How to Choose a Career

How hard can choosing what you want to do with the rest of your life be, right? Wrong. You would think that 4 years of college, internships, or part time jobs throughout your youth would point you in the right direction, but sadly that is oh too often not the case.

If you are looking for your first job post grad or looking to make a career change, these three paths may be worth considering!

Aptitude Tests

It may seem like an arbitrary way to make a major decision, but aptitude tests tell you so much more informations aside from an ideal career path. The Gallup’s CliftonStrengths, which in my opinion is the best test, measures 34 themes that fall under four domains: strategic thinking, executing, influencing, and relationship building. Not only will the test indicate your natural talents, but it also acts as a guidance tool to choosing an environment that will help you excel.

If you aren’t keen on spending $50 to take a test, there are many free options online as well. A few great ones I have recommended to my students who are having difficulty choosing an undergraduate major are: 123test, 16 Personalities, and the Princeton Review Career Quiz

Informational Interviews

I can’t even begin to explain to you how beneficial it is to sit down with someone who works in a field you are interested in. Usually those who take informational interviews are eager to share their experiences and paint you a picture of what day to day life looks like for them. These individuals also make for excellent sounding boards. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you aren’t sure what you want to do, because they will take advantage of the opportunity to tell you about all the benefits their career has to offer.

The hardest part of the process is simply finding someone to interview. If you don’t have connections to an individual in the field you are interested in, just hop on LinkedIn and do your research. If there is anything my background in counseling taught me, it is that people love to talk about themselves! So the idea of an informational interview is quite appealing for most.

Experience

At the end of the day, nothing compares to experience. I highly recommend looking for internships, as they offer a unique balance of unsupervised work as well as mentorship. Often times, you come out of your experience with a project approved and sponsored by the company, which looks great on your resume. Moreover, if you truly impress your manager or co-workers there is a chance they could offer you a job as well!

For those of you who are students, many companies offer internships that also count for school credit. So if you are looking for a way to get ahead on credits and get some desired work experience, this is a perfect opportunity for you.

When it comes to picking a career, don’t stress about landing the perfect job the first time around. Many people put too much pressure on getting their dream job straight out of college, but it is called a first job for a reason. There will be a 2nd, 3rd, or maybe 4th! So don’t stress and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

 

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