While making the right decision career-wise is a long way from being an exact science, trends and studies have helped us create a helpful guide on the nuances in how to choose a career. What is important to note, however, is the dynamic nature of this decision making process.
The answers to the questions that you pose now might reveal different answers in the future. What is important is to have a clear way of dealing with the dilemmas of career choice. You could have the leeway of changing career paths multiple times or choose to reorient your work to suit other aspects of life. To know how to choose a career path that does justice to your needs and wishes would prove a great ally during such moments.
For candidates grappling with how to choose a career, the answer could be found at the end of the following steps.
To understand them and their underlying concepts better, we’ve divided them into two broad categories
A collection of steps that begin with you, giving you complete control. These form the initial steps towards choosing a career path where the candidates explore their options by first getting to know their motivating factors better.
Once the candidate has good knowledge of their goals as well as ways of achieving them, these steps become important. With clarity on the different internal steps, figuring solutions to the external factors become much easier for candidates.
1. Setting Priorities and Balancing Expectations
When it comes to having an awareness of what to do and what career path to follow, most fall somewhere between two extremes. Some have always known what they wanted to do with their lives, while others have absolutely no idea. What is essential to understand is that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And, to know how to choose a career path, it must start with a process of self-awareness.
Assess yourself to know where your strength and passion lie. This is also the stage where you understand your expectations better and get to know what skills you possess. Approach career counselors to take self-assessment tests to know yourself better.
Some of the aspects that candidates should ideally assess are:
- What are your expectations from the career you want to pursue?
- What are your core interest areas?
- What skills do you possess? (Both in terms of natural ability and acquired skills)
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
2. Figuring out Non-negotiables
To build a holistic and full-proof method of answering the critical question of how to choose a career path, an important step is to figure out your non-negotiables. Your priority should be figuring out your non-negotiables. This will allow your decision making on career matters to be better suited to your needs.
Gaining an understanding of your non-negotiables covers all; from the kind of salary expectations, you have to other work-related factors like flexibility and travel. In addition to self-assessment that gives you an idea of where you want to head, identifying your non-negotiables helps strengthen your approach to choosing the right career path.
3. Research and Learn about Your Options
With better knowledge of your aim and your non-negotiables, you need to explore your options. Begin by identifying the types of careers that are best suited for you. It’s helpful to prioritize your options at this stage on a scale, from most suitable to most unfit ones.
Giving precedence to your non-negotiables at this stage will further benefit you. They will help you refine your search. Some jobs might sound like ideal work for you but may not meet your priorities. These jobs may prove to be redundant to your goal at best, or may negatively affect your career path at worst.
Thus, keep a keen eye on your skills and related career paths to get the best benefits.
Following are some important aspects that should factor in your research stage
To build a sustainable career path, it’s critical to look at your preferred options’ future outlook. The careers that sound the most appealing to you in the present should provide ample room for you to grow and develop in the coming years.
Building a clear understanding of the job requirements should be a key part of the candidate’s research period. This includes knowing the skills—both technical and soft—of the options that appeal to you. In addition to this, researching behavioral attributes required will help you understand the job’s nuances and assess your suitability.
Knowing the work culture that dominates your option’s career path often falls under an important area to conduct your research on. This helps build a realistic understanding of what the work ‘looks from the inside’, and will significantly help you finalize your preferred career.
While these factors are imperative to fine-tuning your career options, it is also essential to deploy a varied approach of researching the careers that interest you.
This can be done by the following
- Reaching out to people within the profession of choice.
- Conducting a robust online search on the job and its different facets.
- Leveraging your network of contacts.
- Getting external perspectives.
4. Obtaining the Right Skills and Build a Growth Mindset
This is the stage where we shift from outlining the goals to clarity towards an external action. The knowledge from the last three steps should help facilitate your understanding of the skills you will need to develop. Today, skilling is a diverse mechanism through which candidates can bridge the gap between where they are today and where they hope to be in the future.
The process of building the required skills begins with identifying your skills gap and then looking for the right place to build them. upGrad provides top-notch programs where candidates can look for the best options to develop their skills and knowledge in diverse fields, ranging from data science to law. For candidates looking at building the right skills places, upGrad can provide a whole range of courses.
These courses have a duration of months to years (1-2 years). A diverse range of courses in the domain of Data Science, Blockchain, Machine learning, Digital marketing, and MBA are offered on this platform. Besides these courses, excellent placement support is also provided by upGrad.
In addition to building the right skills, it’s also important to bring in a shift in perspective. The current age of fast technological change has made learning new skills a major factor in employability. To build the career path of your choice, adopting a growth mindset will mean to keep looking for newer opportunities to learn and perform better.
5. Apply and Begin Your Journey
The final step in answer to how to choose a career path is applying for the right jobs. While the number of job boards and job search engines has risen in recent times, use your knowledge gained to filter the kind of results you get for your job search queries. Create the right cover letters explaining your suitability to the role. Update your resume with the skills you’ve identified and built over the period. While all the above steps help you refine your career choice, this last step is where you begin walking on your career path.
Though the question of ‘how I choose a career path’ can be an uphill task for candidates, it is important to remember that it can be strategically answered. The plethora of options available today, while opening many doors for candidates, can also lead to confusion in decision making. To solve the question of how to choose a career path, following the above mentioned five steps and establishing more clarity as you move from one to the other, can be exceedingly helpful.