Building your life around meaningful things is one of the secrets to a thriving, productive life. Your career is one such meaningful thing and how thoroughly you consider your career options before making a choice indicates the level of your commitment to living a full, exciting, and purpose-driven life.
In simple terms, a career path is the totality of the roles and positions that make up your career. The idea of a ‘path’ is derived from how you need to start from somewhere and work your way up. So, identifying and embracing your career path is equivalent to obtaining a map to show you most of what you need to know before setting out.
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Identifying a suitable career path for yourself will help you know what to expect in advance. It will also enable you to equip yourself with everything necessary to excel and meet your goals. Additionally, it will allow you to develop rational and attainable plans for the next 5 or 10 years of your life.
Knowing these benefits of identifying your career path, this article highlights 10 things you should do to select the most appropriate career path for yourself.
Know and Evaluate Yourself
Before you go around scouring the internet for transformative career coaching, you need to first know and evaluate yourself. Knowing yourself means deliberately recognizing all the most important things about you. Evaluating yourself means sifting the things you found to categorize them into positive and negative.
Even though these processes of self-examination look basic, they help you set down the building blocks for understanding yourself, what you want, what you can bring to any industry or sector, and so on.
To simplify the self-examination process, you can ask yourself questions that have to do with your interests, values, and traits. Interest-based questions are simply questions about your interests. What are the things that you enjoy doing?
Value-based questions are more profound than interest-based. What do you perceive as the most important thing(s) in life? How would you define a meaningful life? To what extent are you willing to go to realize your dreams?
Trait-based questions are the most direct and tend to touch on the need for change. What skills do you have and are proud of? How useful are these skills to you and to anybody else?
Asking yourself these questions opens you up to the things that matter to you. This way, whatever career path you end up choosing will match your interests, values, and traits.
Assess Your Motivation(s)
Assessing your motivation(s) means extending the process of self-scrutiny to the idea of having a career? Why do you want a career? This is where you will have to make notes of your aspirations and what you expect out of life.
The motivations for a career and career path are many. They include purpose, money, excitement, and many other things. Each of these things are external, meaning that you cannot obtain them without a pursuit.
Knowing what your motivations are will make it easier for you to consider certain career paths and exclude others. Hence, assessing your motivations is a fundamental step in choosing a suitable career path.
Reconcile Your Motivation(s) with Your Personality and Abilities
Once you have outlined the things that make up your personality (interests, values, and traits) on one side, and your motivations on another side, you have to reconcile them. This reconciliation is important because it helps you remove aspirations that are not genuinely yours, but may have come about because of peer or parental pressure.
Matching your personality with your motivations is easy. All you need to do is consider the possibilities. If your motivations for a career contradict any of your interests, you need to review and reassess them.
Personality indicators like the Myers-Briggs Type indicator, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and the Jungian Type Index can help you with this sieving process.
Subsequently, you need to match your assessed personality and motivations with your abilities, existing and envisioned. This process is important because it forces you to consider what things you can do now and are capable of learning to do in the future.
When matching your personality and motivations to your talents, you need to be practical. This helps you narrow the thousands of available career options to only the most relevant and promising.
Make a Note of Doable Long-Term Goals
Identifying the best career path for you also requires you to itemize your long-term goals. What exactly do you expect of your future? Given the best conditions, what would that future look like? Given present conditions, what would that future look like?
Once you have asked yourself these questions, you must make a list of your long-term goals. These goals are essentially practical extensions of your aspirations. So, if you aspire to have a career that is impactful, you should develop goals along that line.
An easy way to develop your long-term goals is to first affix them to a period in time. The most commonly used time frames are 5 and 10. So, first envision what the next 5 to 10 years would be like and then attach achievements to them.
You can imagine every year to be a marker. Fix practical goals to each of these markers and do these for the next 10 years.
You also need to take factors such as your age into account when developing these long-term plans. Make sure that whatever goals you fix to the time markers are doable for someone of your age bracket.
Scout Feasible Sectors
Now that you have adequately assessed yourself, your personality, motivations, and goals, you can pin the result of this assessment to established career paths.
Work sectors such as the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors serve as the mainframe of career paths. Therefore, knowing which of these sectors is perfect for you is a big step forward for identifying the best career path for you.
Work sectors have many different categories. The most common classification of these sectors covers the aforementioned primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors. There are also public, private, and non-profit sectors, each with its own operators, benefits, and constraints.
