How to Determine the Right Career for You

While most individuals are told that they have to determine a career either right out of high school or during college, it often is not that simple.

Maybe you think that you know your career path until you start training for it, and then realize that you do not find it enjoyable. Perhaps you want to pursue a particular career, but because of work or finances, you cannot do so. Regardless of the reason, determining the right career comes more natural for some people, while for others it comes less naturally. If it is taking you longer than you would like to determine a career that is right for you, you may want to conduct a self-assessment. By taking an intimate look at your personality, skill set, and workplace requirements, you may be able to determine the best job for you. It just requires that you ask yourself the right questions and how you apply that information to your job search.

Start with a Self-Assessment

It may be hard for many people to do, but a self-assessment is one of the best first steps for a person to determine the right career path. To begin, you are going to need to ask yourself specific questions, such as what you did not love about your last job, or why you did not fit in with the company or organization. But, you also get to ask yourself questions that you may have never asked before, like what jobs do your friends have that you have always found fascinating, and what topics you enjoy reading. If you are first entering into the job market, you should ask yourself what you envision yourself doing or what you think will give you the best quality of life.

Determine Your Best Skills

To determine the right career for you, you first need to figure out what you are good at doing. Take the time to think about your natural talents, or the skills that come naturally to you, and what kind of career will allow you to use them. Natural talents are easy to spot since you often get praise or reward for using them, even if you find them unremarkable. People who use their natural talents in the workplace enjoy their work more, and they are happier overall with their careers. However, natural skills are not only abilities that you master at work. Usually, natural skills are acquired outside of the workplace, so it is essential to take a look at the things you do well outside of work. To determine the right career path for you, decide what you enjoy doing and how your natural skills can apply to your dream job.

Create a Wish List of Your Ideal Job

Get a piece of paper and write down the details of the kind of job will make you happy. Do you want to work for a company with 10 or 100 employees, or would you instead work remotely from your home? After you have thought about what your dream company looks like, think about the values you want your next job to honor, and if there are specific services or products that matter the most to you. Jot down at least ten criteria for your dream job, then start to look for a job that matches at least six. That way, when you begin job hunting, you are only applying for jobs at organization’s that align with your values.

Describe Your Ideal Work Environment

Depending on your personality traits, your ideal work environment will vary. Before you find your dream job, it is essential to determine your work style, since it can conflict with the position that you choose. Do you enjoy a job environment where you are micro-managed and given strict guidelines and deadlines or do you enjoy a more flexible work environment that allows you to complete projects at your own pace? Even if you do not realize it, you have a work style that you gravitate more to that will enable you to perform your job at your very best. Before you pick a career, determine which work style best suits you, that way you can steer your aim at companies and organizations that match that align with your preferences.

Determine Your Ideal Work Location

Ask yourself what kind of work location you prefer, such as a corporate office, a local office or a home office. If you have a young family at home and have many child-care responsibilities, you may not want to choose a career that requires a lot of travel. Or, if you enjoy traveling for work, ask yourself what conditions must be met before you choose a traveling job. If you need to be rooted in your home city, you should not apply for jobs that require you to visit clients in different cities frequently. If you determine your preferred work location, you can weed out jobs that do not match your lifestyle, so that you are not given any surprises when you start the job.

How much are you willing to commute?

If you decide that you want to pursue a job in an office setting, it is essential that you determine the proximity you are willing to work. If you found a job that you love but then find out that you will be commuting three hours a day, would it be worth it? To prevent any rush hour surprises, determine ahead of time how far you are willing to commute. If you are a homebody, spending your evening at home may sound ideal as opposed to killing time at happy hour while you wait for the traffic to die down.

Decide How Much Work Commitment You Want

If you prefer a 9 to 5 job, do not apply for any jobs that will require you to work nights or weekends, or that will continuously expect you to work overtime. If you are a person who values an equal work and life balance, you will want to look for a job that will not place a significant demand on you. By narrowing down the type of work and dedication you are willing to put in, you can save yourself from choosing a job that is not compatible with your lifestyle.

Ask Yourself If You Work Well Under Pressure

If you can handle the demands of a stressful job and a demanding boss, you should look for a career that you will find satisfying when you meet tight deadlines. Some people might thrive under the pressure of completing essential projects, and others many tense-up under pressure. If you think that you cannot handle a high-stress career, look for jobs that are more laid-back or that need people to work behind the scenes. Before you determine the career that is right for you, you need to assess your stress threshold and avoid any jobs that go over how much stress you are willing to take.

Determine How Much You Are Worth

If you did not have bills to pay, rent or mortgage payments, or childcare expenses, how much money you are willing to earn from a job would not be such a significant factor. But since most people pay their way, it is essential that you find a career that meets all of your expectations, including your financial expectations. Sit down and determine how much money you would need to make to keep up your lifestyle. Better yet, determine a salary that not only pays more, but that also offers bonuses or commission. By learning how much money you would have to make to cover your necessary household expenses, you are ruling out any jobs that would put you in financial stress. That way, you know that all the jobs you are applying for would earn you enough money each month to keep you and your family afloat.

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