How to choose your career

Figuring out how to choose a career can feel impossible – there are so many different paths you could take, how do you pick one?

Asking yourself some smaller questions is a good place to start. When you think about your answers, you should start to see some common themes emerge.

While these might not tell you exactly what job you should do, they should give you an indication of what you like, what you value and what you want to be recognised for. All of these insights will help you start to figure out how to choose a career path that’s best for you.

How to choose your career

What do your friends and colleagues always say you’re good at?

Often in our jobs or personal lives we can be chipping away at something and not realise how great we are at it, or even how much we enjoy it. Identifying these things can point us down possible new career paths.

If those around you often mention that you’re good at a particular thing, it might mean you have an untapped talent you could be focusing on.

If you could swap jobs with anyone you know, who would you choose?

Forget about qualifications and skill sets for a moment – it’s time to think outside of the box. When you’re trading work stories with your friends or family, whose job sounds the most appealing to you, and why? 

Are you drawn to one role because it sounds exciting, creative, rewarding or challenging? What is it about the role that makes you want to do it?

What do you like most about your current job?

Think about when you’re happiest at work, whether it’s completing a particular task, working with your team or independently, or an aspect of the environment you work in.

For example, you may currently work as a retail sales assistant and realise you enjoy the visual merchandising aspect of your job the most. Take time to reflect on why that is, and what other careers could use those skills.

What job have you always been curious about?

We tend to choose exciting roles such as fire-fighter or actor as our dream jobs when we’re young and later brush them off as pipe dreams. Sometimes, these jobs can stay in our minds for a reason. Is there a job you always thought looked intriguing, but never pursued? Forget practicality and focus on why it piqued your interest.

What do you want to be recognised for?

Fast-forward and imagine yourself retired and relaxing after your working life has come to a close. What would you like to be known for? Helping the less fortunate? Building a business? Contributing valuable research?

Considering what kind of mark you want to make with your work may feel like a bold move when you’re just starting out, but if it means you’ll be able to look back on your working life with a smile on your face then you’ll know it was a job well done.

Want to take the next step in choosing a career path, but not sure where to go? Learn how to discover your strengths or find out which career suits you best

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