You may use the public-private-non-profit sector classification to identify your preferred career path.
The public sector would require you to work under the government. The basic benefits of that choice include regular salary and job security. However, your path of progress would be determined an established framework and you have to retire after specific years of service.
The private sector is not as ‘safe’ as the public sector. Every mistake you make in your professional career here is costly. Furthermore, your value in the sector is determined by how relevant you are. On the upside, working in the private sector means that you decide your path of progress, not an establish government framework or company policy.
The non-profit sector balances the benefits and constraints of the public and private sectors. The specifics of this sector depends on the industry and institution of your choice.
Narrow Your Reconnaissance to Industries
You can further narrow your search of suitable career paths to industries. This subdivision of work sectors is more extensive in scope and operation. However, you can easily identify industries that match your goals, thereby being a step closer to knowing the best career path for you.
Examples of relevant industries are retail, technology, finance, real estate, health care, marketing, media, aviation, environmental protection, cryptocurrency, and so many others.
As you investigate these industries, make sure to match them with your personality and motivations. For example, if your core objective in seeking out a career is to make a lot of money, you will have to screen out industries such as charity foundations from your list of feasible industries.
Furthermore, make sure to use the talents and skills you earlier identified to filter available industries. Focus on industries that match your natural advantages and would not require you to ignore everything about yourself to thrive.
Determine Progress Specifics for Your Preferred Career Path
In addition to matching your abilities to existing industries, you also need to determine the specifics of how professionals progress.
Every career path has a different pace of progress and the associated requirements. Moreover, time is another factor you must consider. So, questions you must ask yourself include the following: what do I need to make progress in this career? Given the best conditions, how long would it take to get to the top? Given the worst conditions, how long would it take to get to the top?
Knowing the specifics of the industries that appeal to you and the accompanying careers would let you easily screen out anything that does not match your long-term goals.
Identify Necessary Requirements for Preferred Career Path
Similar to how every career has established features such as the markers of progress and how long is required for the mastery of each point, career paths also have requirements for getting started. The most common of these requirements revolve around formal education, professional skills, ease of adaptability, and overall cost of adjustment.
Education is the most common requirement for career paths. Some career paths require you to have university degrees, and you would need to acquire supplementary professional education to make further advancements in these careers. Other career paths are less stringent in their requirements.
You need to know which career path is which, and which of its requirements for education that you can easily satisfy.
In addition to education is skill. Generally, the more hard and soft skills you possess, the easier it would be for you to adapt to impact-driven and profitable career paths. However, if the career path you are eyeing has very high requirements for technical knowledge, you should know ahead of time.
You should also consider the cost of acquiring the knowledge and skill you need for any career path you consider to be suitable. Ordinarily, it would be easier to simply adapt the education and skills you currently possess, but this would only be beneficial in the long run if said education and skills are considered relevant in your preferred industry.
Evaluate Professional Resource Options
As for adapting to your preferred work industry or career path, available professional resource options can help you with this. Once you have identified a career path based on the requirements so far highlighted in this article, you can seek out professional instructors and materials.
Digital learning has made it very easy to acquire skills in the most obscure career paths. Thus, with sufficient time and dedication, you can evolve into an expert-level individual in almost any career.
Dedicated platforms such as Udemy and Coursera are perfect for accessing these professional learning materials. You can also follow experts on YouTube and LinkedIn. This will make it easy to find out every important fact about your chosen career path.
You can optimize your learning process by using online job search indexes like Indeed. All you need to do is check out the specified requirements for jobs in your career and use these requirements as a guide for what you should be learning. Then you can use available resources to improve your education and skill to keep up with current requirements for proficiency and distinction in your chosen career path.
Make a Decision
Last of all, you must make a decision based on the steps itemized in this article.
Some individuals looking to select a suitable career path may go through these necessary steps and then make their decisions based on a different reason. Such a course of action would undermine the time you have committed to finding out the best career path for you, and also disrupt your long-term goals.
So, after matching your personality, motivations, goals, sector and industry requirements, as well as available resources for adapting to your chosen career, make your choice. Then you can take active steps towards achieving the long-term goals you set at the beginning.
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Selecting a career path requires a deliberate and thorough evaluation of your personality, motivation, and goals. It also requires you to match these self-determined factors to available sector and industry options. Only then can you make an informed decision as to what is the best career path for you.