In case you are aren’t happy with your career trajectory or unemployed and applying haphazardly to every vacancy, there is an excellent chance that you will end up doing a job that you don’t even like. The process of selecting the best career path could be clearer as well as tiring.
Selecting the right career path should be the top priority in your job search. It would help if you built up your CV on some solid foundation. Employees who feel unmotivated and dissatisfied with their job usually commit to the wrong career path and struggle extra to bring their professions back on track.
Why do people select the wrong careers?
Careers are a significant part of our lives; sometimes, we spend most of our time doing jobs that we don’t even like and feel dissatisfied due to selecting the wrong careers for ourselves. If you are going through the same situation, you must be wondering why your job feels hectic and why you didn’t realize that you hated it, and now it’s too late, and you can do nothing about it. Here are some reasons that might lead to selecting the wrong career path.
Trying to be someone you are not.
People often choose the wrong careers because they feel inspired by others, like social media celebrities and influencers, and want to be just like them without understanding their true selves. This trend is mainly observed in teens who blindly follow them without considering their capabilities and aptitude.
The sole purpose is to earn a good salary.
Doing something that makes good money often leads to dissatisfaction because you don’t care for the work, and you don’t have a purpose for doing that job other than a good salary. 90% of people prefer money over other things and are bound to fail when you don’t establish your value in the area of your interest. In this modern era, the most remarkable thing is your skill and talent. All you need to do is chase your dreams and strive for excellence; money will automatically follow.
Social pressure in choosing career paths
Another big reason people choose the wrong career paths is that everyone around them is doing the same thing. Mostly parents, family, friends, and other social circles decide the career path on your behalf. It is not necessary that if one person is a successful engineer, doctor, or financial executive, the other who follows the lead will be successful. Social pressure often directs you to select the wrong career path.
Lack of guidance in career planning
It is crucial to have a great mentor or career coach earlier in your life who can guide you to the right career path by judging your potential and aptitude. In today’s modern world, you can change your career path anytime by acquiring new skills rather than going back to college to get a new degree.
Ways to choose the right career path
Deciding on a career path can be overwhelming as our lives depend on which career we choose. Most people can’t even make small decisions about life, like what they do on the weekend, let alone decide a career path for themselves. Here are some of the ways and steps that can help you make the right choice.
Access yourself and self reflection
The first step in choosing the right career path is to access yourself. Ask yourself questions like what you want to do in life. What excites you the most? Would you be happy doing something long-term and won’t feel dissatisfied? Please look at your values, soft skills, and aptitude as they combine to make your personality. These personality traits make you fit some occupations while entirely inappropriate for others.
You can access yourself by taking personality tests or career tests to see which profession or career ideas suits your personality. You can list jobs you might be interested in based on these tests. You can take help from a mentor or career counselor to make the task easy.
Determine your long-term goals and lifestyle
Access your long-term goals, lifestyle, and finances before selecting a career path. You can better understand what steps are needed to reach your goals. e.g., do you want to be in a managerial position or be part of the c-suite of an organization? Are you willing to work remotely? Can you manage daily commutes and operate tours, and how often?You can approach a career journey more specifically by asking these questions and listing all possible answers. Whether you want to work in the same industry for the next ten years and which company can offer you growth opportunities. It is better to look out for the sectors that have the chance of automation in the next decade to avoid the risk of getting laid off.
List down the careers and job descriptions you want to explore
The next step in selecting a career path is to explore different careers. You can do so by researching the job market and narrowing down your options. Search for the key trends and look for the local, national and global markets by keeping in mind your ideal sector. You can explore potential career paths in the three industries i-e private, public and Not-for-profit.
In case you opt for the private sector, you will be hired by a privately owned company whose primary purpose is growth and earning profits. You can benefit from this sector by having many growth opportunities in the future.
The main focus of the public sector is to keep the public institutions running, and you will be employed through a local, state, or government organization. The main benefit of working with this sector is stability and assurance of the future.
These organizations neither work for the public nor private sector but rather for addressing and fulfilling the need of people. The benefit of working with the Non-profit industry is a great sense of achievement and satisfaction by working solely to serve humanity.
