customers/clients)?
  • Do you prefer physical work, or do you prefer a desk-based job?
  • How much time and money do you want to spend on education?
  • What do you want from a career? 
    • Do you want it to be something you do just 9-5, or do you want it to be your life?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5-years? 10-years?

These questions might be tough to answer, but your response will guide you in your career search. They also might detour you from career paths that don't match your goals and personality.

2.  Skill Assessment

Now it's time to be realistic. What are you good at? 

Reflect on any previous jobs or education you have. What skills did you gain from your previous experience? 

Some common skills you might have include communication skills, computer skills (Google Docs, Microsoft Word, etc), and working in a team.

What about any special skills from your hobbies? Are you good at managing people from your time working backstage at your high school? Are you good with quick deadlines because of your time at your college newspaper? 

3.  Look up Jobs in Fields you Enjoy

You know what you're looking for in a career and you know some skills you bring to the table. Now it's time to look up actual jobs in fields you enjoy. Here are some examples of fields you can dive into:

  • Technology
  • Medical
  • Beauty and Wellness
  • Performing Arts
  • Journalism
  • Film
  • Communication and Public Relations
  • Politics

Once you decide what field interests you, know that there are many types of jobs in any particular field. 

4. Research Education Requirements for Different Careers

Different careers have different education requirements. Some careers require a college degree, like a BA or MA, and some require trade-school certificates. 

For example, a cosmetology career has different requirements for school than a doctor. This information will help you in planning out your career.

5. Start The Job Search for Entry Level Jobs

Though your career goal might be the editor-in-chief of a magazine, that's not going to be your first job (sorry). 

You first might have to be an intern, then a freelancer, then a staff writer, and so on. You first need to find an entry-level job that one day will lead you to your dream job. Try reaching out to those who have your dream job via email or LinkedIn to see how they got to their job. 

Take Action in Your Career

Hopefully, by following these steps, you will become more sure in your future career path. Just know, that your career path doesn't have to be (and probably won't) be linear, and that's okay.

Thought this guide was helpful? Keep browsing our site for more "how-to" articles.

 

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