Choosing a career is a decision which influences the rest of your life. Yet, despite the importance of this choice, many students don’t give it a great deal of thought until their studies are nearly complete.
Get To Know Yourself
You need to be aware of your interests, strengths and weaknesses, values and personality. These factors will dramatically influence your choice of career. Knowing yourself requires a level of introspection or self-examination. This is an obvious step but one skipped by many people. Start by imagining what you would be if there were no limits at all, and then temper that ideal with the realities of your personal situation.
Identify Your Passions
Be active in your quest for the ideal career. Start by considering your hobbies and interests. Research different careers – you may be surprised at the enormous scope and number of choices available to you. Examine the employment section of the newspaper to see which skills are in demand and realise that education and training are the basis upon which you will build your career.
Consult An Expert
Don’t shy away from seeing a career counsellor. They can provide a great deal of assistance – but don’t expect them to make the choice for you. Your career choice is deeply personal and demands that you are actively involved in the process of choosing the best vocation. A counsellor will show you where to look and help to open your eyes to the possible choices that exist in the workplace – but you will have to look, research and evaluate those options. You can also have formal assessments of your aptitudes, which will provide some guidance in terms of what the likely options available to you may be.
Make A Plan
Creating a plan will force you to think things through and add some structure to something that can seem very up in the air and undefined. It will also offer you those critical next steps when you are feeling sluggish or lost. For example, your plan could include a timeline for conducting research, seeing counsellors and spending time writing down your interests and passions.
Once you have identified some of the careers which you think interest you, try to find people who are either experts in that field or, better still, working within it. Make contact with them and explain that you are exploring your options and ask if you can pick their brains or spend a day or two in that environment. You’ll get some fantastic insights if you make this a habit, not to mention making some great contacts along the way.
Identify Your Obstacles
What things are getting in your way? Make a list. What’s stopping you? Fear? Self-doubt? Simple inertia? Identifying and acknowledging your ‘gremlins’ is the first step to overcoming them.
Be proactive about finding your perfect career – and start right now. The fact is that you can always find some excuse not to start on the process – but once you do you’ll thank yourself. Think about what you can do to get the ball rolling. It may be as simple as conducting internet research or giving a career counsellor a ring for advice.