There are few times in your life when you are called upon to make a decision as monumental and consequential as: “what do you want to do for work?” After all, work is where you spend the lion’s share of your adult life; it’s where you make friends, learn new skills and garner a sense of selfhood.
So, justifiably, a lot of young people (and older people, for that matter) are paralyzed by doubt when it comes time to choose. And many people end up choosing multiple careers in their lifetime. Choosing the right career boils down to understanding your own personal proclivities and talents, and where they fit within the broader context of the work world.
This article will aim to provide a short checklist you can use to narrow down – and pursue – your perfect career path. But first, and overarching tip: Whatever you do, don’t let outside influences sway your decision too much, and certainly don’t let yourself be limited by where you are and how you grew up. With that in mind, let’s take a look.
Assess Your Personality
Without assigning value judgments, be honest with yourself about your personality. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you outgoing, or a little more introverted?
- Do you prefer working with your hands, or do you get the most satisfaction out of brainwork?
- Do you like finishing tasks alone, or are you more comfortable being part of a team?
- Do you fancy yourself a leader, or are you fine with someone else taking the wheel?
No answer is better or worse than the other, but it’s important for you to be upfront with yourself.
Determine Your Strengths and Skills
Those were your personalities; now it’s time to get real about your skills. What are you great at? And, perhaps more importantly, what do you think you would be great at, given the right education and mentorship? It is not always imperative to lean into your skillset for a career – many people have had long, successful careers learning new talents – but nevertheless, you should be aware of your capacities, and take stock of your willingness to learn new skills.
Create a List
You’ve written down your personality type and skillsets, and now it’s time to brainstorm. Are you, for example, an outgoing, team-oriented person with fantastic writing skills, and do you want to work in the entertainment industry – may be “screenwriter” is the right job for you. Are you an introverted person who likes to take charge and who is savvy with math – accounting might be right for you.
Look Into Mentorship
Finally, with a list made, look at different industries for mentorship. If you choose the entertainment industry, the link above is actually a fantastic place to start looking for mentorship. If you choose accounting, check out this article on looking for a mentor. Most industries and specific career streams have a mentorship infrastructure in place, but it’s up to you to seek it out and make things happen.
You might not figure it out in a day (heck, you might not even figure it out in a decade), but by asking yourself the right questions, brainstorming your options and being proactive about learning your chosen career path, you should be set up for success.