3 Ways To Find The Right Career Path For You
As celebrations end, many high-school seniors are beginning to realize the tough decisions that lie ahead.
If the idea of figuring out what to do with your life scares you, you’re certainly not alone.
Deciding what to do after high-school can seem overwhelming and often people fall into the trap of doing what they THINK they should do instead of what they WANT to do.
Tanja, for example, was overwhelmed with the big decision of what to do with her life when she finished high school. She knew her parents wanted her to study accounting as she had always been a high-achiever in maths, but wasn’t sure if she would really enjoy this work.
She secretly loved all things creative and was passionate about art and graphic design. She wasn’t sure which path was right for her. Tanja studied accounting at college, with plans to one day swap to graphic design when she built up the courage. During college, Tanja achieved high-grades, was praised by all her teachers and received a high-paying, accounting job in a reputable accounting firm straight out of college. She was excited and proud of herself and after four long years of studying and building up debt her dreams of one day becoming a graphic designer had slowly fade away.
Quickly into her new career Tanja realised that she hated accounting. Day in and day out she sat at her desk miserable and dreaming of a different career. One in which she felt motivated, inspired and challenged. She felt burdened by the $75k debt she had acquired during her studies and overwhelmed each and every morning by the long day that lay ahead.
But Tanja isn’t the only who has struggled with making the right choice as to which what she should do with her life. According to NBC News, only one out of three students who took a recent ACT college assessment test were planning to major in a subject that matched their strengths and preferences.
Picking a major unsuited to you can be an expensive and frustrating mistake.
There are many factors to consider when deciding what to do with your life after high-school. What are your strengths and values? What are your priorities and goals in life? What are the job prospects for that particular career path? All key questions to consider when deciding what to study at college.
Many recent high-school graduates take the decision of choosing a major lightly and select based on what their parents want them to do, what their friends are doing or what they think would earn them a high-paying paycheck and envied reputation.
They forget to ask themselves if they are suited to this kind of work, if there is employment in this area and if this job is consistent with the lifestyle they want. The initial joys and ease of college gradually falls away as college debt begins to build and loans continue growing and growing.
College students who are not suited to their chosen majors are more likely to drop out and often take substantially longer to graduate, according to Steve Kappler, the ACT Assistant Vice President.
With these serious consequences in mind, it is worth taking some small steps to ensure you select a college major that is perfect for you.
So, how do you figure out what career path is right for you? Here are some fun, effective methods to assess what to study and if it is suited to you.
- Volunteer at an organisation in your area of interest
Volunteering is a great way to learn about the area of work you are interested in. You are often able to learn about the work from all different aspects and often work closely with people high up in your industry. Additionally, no matter what area you end up working in, volunteering is always looked upon favourably on a resume and can increase your job opportunities in the future.
- Get an internship
As Marie Forleo, life coach and motivational speaker, said ‘Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.’ Often finding your passion and making the right decision as to what path to take can come from actually working in that area. That is exactly what an internship allows you to do. You are able to work in your field of interest as well as often shadowing your mentors. You often get a close-up look at exactly the kind of work required of you in that industry as well as developing a sense of workforce expectations. You are able to observe the highs, the lows and the challenges and assess if these are suited to you or not.
- Take a quality career test to assess what areas of work you would be suited to.
Career tests work by assessing your strengths, weaknesses, work personality and other factors to help you reach a calculated, scientific conclusion. They can be great for confirming current passions and providing you with confidence in certain career paths that you had already considered. However, they can also often surprise you by reminding you of skills or passions you have and new, alternative career paths that you may not have considered.
If, after exploring the area of work, you are still interested then pursue that area! Gain experience, go to college, and build your portfolio so that you can achieve great things and lock down that dream job!
The simple message here is that there is no one-way-path to success for everyone. We are all different and we all need to do what works for us. It’s extremely important to assess what you want and what your strengths and weaknesses are and not choose a college major based on your parents, fear of failure, or friend’s opinions. No one wants to be in a job that makes them unhappy or unemployed with a mountain of debt to pay off.
Start thinking now about what you want to do after high school, not what you think you should do.