A survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021 found that individuals born between 1957 and 1964 worked an average of 12.4 jobs between the ages of 18 and 54. It further showed that between the ages of 18 and 24, people tend to change jobs an average of 5.7 times. Although career paths will likely shift over our lifetimes, finding the right place to start can be difficult. Jobs rarely turn out to be precisely the way we envision them. In addition, there is only so much we can gauge about a profession without ever being in it. Finally, the expectation of happiness and passion cannot be the only guiding points. Therefore, when thinking about how to choose a career, analyzing one’s skills, values, and intrinsic motivational factors is helpful, even essential.
How to Choose a Career That Fits?
According to Harvard Business Review, two key motivational factors drive people toward specific career paths. The first kind views their professional pursuits for advancement and rewards, which become their measure of success in life. This is called a promotion focus. Such individuals are risk-takers, fast, creative, and excel at abstract thinking. They are also prone to error and overly optimistic.
The other half of the equation focus on prevention. They conflate career goals with security and stability. They are thorough, detail-oriented, and highly reliable. They are meticulous planners who excel at assessing risks and analytical reasoning. On the flip side, they can be rigid in their approach, take fewer chances, and work slowly.
Everyone has a dominant motivational factor that influences their career path. Fast-paced industries like social media and tech are good fits for the former as they require one to think outside the box and on their feet. Prevention-focused professionals are good at careers that involve resolving complexities, such as data scientists and lawyers. So, knowing your primary motivation can help you determine how to choose a career you love and can sustain.
How to Choose a Career: 4 Steps to Follow
The secret to knowing how to choose a career lies in a sound career strategy — a plan that we develop with time, information, and experience. A career strategy is also critical to managing one’s progress, visualizing career goals, and taking action towards fulfilling them. Furthermore, a career plan considerably diminishes the possibility of making rash, impulsive decisions and helps one keep an eye out for new growth opportunities.
Step 1: Self-Assessment
Choosing a career is an important decision with long-term consequences, so we must take some time to ponder our interests, skillset, motivations, and personality. In addition, having an understanding of one’s natural aptitude can go a long way in the pursuit of excellence. Furthermore, a thorough self-assessment also helps one find a good cultural fit concerning workplaces.
Step 2: Explore Job Roles and Industries
The first step naturally flows into the second, where we explore various job roles, responsibilities, industries, and workplace environments. Numerous unconventional job profiles sometimes turn out to be the best fit. Some helpful ways of going about the research would be to reach out to your network, engage in forum discussions on specific industries, and attend career fairs or talks.
Step 3: Acquire Necessary Skills
Having narrowed down your search to a few career paths, you should shift your attention to the requirements of the job role and assess the need for additional training or upskilling. Individuals often use transferable skills to ace the application process, which can be a point in your favor as it shows adaptability and flexibility.
Step 4: Find and Apply to Relevant Jobs
Knowing authentic and reliable job portals and setting appropriate filters is essential. You must also have a clear list of ‘must-haves,’ such as salary expectations, location preference, designation, and work environment. While the process of applying might be similar for many roles, here is a pro tip – always tweak your resume based on the role you are applying for. Don’t submit the same resume for all job applications if you wish to stand apart from the crowd!
Career planning and choosing a career path is a continuous and arduous process that is also immensely rewarding. In a rapidly-evolving job market, it is important to commit to lifelong learning. At Emeritus, we offer the world’s best online courses. Explore our portfolio of courses here.
By Deyasini Chatterjee
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