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How to Choose a Career: 6 Essential Tips from a Career Coach

This article will cover six simple and essential tips to help you plan your career journey and explain why taking a career test is the best place to start.
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Regardless of where you stand in your professional journey, making an informed decision is crucial before embarking on a new career path. Take a moment to consider these six expert tips, which, when combined with careful consideration and thorough preparation, can significantly aid you in selecting the career that best suits you. This approach is key to ensuring a decision that results in long-term satisfaction.

Choosing a career has much in common with ordering from a restaurant menu. You may enjoy numerous options, but which fulfills your needs and gives you lasting satisfaction? It’s also important to reflect on why you’re looking for a new career.

Maybe you’re a new graduate searching for your first professional role or looking to transfer your current skill set to a different industry. Or perhaps you’re hoping to discover an entirely new career path altogether. Understanding your motivations for a career change is crucial as it forms the foundation of your decision-making process.

Whatever your motivations, choosing a career is a huge decision that should not be taken without careful thought and preparation. This article will cover six simple and essential tips to help you plan your career journey and explain why taking a career test is the best place to start.

6 Expert Tips to Choose a Career

Before deciding on a career path, it’s crucial to think about your goals, skills, preferences, and other personal and professional factors. Here are six tips to help you define your ideal career trajectory:

1. Assess Your Interests and Skills

When considering a career path, it's important to consider how your personality, soft skills, and technical skills match the prospective vocation. After all, your career is something you'll be doing every day!

By assessing these characteristics before choosing a career, you’ll better understand the environment and type of work you need to be successful in your new role. For example, if you prefer quiet work primarily undertaken independently, maybe pass on the sales representative opportunity and explore financial analyst roles. Alternatively, if you’re a “people person,” seek a career with opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and interact with clients.

Understanding your interests and skills will help boost your performance in your new career and improve your chances of landing a job you’re satisfied with. Considering your personality and interpersonal skills is also important, as work relationships significantly determine your overall work experience, including job performance and satisfaction.

If you lack interest and passion for your work, odds are you’re less likely to engage with colleagues and build supportive work relationships. You will not feel the same drive to succeed as you would in a role that better matches your interests and skills.

Take a career test today to get your personalized career path insights!

2. Consider Future Job Market Trends

Think strategically about career paths by considering job market trends. Even while browsing for opportunities in the current job market, you need to think about the future. Will opportunities in your chosen industry still exist in five years? Will your career path gain popularity and be flooded with more competition? By considering future trends, you’re setting yourself up to be competitive in today’s job market.

For example, if you’re considering pursuing journalism, acting, or becoming a small business owner, remember that these careers are hard to break into yet, with limited opportunities and significant competition. On the other hand, careers in medicine or teaching will always be available. In recent years, the demand for these roles has drastically risen.

A great way to research industries and careers is to talk to current professionals in the career you’re considering. Reach out to your network to set up informational interviews to gain an insider’s perspective on where their industry is heading and what that means for the future job market.

3. Evaluate Work-Life Balance Preferences

Let’s not sugarcoat it—some careers are more demanding than others. When considering your career trajectory, decide what kind of work-life balance is best for you. Individuals with families or those with numerous side projects and hobbies may benefit by looking for jobs with less demanding or time-sensitive deadlines and expectations.

However, younger people who want to focus primarily on their careers or enjoy the challenge of succeeding at a demanding job may thrive in roles that occupy more of their time. Ultimately, your ideal work-life balance is a matter of personal preference and how you hope to structure your time.

4. Think About Your Financial Goals

Though personal fulfillment is a hugely important part of your career choice, financial compensation is also a significant factor in why we work. And that’s okay! It’s essential to consider your financial goals when choosing a career. If you want to buy a house or cover higher education costs, seeking out and negotiating highly-paying roles may help you better meet these goals.

However, many high-paying roles require specialized skills, training, and significant experience. If you don’t have these skills, getting the proper education or training may require substantial upfront costs before you can start reaping the monetary benefits of your new job.

5. Consider Education and Training Requirements

As previously discussed, having the relevant education and training is essential for most careers. Take the time to research your industry to learn about the training and educational requirements you’ll need to get a job in the field. Some industries or companies that are eager to attract new employees may offer scholarships, internships, on-the-job training, or apprenticeship programs.

Considering the time commitment and financial cost of education and training is important. Talking to current professionals in the field can be crucial in figuring out the essential requirements for landing a job in your desired field and the best way to earn those certifications.

6. Seek Professional Guidance and Mentoring

Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced professional looking for advancement or a different vocational path, starting over in a new career can be daunting, leaving many job seekers feeling overwhelmed.

Seeking support from a professional career coach can be an invaluable tool in helping you strategically locate the career that’s right for you. The role of a career coach is multifaceted and will depend on your specific situation. Still, they intend to provide you with the resources, encouragement, and expertise to reflect on potential career paths and ultimately make your desired career a reality.

Why a Career Test Is Your Best Next Step

Working with a career coach is a great way to explore possible career trajectories, develop job-seeking strategies, address knowledge gaps, set short-term and long-term goals, and stay motivated and accountable.

However, whether you decide to work with a career coach or explore the job market on your own, it’s a good idea to spend some time reflecting on your skills, interests, values, goals, and personality and how those attributes align with opportunities that match your target financial compensation and desired job characteristics.

That’s where a career test comes in. Rather than plunging headfirst into the job market, a career test can streamline the decision-making process and ensure that you understand what you want from your career. Career tests like the one offered by JobTest.org are an excellent way of accessing personalized insights and individual recommendations in one centralized place.

Conclusion

Reflecting on your skills and interests, paired with research and professional guidance, can massively impact your career decision-making process. Doing this work before leaping into a new career can pay huge dividends in the long run by increasing the likelihood that you’ll be satisfied with your job.

No matter where you are in your career, it’s always good to pause and assess whether you’re satisfied with your current path. Taking a career test is a quick and easy way to check in with yourself. In just 20 minutes, you’ll gain new clarity about your career preferences and discover valuable real-world suggestions to help you build a career you’ll love.

Get started on your career path by taking our personalized career test today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing a career isn’t a simple process, so having questions along the way makes sense! Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions to help you get started.

How do I decide what career I want?

Begin by taking a personalized career test. This is the best way to gather reliable data on your personality, work preferences, and interests. Then, you can use that information to help guide your research and decision-making process. Additionally, you can work with a career coach or professional mentor to help you identify your ideal career path.

How do I find the best career for me?

Reflect on your interests, personality, skills, and long-term goals. A career test is a great place to start if this feels too overwhelming. These personalized tests collect insights based on your answers that can be used to guide you toward the best career for you.

What are the most important steps for choosing your career?

The critical steps for choosing your career include assessing your personality and skills, considering future job market trends, evaluating your financial goals, and working with a professional career coach or mentor. Of course, you may take other steps, as well. No two career journeys are the same.

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