Choosing a career can be challenging. For some, there are so many things they like to do, it's difficult to narrow the choices, one should start early in his/her college career planning for the life after college. Networking, completing an internship, conducting information interviews, being involved in activities on-campus or in the community, gaining work experience, etc. will all be helpful in choosing a career path.
In choosing a career, you are actually choosing your lifestyle, so it is important that you give serious thought to your career choice. Over a lifetime, many will find they will change careers multiple times. Changes are necessary because of changes in technology, jobs becoming obsolete, boredom, desiring a new challenge, relocation, moving up the corporate ladder, etc. So in today's world you most likely will see several career changes throughout your lifetime. As a person you will evolve and perhaps discover some new interests and/or abilities. The decision will be yours, but there's no reason you cannot make career changes as you see fit.
Starting the Process of Selecting a Career
1. What are your interests? What do you love to do? What activities interest you? What do you do during your free time?
Since most people will only sleep more hours than they work, your career choice is a significant decision you will make. It will clearly impact your lifestyle. That's why it's important that you pursue something you love to do?
2. What are your values? What do you place value on? What values do you hope to find in the career you select?
Examples of values:
Making a difference
Thinking outside the box
Working as a team member
Pride in work
Time for family
Feeling appreciate for the work you do
Flexibility in the job
Many facets to the job vs. routine work day after day
3. What skills and abilities do you possess?
Everyone possess many skills and abilities. Some will be at an advanced level while others may not yet be fully developed. We are all a work in progress and can make decisions about which skills and abilities we want to strengthen. Be honest is your personal assessment of what you do well. Sometimes an employer, a professor, family member and/or friend can help you identify what you do well.
Examples of skills and abilities that may be attractive to employers include:
Pay attention to detail
Good with Numbers
Oral and written communication skills
Speak a foreign language
Able to see projects through to completion
Good interpersonal skills
Work well under pressure
4. Geographical Preference
It's important to think honestly about where you are willing to start your career after completing your college degree. It is realistic that you will change careers several times during a lifetime. For many companies and agencies, it is also realistic to expect to relocate if you want to move up within the organization.
Also realistically not all types of careers are available in all locations. For examples, you most likely would find a marine biologist near the water! You know that there are schools in every country in the world, but where are the openings? You need to do your research in areas of interest to you and get projections on the types of teachers that are in demand, the number of teachers expected to be retiring, budget cuts, etc. These are all variables to consider, but keep in mind that one major event can throw all projections out the window. The point is that you should become as knowledgeable as possible about where you can honestly find a job in your field of interest.
5. Lifestyle Preference
Do you want a five bedroom home with a three car garage with a speed boat and a Mercedes or do you prefer to live in a two bedroom apartment or your parents' basement? Once again, you should research your intended field of study and what you can expect to earn in that field. What is the entry level pay for a new college graduate in your field? What does an accountant get paid in Charleston, WV versus New York City? What income will you need to have to live in New York City comfortably?
After doing your research and preparing yourself by your life choices, you still need to be flexible. Variables beyond your control will daily impact the job market. Recent examples include: 9/11, the economic downturn, downsizing of organizations, the aging of our population, the retirements of baby boomers, etc.
If you are unsure what you want to major in, you can take these online tests to gain better understanding.
Career Assessment Websites:
http://tools.monster.com This is an excellent resource and wide variety of assessments
http://www.exbridges.com A free trial