Perfect School Search
10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Picking a Career
Dec 21, 2010
Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions a person has to make. The jobs we select can have far-reaching consequences in our lives. Because it's such a big deal, deciding what you want to do can be difficult. Here are ten questions that can help bring you closer to a decision.
1. What are your interests?
The people who are happiest in their jobs are those that enjoy what they do every day. Do you have any personal interests that naturally lend themselves to a particular career? Whether it's a love of literature, a concern for animals or some other passion, there may be jobs that allow you to pursue your interest areas. (Remember, though, there can be disadvantages to following your passions.)
2. What skills do you have?
As you consider potential careers, it can be helpful to create an inventory of your skills. Identifying the things that you're really good at will get you thinking about jobs those skills could allow you to do. A bonus: Putting to paper a list of your abilities can be an affirmative, eye-opening experience that provides confidence as you move toward your goals.
3. What education or training do you need?
No matter how skilled you might be, it's quite possible you'll need additional training or schooling to pursue your desired career path. Research what experiences, degrees or licenses you might need to get jobs. This knowledge will be important in deciding whether a particular profession is right for you.
4. What is your work style?
Some jobs allow you to work independently while others require you to collaborate closely with others. Similarly, some positions feature a lot of supervision and other jobs require a good amount of internal motivation. In considering careers, think about the environment in which you would perform best.
5. What are your values?
Is it important to you that your work results in some social benefit? Do you have qualms with business practices used within particular industries? It's important to think about these and other workplace factors as they relate to your personal values. You probably won't succeed at anything you don't feel good about doing.
6. Are there jobs available?
While the answer to this question needn't definitively determine your direction, it is important to know your prospects before entering a profession. For example, if very few jobs are available, you may need to work in another field as you wait for opportunities in your desired career area.
7. What are your salary needs?
Salary doesn't have to be the first consideration when selecting a career, but it should be a factor. If making a lot of money is important to you, your options will be more limited than if all you need is to simply be comfortable. Some high-interest jobs feature very limited financial reward. It's good to know this going in.
8. Are there opportunities for advancement?
We all know people who seem to be stuck in a rut, their professional lives stalled by lack of opportunity. It's often hard in these situations to muster a lot of enthusiasm for going to work. Why not, then, choose a field that allows you to continually challenge yourself? Staying motivated in your career can help you remain satisfied with it.
9. Where do you want to live?
Telecommuting jobs can allow you to live virtually anywhere. Other positions may require you to reside in a particular place. For example, if you pursue a job in finance, most career opportunities will be in urban centers. Other jobs may require you to be near rural areas. Still others may demand you spend a lot of time away from home traveling around the country or world.
10. How long do you want to do it?
When you're thinking about a career, imagine how long you might like to do a job. It may be that you feel comfortable committing to a lifetime in a particular field. Or you might just want to try something for awhile and see how it goes. Regardless, it's a good idea to consider these feelings as you weigh whether to invest the time and resources necessary to pursue a given profession.
Are you currently in a career but thinking about doing something different? You're not alone. Career change is quite common today. Check back tomorrow for questions to consider as you think about making a change.