- What do I love to do?
The first step in choosing your future career is some self-awareness and introspection. Consider what you are passionate about and what you are motivated to learn more about. We usually excel at things we are most interested in and we enjoy learning how to do these activities even better.
So ask yourself some of these questions:
-What are some of my favorite memories / activities or classes and what did I most enjoy about these times?
-What is my optimal environment?
-What activities / environments do I NOT do well in and do I want to avoid?
-What skills am I really good at?
-What do I feel motivated to learn to do well?
-What gives me a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction or purpose?
If you have trouble thinking of activities or interests you are truly passionate about try volunteering for some new activities or learning about something you’ve never tried before. Sometimes we have to explore the world a little to learn more about ourselves and discover what ignites our passion and purpose.
- What are my career options?
The next step after considering your personal interests, is to research career options would be the best fit for your unique personality. Personality and career assessments can be helpful when considering what careers match well with your personality type. If you have a long list of career possibilities spend some time researching each option to determine what might work best for you. A great way to research career options is to interview someone who works in a field you’re interested in.
Consider these questions in your research:
-What is a typical day like in this career?
-What type of educational background is necessary in this career field?
-What opportunities are available in this career field?
-What skills are needed to do this job well?
-What about this career matches my optimal work environment and personality?
- What can I make money doing?
While salaries shouldn’t be the first thing you consider in selecting your career path, they are important when making career planning decisions. Our ultimate goal should be to find a job we both love and can make a living in. Sometimes we could end up with a few possible career options after our research and the salary and job market for a particular option can be a determining factor in our final choice.
Some questions to consider include:
-What’s the job market like in this field?
-Is this career field expected to grow or decline over the next 10 years?
-What a realistic starting and experienced salary?
-Could this salary range meet my financial needs and lifestyle goals?
Career planning is a process that takes time and preparation to do well. Most students arrive at college with very little consideration for their future goals. Others come with some ideas and then end up changing majors 4-6 times during the process-which greatly increases both their time and money spent at college. It is usually a good idea to choose a major and career before you choose a college as some colleges as you want to pick a college that offers the major you’re most interested in and has a well-developed program in the area of study you’ve selected.
Remember that choosing a major is not a permanent commitment to a single career for the rest of your life, as most people do change careers a few times during their life. However putting some serious thought into how you start your career path can make your transition into adulthood a much smoother and more enjoyable process. If you need extra help in your career planning journey, consider working with a Career Coach to walk you through the steps in successful college and career planning.