How to Choose a Career Path – And Stick with It

“What do you want to do with your life?” It’s a common refrain you hear from parents, friends, co-workers and, well, just about everyone interested in your life. It doesn’t matter if you are just graduating middle school, or are well into your adult life, on your fourth career path, the question can still be a nagging one.

Finding a career path is difficult stuff; it takes a level of satisfaction and certainty that can be hard to find. But there are ways to do it. It starts with taking a close, hard look at your personality and inclinations, followed by some dedicated research. In this post, let’s look at the steps involved with choosing your perfect career path… and sticking with it!

Know Yourself

The first and most important sub-process in finding a job is knowing yourself. That might sound a little lofty, but in order to ensure success and – more importantly – happiness in a given career path, you need to understand both your talents and what makes you happy.

Are you the strong, silent type, methodical in the way you think? Do you want a simple life or to be surrounded by glitz and glamour? Are you comfortable traveling, or would you love nothing more than to work from home in your PJs all day? These are specific examples of some general questions you can ask yourself. Here are a few basic questions:

• What do you want from a career?
• What skills do you have?
• What are your interests?
• What type of personality / values do you have?

Lay Out Your Options

From there, you have a basic rubric for researching career paths. Be open to everything, trying to keep an open mind to careers you perhaps overlooked in the past. Make a shortlist, and try your hardest to envision yourself doing those jobs. Once you have decided on a few options, it’s time to look at how accessible those industries are.

Look for Points of Entry

Do you need a specific education to break into your chosen field, and does that hurdle deter you? If you wanted to be an electrician, for example, are you willing to hit the books and put in the hours to get your ticket? If you want to break into the movie industry, for example, learn how to start your entertainment career through mentorship programs. There is always a way to break in, given enough ambition and proactivity.

Connect with Professionals In Your Chosen Field

The best way to get a sense of your chosen career path is to talk to people in it. Consider these people your gurus and mentors. Ask them for advice and absorb their cautions and considerations. Again, mentorship programs like the CIETour are great for this.

Finally, the last thing you need to do in order to choose – and stick with – a career path is to attempt to remain positive. This isn’t to say you should roll over when you are mistreated, or ignore the voice in your head that questions your decision, but just try to greet each day anew, seeing the job from positive point of view. If you do that, as well as the steps above, you’ll be set for life.

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