Choose a Career With These 5 Steps
When we are young, people ask: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As we go through high school, people ask: “What do you want to take in College or University.” Now, ask yourself: “What do you want your life to look like?” When contemplating a career change, we often revisit these questions. Generally speaking, there are many reasons why you may choose a career. Maybe you are following in your family’s footsteps, or perhaps you took advantage of the programs at your local college. Regardless, there are a few steps you should take when considering different careers.
American Educator and Author, Stephen Covey, says to “begin with the end in mind.” First, you must decide what type of life you want, both in and outside of work. Do some research. Find someone, or better yet, several people, and learn what they did to achieve that lifestyle. Then, copy the steps they took. Most people follow the standard steps: Go to school, get a job, and then figure out what they can afford. But, why should you let your pay define your lifestyle? Why not do it the other way around?
How To Choose a Career
Step 1: Define
First, you must define the lifestyle you want. Before you choose a career, you must determine and prioritize your values; What is most important to you? What do you value the least? How do you define “success”? And lastly, how will you know when you have achieved personal success? Only you can decide the answers to these questions. And, your values may change as you move through different stages of your life. There are no wrong answers, as everyone desires different things. That being said, it is never too late to choose a career that better suits your needs.
Step 2: Learn
Do you want the kind of life your parents have? What career do you admire? What do you find appealing about that work environment? If you know people in your chosen career field, talk to them! Ask them how they got to where they are. Speak to as many people as possible. There is no such thing as a perfect job, so ensure you understand what each position entails.
Do not limit yourself as you go through the process to choose a career. Stay positive and strive to be the best you can be. With hard-work and determination, a lot is possible.
Now, it’s time to look at other considerations such as requirements for the job. If you are in school currently, see if your Guidance Department can help with any assessments or tests. Also, defining your dream career is great but only if there are opportunities in that field. Find labour market statistics for the geographic area(s) in which you would consider living. Chambers of Commerce or the Economic Development Department of cities /regions can be great sources of information. Alternatively, you can check out schools and local employment resource centers. Lastly, you can Google “labour market information for _______” and insert the city, town or region where you would like to work.
Step 3: Refine
After completing step 2, can you remove any choices from your list? Or, did you become aware of any new careers?
Now, picture yourself in each career on your list. Even better, find someone to job shadow. This will give you a realistic idea of a typical day at work. During the shift, you will be able to observe and maybe ask questions. Lastly, you can ask your family and friends for opinions on what they think would be a good fit for you. People close to us can often share helpful insights.
Do you still have more than one career in mind? That’s okay! List all the necessary skills or training needed for the job. Are you qualified at this time? Are you willing to commit the time to complete extra training? If schooling is required, do you have the resources and support needed? Ultimately, you may have to make short-term sacrifices or take smaller steps to reach a larger goal. In the long run, it will pay off.
Step 4: Ask For Help
A Career Coach would be a valuable resource for anyone trying to plan their career. Local Employment Resource Centres could also assist in helping you find possible funding for skills training. For Ontarians, check out Employment Ontario.
Find someone established in your chosen field. If possible, seek out someone with a lifestyle similar to the one you desire. This should be someone you can trust. Do you know someone who would be interested in mentoring you? A mentor is someone with whom you will ideally develop a long and rewarding relationship. This role model will supplement and reinforce your formal education and training. They will also be there to advise you throughout your career. As some may say, “why walk through a minefield blindly when you could walk in the footsteps of someone who has already safely made it to the other side?”
Mentors will assist you in setting short-term and long-term goals. The ideal situation is to learn as much as possible through observation, and hopefully hands-on experience. When setting goals, you want them to be specific and have a timeline. There is lots of information online about setting SMART goals that you may find helpful. Being able to set realistic goals will prove to be a powerful asset in your pocket.
Step 5: Get Out There!
You made it through all the research. Now, it is time to go out into the world and try out your chosen career path. As we mentioned, it is vital to have concrete goals. This will help guide you. However, you should keep your plans flexible. As with life, things can happen along the way.
In this blog, we have given you 5 steps to help you successfully choose a career. Furthermore, we provide services such as resume creation to get you started. Check out all our services today!
In conclusion, we hope that you define your lifestyle, and go from there. By having a broader goal, you significantly increase your chance of success. And, remember, always ask yourself this question first — What do you want your life to look like? Once you know the answer, you’re ready to choose a career.