Choosing the right career path could be a confusing and overwhelming task for the majority of students. While people might tell you to pursue your passion, that could be a very vague advice at times. Few people might also tell you to choose a career path that’s trending. But again, that could be a very risky decision. So, how to choose the right career path? In this post, I will cover some of the top tips on finding the right career.
How to Choose the Right Career Path
Identify What Excites You and Keeps You Energized
Sometimes it’s not too easy to identify the passion, especially at the high school level. It’s true that passion can keep you going during the rough patches in professional life. But, discovering the passion might not be possible for everyone at a very young age.
It could be a good idea to shortlist few careers that interests you initially. That will help you to select at least a stream after 10+2. At the initial stage you should explore various careers by speaking to experts and career guidance counselors. Sort out the careers that trigger the question in your mind – tell me more about this career.
Keep in Mind what you’re good at
It could be possible that you don’t feel genuinely passionate about any career path, or you are inclined towards multiple careers. In that case, think about your personality, skills, strengths and career aspirations. One of the vital keys to find the right career path is to introspect and learn as much as you can about yourself.
Make sure you choose a career that involves work you could be good at. If you are an introvert or research oriented person, there is no point doing a sales job – no matter how much the job pays or cool it sounds. If the work itself clashes with your personality or skill set, simply move on.
Know Your Aspirations in Life
It’s equally important to know your career aspirations – basically what you want in your life. For example, if you want to be rich in life, choose a career where you can make that kind of money, say science, technology, finance, medicine etc., and avoid fields like filmmaking, fashion design, music, drama – where only a lucky (and tenacious) few will make a fortune. Know about the top careers that can help you to lead a good lifestyle.
Explore the Careers that have got Demand
Be practical, you need a job. So, before choosing a career path, evaluate if there is a genuine demand in the job market. No need to choose a career blindly (in fact, that would be a very stupid decision), but gauge if the field is in demand.
We are currently living in the 21st century – the age of internet, digital technologies, big data, and automation. There are many career options to choose from, and you can make money and achieve success in any field. But, not every field is for everyone.
Get Familiar with All Exciting Career Options
One of the good starting points would be to know all the possible career paths in the 21st century. Grab a copy of the book – The Ultimate Guide to the 21st Century Careers by Richa Dwivedi Saklani. The book covers:
· Detailed information about the roles you can pursue in every field.
· Exercises that will help you assess your skill sets and interests, and correlate them to specific career paths.
· A comprehensive list of colleges, both in India and abroad, that offer courses in each field.
· Estimates of the salaries you could expect to earn in every profession and role.
· Testimonies from experts in different areas, providing a peek into their daily work lives.
You will also get a sneak peak at the hottest careers of the 21st century: Data science & analytics, advertising, film-making, entrepreneurship, art, writing, photography, acting & modelling, music, dance, sales and marketing, human resources, psychology, education and teaching, social work, graphic design, fashion, industrial design, web design, interior design, journalism, social sciences, law, architecture, information technology, finance, analytics, bioinformatics, engineering, scientific research, biotechnology, medicine, hospitality, chef, Indian armed forces, sports, genetics, and many more!
Life Goals: Promotion vs Prevention
According to a Harvard Business Review article, some people tend to see the goals as opportunities for advancement, achievement and rewards. If you are someone who sees your goals this way, you are likely to excel at:
- Creativity & innovation
- Seizing opportunities to get ahead
- Embracing risk
- Working quickly
- Generating lots of options and alternatives
- Abstract thinking
The second category of people sees goals as being about security – about not losing everything we’ve worked so hard for. When you are prevention-focused, you want to avoid danger, fulfill your responsibilities, want to keep things running smoothly, and be someone people can count on. In this case, you would be successful at:
- Thoroughness and being detail-oriented
- Analytical thinking and reasoning
- Accuracy (working flawlessly)
- Anticipating problems
However, keep in mind that if you are entrepreneurial in nature, you would need to find a balance between promotion and prevention. For any successful venture, the truth is that you need both promotion and prevention. This is one of the reasons that good partnerships can be so invaluable — it often takes a Steve Jobs to see a product’s potential, and a Steve Wozniak to actually build it and make it work. So if you are starting a new venture, make sure that you’ve got a healthy balance of promotion and prevention thinking in the right places.
Career Advice for Mature (College) Students & Early Stage Professionals
Do an Internship
Internships are great way to get exposure to companies and industries in which you would consider to work. Additionally, an internship can also help you to test out a particular career, industry or job role.
Find a Mentor
A mentor (or career coach) could be very helpful in taking your career to the next level by providing insights and making sure you’re on the right track. Mentors can be really helpful if you feel stuck or stagnant in your career.
Mentors are also great for getting connected with influential people because of their rich experience and connections. More importantly, a mentor can offer unbiased advice and expertise which are beneficial for your career. A career mentor could be your Professor in your College, Senior Management Personnel in your company, or a key Influencer in your industry. Besides, you can also hire a professional career guidance counselor or career coach. They would do the same thing for you (like a mentor), but they will charge a fee.
Network, Network & Network…..
One of the best ways to discover a new career path or job opportunity is to ask other people about theirs.
Consider your Career as a Marathon and not a Sprint
Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. It could turn out to be a very winding road indeed, knitted together from all of your experiences into, hopefully, a career worth having.