Tips for Choosing the Right Career

Mary Gormandy White
Career Options

Are you looking for tips for choosing the right career? Selecting a career is an important decision, so you certainly should consider all relevant factors before making up your mind. You don't want to spend years preparing to enter a profession only to find that it's not right for you. Here are a few ideas to help you start thinking about what career options might be the best choices for you.

Five Tips for Choosing the Right Career

1. Personal Preferences

Be sure to take your personal preferences into consideration when choosing a career. You'll spend quite a few hours each day performing your job, so it's important to make sure that you choose a career where you can do things you enjoy in an environment where you feel comfortable. Choosing to work in a field that is a good fit for your talents and skills is important, but it's also essential to select a job where you'll be able to perform work that you will actually like.

For example, if you have outstanding math and science skills and are interested in a profession where you have an opportunity to help other people, choosing a career in the healthcare field might be a good choice for you. However, there are many options within this field, some of which may be more appealing to people who are outgoing and enjoy being around other people while others are better suited for people who like to work independently, behind the scenes.

2. Available Employment Opportunities

When considering career choices, it's certainly important to think about the job market. Look at what types of jobs are currently in demand, as well as what opportunities are expected to exist in the future. You don't want to spend time preparing for a specialized career only to discover when you are finished training that your skills are no longer in demand.

Look up the professions that interest you in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, an annual online publication produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, to learn about expected growth or decline of job opportunities in the years to come.

3. Preparation Requirements

Before selecting a career field, it's important to be aware of how much formal training is necessary for entry into the profession. Make sure that you find out if there are any specific educational requirements to enter or move up within the fields that interest you. While academic requirements should not prevent you from pursuing a particular type of occupation, it is important that you have a realistic understanding of how much time, effort and money it takes to prepare for any occupations that you are considering.

For some professions, a field-specific undergraduate or graduate degree is a pre-requisite for even the most entry level of jobs. State licensure or professional certification is also required to enter many occupations. There are also professions that you may be able to begin without extensive training, but will need advanced education in order to move beyond entry level positions.

4. Compensation Expectations

Before choosing to enter a profession, make sure that you have realistic expectations about what type of compensation you can expect. While you should not select an occupation solely based on pay, it is important to be aware of earnings expectations when making decisions about your future career.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a good resource of details about average and median wages for particular professions as well as for information about employment outlook. Additionally, you may want to search help wanted listings for the types of jobs that think you would enjoy in the geographic region where you hope to live and work. Doing this can provide you with a general idea of local salary ranges for the career fields that you are considering.

5. Career Assessment Testing

Choosing a career is a big decision. There's a good chance that there are many occupations that you may be well suited for that you have never even heard of. Instead of choosing only from those jobs that you know exist, consider going through a career assessment test to identify occupations that may be well suited for you.

If you are still in high school or college, your guidance counselor or academic advisor can probably recommend a career assessment test for you. If you past that point in your life, visit the One Stop Career Center in your local area and make an appointment to discuss career assessment testing with a career counselor. Alternately, you may want to hire a private career counselor to work with you to help you identify appropriate career possibilities.

Preparing for Career Success

Applying these tips for choosing the right career is a great way to make sure that you take all relevant factors into consideration when making decisions about your future occupation. Deciding what type of work you want to perform is the first step toward career success. Once you have selected a profession, it's up to you to start acquiring the training and skills necessary for successful entry into your chosen for field.

Tips for Choosing the Right Career