Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. It’s about so much more than deciding what you will do to make a living. You as a student need to choose a career to will go with what you are passionate about; what you are always happy in doing. The importance of selecting a career with which we are satisfied cannot be overemphasized.
While some student are lucky enough to just know the career they want and end up with a satisfying careers without giving it much thought, most are not. Many student don’t put enough effort into choosing occupations or pick them for the wrong reasons. Maybe they choose careers that seem secure or pay well. They then end up unhappy. The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you is to make a well-thought out decision.
First let’s look at what factors go into choosing a career:
Steps To Take Before Choosing A Career
Learn about the job responsibilities, employment opportunities, and training or education requirements prior to pursuing a specific career. Follow these steps to narrow potential career options:
1. Assess yourself – Each individual has different goals, talents, interests, and values. In other words, there are certain careers each individual should not pursue and others where they’d excel and be satisfied. Determine what you would enjoy and excel at by taking career assessments, receiving career counseling, and conducting thorough self-evaluation.
2. Make a list of potential occupations – After conducting some self-assessment, it should be apparent the types of careers you should pursue. It is not possible to pursue each one, so the list should be used to determine where to begin your career search. Select 5 or 10 careers and create a new list with these choices. When making your choices, select jobs that interest you, are recommended following career assessment tests, and ones matching your skill set.
3. Explore the options – Learn about each potential career after narrowing your list. Be sure to learn about educational or training requirements, job duties, employment outlook, annual earnings, and promotion opportunities. Information can be obtained from the Internet, but try to meet with a professional in each field to obtain in-depth details about each profession. If you not know professionals in these fields, contact willing participants and schedule informational interviews. However, you will probably find that you have relatives, colleagues, and school mates currently working in fields that interest you. During an informational interview, collect details about annual salary, employment prospects, and entry-level employment requirements. It’s not recommended to request employment during these interviews, but take advantage of networking opportunities.
4. Narrow down your list – Eliminate careers that no longer interest you after thoroughly reviewing each one. Many people become dissuaded from pursuing a career after learning about education requirements, annual earnings, and declining industry growth. Once you’ve become acquainted with each career, narrow your list to 1-2 options.
5. Set goals – After your list has been narrowed, establish attainable goals. You should be informed enough to establish short and long term goals. Typically, short-term goals can be met between 1-3 years and long-term between 3-5 years. It will not be easy reaching each goal, so be prepared to work hard, make adjustments when necessary, and remain committed. Goals are typically achievable when they’re defined, flexible, realistic, and attainable within a specified time period.
6. Create a career action plan – Once you’ve established career goals, begin developing a career action plan consisting of goals and specific steps to reach them. Additionally, career action plans contain possible obstacles, steps to address them, and resources that can be utilized when assistance is needed. This plan will clearly define how you will receive required training or education, obtain employment, and develop professionally once you’ve begun your career.
7. Obtain training – Obtaining required career training will probably consume the majority of your time and efforts as you pursue a career. Depending on the profession, you may be required to earn a college degree, complete vocational training, learn new skills, or complete an apprentice or internship.
Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a Career:
Listening to People Who Tell You That You Should, or Should Not, Do Something: Many people think they should have a say in what career you choose—your parents, your friends, your significant other. They don’t. In most cases your decision will have little impact on the other people in your life. You, however, will have to deal with your choice for years to come. Make sure the career you choose is something you want to spend your day doing.
Following in Someone Else’s Footsteps: You may be haunted by your parents’ expectations to go into the same occupation they are in. You may know it as the one that helped put food in your mouth, kept a roof over your head and even paid your way through school. As hard is it is to do, ignore the pressure you may feel to please your mum and dad. Remember, and if necessary, remind your parents, that they made their own choices and now it’s your turn. What was right for them may not be for you. In the long run, there’s a good chance they’d rather see you happy in a career of your own choosing than unhappy in one you picked to please them.
Not Doing Your Homework: Don’t choose a career without taking the time to learn about it. In addition to a job description, you should make sure to gather information about typical job duties, educational requirements, earnings and job outlook.
Not Talking to Those in the Know: Your homework isn’t complete if you skip talking to someone who currently works in the career field you are considering. Those who are engaged in an occupation can provide you with a truthful account of what it’s really like to work in it. If possible talk to a few people to avoid individual biases.
Going for the Money, Honey: Bringing home a paycheck is important, but the size of it isn’t actually a great predictor of job satisfaction. In other words, you can make six figures, but if you hate what you’re doing, you’ll find it hard to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Look for a balance between making enough money to support yourself and work that fulfills you.
Ignoring Who You Are: Your personality type, interests, values and aptitude make you better suited for some occupations than others. These traits are intrinsic, which means you can’t change them. If you don’t take them into account when selecting a career, there is an excellent chance you will wind up in an occupation that is unsuitable for you.
Not Considering Location, Location, Location: Jobs in certain occupations are concentrated in specific cities—Dublin or London for example—or in certain types of locations—such as cities versus rural areas. If you live somewhere that doesn’t offer many opportunities in your field and you aren’t willing to relocate, you will have trouble getting a job.
Not Looking Beyond a “Best Careers” List: Lists that tell you what careers have the best opportunities of the year, decade or whatever, can be a helpful guide when it comes to selecting a career. However, making a decision based solely on one of those lists is a terrible idea. Even an occupation with a great outlook can be a bad fit, so you have to scratch below the surface to find out whether you and a career are a good match.
Ignoring the Future: While you shouldn’t make your choice solely on an occupation’s appearance on a “best careers list,” to ignore employment outlook is careless. There’s a good chance you don’t have a crystal ball that can tell you with certainty whether an occupation will grow, or at least be stable, during the course of your career. However, you can do more than hope for the best. You should consider whether a career has a promising future before you begin to prepare for it. You can at least eliminate something if its future looks bleak.
Vow Ventures Limited (VVL) in partnership with the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), a Prof. Pat Utomi Leadership Initiative are committed to changing the status quo of our upcoming generation by harnessing leadership potentials in them and positioning them as problem solvers of the future, thereby training them in choosing the student right career
What is Edumocracy all about? This is a leadership development programme where we utilize relevant platforms such as Democracy or Independence Day anniversaries to expose young potentials to real democratic and leadership values. Lectures, Symposia, Debates and Competitions are held across the Country to drive the message home. If we expect to develop at all, our philosophies and value systems must have a value re-orientation and paradigm re-programming. We believe that good educational careers combined with sound leadership insight is the sustainable pathway to our dream development, hence our commitment to this cause. This event is slated for October 1st 2016 at HI-IMPACT PLANET located along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.