Choosing your career can feel like the most important decision you will ever make. Whether you are fresh out of university or have been in the same industry for some time and are no longer sure if it is the right career for you, we all have to grapple with career decisions at some stage in our lives.
To help them decide, some people take a year of introspection and travel, others complete online tests in the hope that an algorithm will tell them what career they should do. The truth is, neither of these has empirical evidence to suggest they will help you choose your career path.
This is how to determine what career would suit you best, and once you know, be sure to use LiveCareer’s amazing resume builder to craft the perfect resume for your new career.
What are You Good at?
Excelling in your job is far more important than most people think. The numbers indicate that the top 10% of workers in any given career can complete up to 50% of the total work undertaken in that career, while the bottom 50% of workers between them account for 15% of the total work.
This means, the better you are at your career, the higher your output and the bigger impact you will have in your industry. Aside from the impact, being good at your job and mastering a difficult skill adds to your sense of pride and wellbeing.
What are the Day-to-Day Tasks of that Career?
The engineering graduate finishes their degree and leaves university. They take a job in a civil engineering company because their dream is to build skyscrapers, luxury residential properties, and high-end office buildings.
The idea sounds fast-paced, glitzy work in a challenging environment. The reality is slow-paced, detail-oriented office work with the bulk of each day sitting behind a desk staring at a computer screen, nowhere near the skyscraper the graduate wanted to build.
The day-to-day tasks of each career should be something you consider when you are choosing your career. Often the end product implies a certain process which doesn’t actually exist in that career.
Approach it Logically
There is a logical approach to evaluating your career options. First, you need to create a list of the potential career avenues and paths you can take. This should be as wide as possible, including potential roles, as well as generally potential industries and problems you want to be a part of tackling.
Then, begin the process of limiting the list down. Leave only the options that fit your skills, would contribute to your idea of job satisfaction, and any other factors that may be important in the decision-making process (including salary and practicality).
Next, carry out thorough research on each career. The idea should be to learn as much as possible about the day-to-day reality of working in that career, the work requirements and paths of entry, including the competition and accessibility of the career. It is also worth considering at this stage whether or not automation could affect this career. Will it still be around in the future? This may lead to several more career paths being crossed off the list.
Finally, ask the question if any of the career paths are reversible or allow you to explore. For example, consulting provides a very general overview of business and allows you to explore a number of different industries, which you could then enter at a later point. These careers should receive preferential treatment at the end if you are still undecided.
Now you should have a shortlist of several careers which fit your goals, skills, and job satisfaction requirements. These are where you should focus your energies.