Monday, February 17, 2020

Exploring your career options

Whether you are on your first job hunt or your fifth, there are many things to consider when exploring your career options. To increase your chances of ending up in a career that meets your needs and goals, be sure to carefully explore all of your options before making your final decision. This exercise will help guide you through the process of carefully exploring your career options, so your final decision will be more informed.

Before starting, please note that this exercise has been split into two parts: the self-questionnaire and the external search for more information. Before delving into part one, create a list of potential careers and add to it throughout the exercise each time you think of a new job you might enjoy. This will help ensure you don't accidentally forget any options, so you can take a closer look at more jobs before making your final decision.

Part One: Self-Questionnaire

There are many questions to ask yourself when considering your career options. Though the questions listed below aren't the only ones that can be asked, hopefully, they are enough to give you a better idea about which jobs will be most suited to you. Now on to the questions.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses that may affect their working life. For instance, if you are good with people, then it may be worth considering a job in the service industry. If, on the other hand, you're the type of person who works better alone, a less social profession could be more your style. Once you figure out your strengths and weaknesses, you can use this information to influence your final decision.

What are your scheduling preferences or requirements?

Do you want to work full-time or part-time? Maybe you need a job with flexible scheduling options that won't interfere with your other commitments. Knowing your scheduling needs and preferences can help you determine whether you should seek a career with fixed working hours or one with a more open schedule.

How far away from home are you willing to work?

Some jobs may take you around the world while others may take you no further than a home office. Knowing how far you'd be willing to travel for work can help you narrow down your career options. Also, consider setting a limit for the longest commute you'd be willing to make on a daily basis. Don't forget to factor in possible complications like access to a private vehicle and the availability of public transit in your area. If you're lacking a reliable mode of transportation, it may be necessary to focus on jobs in your immediate vicinity.

Is money your only objective, or do you also want to make an impact on the world?

Certain jobs aren't likely to make a major impact on the world. If you just need the money and don't care about making a major impact, then it won't really matter which type of job you end up choosing. If, on the other hand, you are looking to make a difference in the world, you will likely need to be pickier about the type of career you'll enter into.

If you have prior work experience, what did you like or dislike about your previous job(s)?

While not everyone will have prior work experiences to draw upon, if you do, it can be helpful to figure out which parts of the job you enjoyed or disliked. By determining which parts of your previous jobs were and weren't so enjoyable, you can factor such preferences into your final decision. For example, if you really didn't like the long commute to and from your previous job, then you should probably look for something a little closer to home this time around.

Part Two: External Search for More Information

Hopefully, after taking some serious time to reflect on the previous questions, you have a better idea about the types of careers that will suit you best. Now it's time to look outside yourself to continue your search. For more information and possibly a little inspiration, continue exploring your career options via the following avenues.

Search Engines

Grab your list of potential careers and search for each listed job using an online search engine. When researching a potential career, you will gain more insight into the realities of the job, which will help you determine whether the job in question may be right for you. Searching the various careers can also help you figure out which jobs are in high demand, plus it should give you an idea about each job's estimated starting salary.

Online Career Assessment Web sites

Various Web sites offer online career assessments. Most will present a series of multiple-choice questions and ask you to select the answers that best represent your current situation, personality, and interests. The site will then show you a list of suitable careers based on your previously submitted answers. While there is no guarantee that the assessment site will suggest your perfect career, at the very least, it may point you in a good direction for continuing your search.

Family, Friends, and Acquaintances

You can learn about a variety of careers by simply asking people about their job. If something happens to pique your interest during one of these conversations, inquire further with the person about what they had to do to enter their field of business. As a bonus, if you do find your perfect career through someone you know, they may be able to put in a good word for you if you ever apply for a job within their company. What a great networking opportunity!

While careful preparation can help direct you toward an excellent career, there's sadly no definitive way to ensure your new career will be as perfect as you dream. That's why there's no shame in changing careers if you start a new job only to realize that it isn't for you. Do keep in mind that all careers have a learning curve, meaning it may take some time before you become fully accustomed to your new job and industry. If, after you've given the job a fair shake, you still believe that you've fallen into the wrong career, then there's nothing wrong with regrouping and re-examining your career options.

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