“So, what have you decided to do next?”
“Which stream are you picking?”
“What’s course are you taking up in college?”
Once you hit a certain age, everyone you meet keeps recycling these very questions. Even so, if you still feel like you’re always caught off-guard and don’t have the right answer yet, that’s normal. It’s okay to not know what you want to do next. But here’s what you can do instead.
Explore. The real solution to career discovery is to keep exploring through real-world learning – where you learn by doing, instead of just reading about it in textbooks. It’s a crucial step to long-term life success and can help you go beyond test scores, therefore leading you to a path of self-discovery.
How to choose the right career?
Finding your career path is an important task, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. We’ve put together a few tips you can explore to help you arrive at a career path you might thrive in. Read on to find out.
Explore your skillset
Before you find a career that is right for you, you must spend time understanding your talents, your skills, and your best qualities. Start by setting apart some time to:
- Research your available options and paths
- Think about your field of interests
- Discover and optimize your strengths
Doing so can help you find a middle ground that ticks all the boxes of personal affinity towards the career, passion for the job, and your ability to excel at it.
Don’t limit yourself to passion
If you have a passion that you find scalable, that’s a great place to start. For the others, it’s important to think about your passion and still focus on the ultimate impact of your effort. About 75% of respondents to a survey in America said they had changed their career at least once, and approximately 33% thinking of changing yet again. So, finding the right fit is crucial.
Let your passion guide you, but don’t forget to put in the hard work, commitment and dedication. Think about how scalable your passion is, the work or skills it requires, and how you score on that scale. A good way to do this is by constantly indulging yourself in project-based learning activities and real-world challenges that can help give you the big picture of what the next few years of your life look like.
Try a personality test
Personality tests are a great tool for self-discovery, allowing you to come to terms with your skills and talents. Some tests you can try include Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big Five Personality Test. While these will not give you a definitive answer on what your career path should be, they’ll help you understand what role might suit your personality, characteristics, and skills.
Look for overlaps
What you know, what a company expects, and what you want to achieve may differ, but the connection between the three should be clear. Learn how to interpret your skills and abilities instead of looking for any job. Look back at past experiences to guide you towards your future. What did you like to do in the past? What did you not like about it?
Shortlist your choices
Fortunately or unfortunately, you can’t do it all. Work smart, never more. After exploring a basket list of options, cut them down to the top 3 or 5 by analyzing which of your talents and abilities can actually make a good fit for a potential future career path. The best way to shortlist is by making a list of the pros and cons and really asking yourself, “Is this something I’d love to do for the rest of my life?”.
Attend career fares
Career fairs are a good place to start exploring your options. They help you acquire knowledge, open your eyes to options you didn’t even consider before, and even see which university has what you’re looking for. They’re far less intimidating than going on university visits and you can even meet like-minded individuals with the same interests as yours!
Network your way to career discovery
When you are actively looking for a new career or trying to figure out which way to go, it’s a great way to get your feet in the water and seek help from those already in it. When you meet more people, you can gain more insight into how they work, why they love their work. Networking with like-minded people on the same career trajectory that you hope to insert yourself into is a wonderful way to get exposure without actually doing the work. Ask the right questions, find out what a regular workday looks like for them, and get the details. Who knows, you might even find a mentor in the process and that’s a career gold mine! In fact, surveys reveal that around 85% of the jobs gained are networked.
Seek professional internships
Do you know what a veterinarian does all day? Or what a PR manager does all day? There is no better way to learn a job than by trial and error, experimenting, and understanding if you’re the right fit. For example, you can always reach out to friends or family who run or work in businesses of your interest and ask for potential internship openings. They could help put in a word and you get the exposure in return.
Hold on to what inspires you
This is an obvious step: everyone wants to enjoy their work and appreciate it. If you are afraid to talk about work, it is the most significant sign that you are on the wrong path. While passion is not the only way to fulfill your mission, most people would say that it is still important, not least because passion keeps you going through difficult times. Find what inspires you and never let it go.
There are no right or wrong answers
Here’s a bonus tip: Don’t let the process intimidate you or bring you down. Give yourself the time to explore your options before zeroing down on the final one. And while you exploring, indulge in some project-based learning exercises on Uable. Pick from a variety of subject matters and challenges, get creative, discover new talents and we’re confident you’ll find something you truly excel at AND enjoy!
Finally, the road to career discovery is not a straight path, but it is filled with great learnings and personal growth. Keep that in mind as you decide the best career option for the future, starting today. Happy exploring!