One of the best ways to explore different careers is to gain experience by working as an internee and volunteering for other companies that match your interests. It will give you an insight into the area of your interest and help you select the right career path.
Review your education, experience, skills, and interests
Once you do the preliminary research about different career options, you need to assess your education, experience, and relevant skills to see if they match your interests. If you need the skills or education required to acquire a specific job, enroll in skill development courses and apply for the job you want.
It is best to apply for a job based on your current qualifications and certification while you acquire new skills. You can ask your colleagues to give honest feedback on your technical, interpersonal, and other communication skills. Evaluating in this manner will help you find a career that matches your experience and skill set.
Take self-assessment tests
You can evaluate yourself by taking specific self-assessment and career aptitude tests such as MBTI. They give you a vague idea of where your abilities will be utilized better. But rely only a little on these tests because no one knows you better than yourself, and only you can judge your interests.
You can you the self-assessment tests for continuous learning about yourself and your motivations. These tests can help you get an idea about different career choices, and if they match with the other criteria you set, then go for it; otherwise, you should follow them sparingly. These tests might match you with an artist, but in reality, it is a possibility that you can’t even draw a simple landscape or draw straight lines.
Search for job responsibilities in the field
Some jobs might feel good in theory and even spark your interest, but you might need help to handle the day-to-day operations of the job. for example, you are passionate about animals and think you can be a veterinary doctor. Still, you are afraid of dealing with needles and blood daily. So a better choice would be to be a pet groomer or a dog walker. Knowing precisely what you are getting into and setting your career goals accordingly is essential.
Many of you might be hesitant to make a network of people around you that can help you in difficult times. The idea of networking seems apprehensive but making meaningful connections with people enables you to choose the right career path for yourself. You can use social media to connect with people matching your interests and put a little effort into creating professional relationships. These connections turn out to be the mentors who can guide you to different career paths.
By networking, you can engage in conversation about the industry and get helpful insight into the pros and cons of different careers. You are known by the company you keep, and your network is your net worth. You can get good jobs and career options via referrals even if your connection doesn’t share the same interest as you, and he might know someone from the same industry you are passionate about.
Conduct informational interviews
You can conduct informational interviews when you have only a few career choices. You can arrange a face-to-face meeting with the people in your network or with people with the same profession you are interested in and ask them about their experience working in a particular position or company. This in-depth analysis will help you learn firsthand about the risks and problems associated with a specific career.
Availability and competition
While researching for career paths, you can look into the data provided by LinkedIn on the jobs that are most in demand. E.g., for a variety of IT roles and salespeople are more in the market these days. The latest statistics from 2021 showed an increasing number of job listings in the hospitality sector, food specialists, and other kitchen staff. COVID-19 restrictions forced many managers to lay off many jobs in the hospitality sector, and afterward, it again showed a surge when the conditions were feasible.
Similarly, when a certain job is in demand, it increases the competition and lowers your chances of being selected. You must consider your options and search for high-demand jobs early to bag better working conditions, work-life balance, higher salaries, and paid leaves.
Choose a career based on your assessment.
The last step is selecting the career based on your evaluation of yourself, goals, salary considerations, lifestyle, experience, education, skills, and above all, your passion. Remove the careers that don’t offer all your requirements, and select the one that matches your professional expectations.
Importance of research in choosing the right career when planning your career path
You must know by now the importance of research in choosing the right career path. It helps in attaining job satisfaction, rewards, and an income you can depend on. Your dream job doesn’t fall into your lap, and you have to measure all the pros and cons; otherwise, it could be your worst nightmare. Picking a career is not a decision you make overnight. It would help if you calculated aspects such as your lifestyle, personality traits, skills, and talents. So choosing a career path early in life gives you the jump start you need. Moreover, it provides job satisfaction, job security, salary, earning potential, and freedom to retire one day.
The right career path unfolds itself over time. Some people get it right the first time, and some might search their whole lives looking for their passion. Selecting a major is the first step, but you must keep in mind that you can change your career anytime you want, and there is no need to get stuck with something you are not passionate about.