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5 Ways to Choose a Career Path

How to choose a career path

Are you feeling stuck when it comes to figuring out the best path for you?

I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of people to formulate career plans…whether it’s someone starting out and choosing a college or university program or a seasoned professional looking to upgrade skills or make a career change, the options can feel overwhelming.

So, if you are struggling to answer the question “What’s next?”. I can help.

Choose a career based on potential job prospects? Money? Passion?

Big decisions. Lots of options. Much confusion.

Ok, so as my title promised, here are 5 Ways to Choose a Career Path:

1. It’s never too early (or too late) to begin thinking about “What’s Next”.

Now, I don’t say this to put more pressure on you. What I mean is start learning about different careers as soon as you can. If you haven't started, don't fret. Start now.

How can you possibly know what kinds of careers interest you when you don't know what they involve? Do you know what a Podiatrist or an HVAC Technician actually does? What sorts of opportunities will there be in the future for software developers or graphic artists? Think about what you can see yourself doing in the future.

Click here for information related to different occupations and here for information regarding programs offered at various post secondary institutions in Ontario.

Remember, even if you’ve wanted to be a lawyer since you were eight, get to know what that actually involves. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I once knew someone who fainted at the sight of blood during her second semester of Lab Technician training. She couldn’t get past it and had to drop out.

Also, most young people don’t know what they want to do or be and what interests them now can change over time. Most people actually change careers multiple times over the course of a life time or work in a few different jobs before selecting a career path. My point is, rather than feeling pressure to lock in your career for life at this stage, take time to get to know yourself and the many opportunities that are available to you.

2. What Do You Love?

What classes have really made you think and left you feeling inspired? What activities keep you so interested and focused that time passes without you even noticing? Coming up with a list of 5-10 things you love can help lead you to potential options. What connections can you draw between the items on your list? Are they geared toward technology? Science? Art? Social Sciences? What if you combined several things you love from different areas? What comes up?

3. Think About Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Make a list of your five top strengths and weaknesses. If you are stuck, ask your parents, family members or friends to help you generate these. How would the world benefit from what you are good at? Making a difference in the lives of others gives us a sense of purpose and meaning which is an important aspect of career satisfaction. If you’re a good writer, for example, explore what types of careers call for that skill.

Your weaknesses can also tell you a lot about what direction you might take. You might decide to avoid careers that require skills you’re not confident about or begin working to improve in these areas so they don't limit you.

4. Dream and Imagine

There are so many different career paths and hundreds of different types of jobs and careers in a wide range of industries. Some jobs that exist now won’t be in demand for long and others are just emerging. Take time to explore many options. Talk and interview people to see what their job is really like and what they believe the future holds for their industry. Learn about Informational Interviews here. Try to arrange an opportunity to “shadow” someone at their job if you can. Examine your likes and dislikes and try to take a few career-assessments.. Answer the question, if you could do any type of job right now, what would it be — and why?

5. Work, volunteer, or otherwise gain some experience.

Grab any opportunity to participate in an internship, volunteer program or part-time employment if you are able to manage this at the same time as your studies. This experience can look good on your college application, as well as your future resume. All of this experience will expose you to different employment settings which is a great opportunity to use your communication and social skills in a formal setting. So, if you are interested in writing, think about volunteering for the school paper or line up some part-time work for the local newspaper, a blog etc.

Get curious, ask questions and explore. Take any opportunity you can to gain experience and keep learning!

Ready to make a move and want some support to make it easier and more successful? I can help!

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