It Takes More than a Hunch: Tips on How to Choose the Right Career

Choosing a career is a life-changing decision, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that ties you down to a particular path for good. Deciding on what line of work to take up can become an unlikely source of stress, especially for people who do not presently know what to do with their lives.

While some people are lucky enough to have a clear vision of what they want to be in the future, some would find themselves struggling with indecision over what type of work to apply for, even after finishing up a degree in college. With hundreds of different jobs available today, it’s easy to get confused and listen to what others are saying. And when you fall into this complacency, you are more prone to choosing a path that will end up turning you into a miserable drone in the long run.

Consider the following guidelines when choosing a professional career:

Know yourself

Knowing what you are all about is crucial in deciding what career path to choose. Identify your interests and the natural skills you have, and let these influence your choice. Your personal value set also plays an important role so do not ignore them for the sake of conformity. Just because a particular job is “in” does not always mean you have to go with what the majority thinks is right. After all, you will be the one who will either gain or suffer from your choices, so strive to make an educated choice.

Know your options

There are personality assessment tests available online that can give you a basic idea of what line of work fits your needs and preferences. Most popular of these are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Self-Directed Search, and the Career Exploration Inventory. These can be found from career centers in colleges and in career-oriented websites. Trying out your options by volunteering, interning and shadowing professionals will also help you decide whether or not a particular job is what you would wish to be doing every day.

Know your limits

Knowing where you draw the line will also help you decide whether or not a particular job is for you. There are careers that require a high threshold for stress, and may not be an ideal choice for you if you prefer a more laid-back working environment.

Know your goals

Knowing the opportunities for advancement in your chosen field will help you map out your professional life and keep you motivated until you reach your goals.

Know your changing values and preferences

It is also important to keep in mind that choosing a particular career today does not mean you are stuck with it for good. When your current career no longer satisfies you, know that there are opportunities to change down the line.