How to Choose a Career

Great tips for finding the right job field

Whether you are a teenager who has just graduated from high school or an older adult who is looking for a brand new start, you may be wondering how to choose a career. With all the hundreds of career paths out there, how do find a job field that is right for you?

While choosing a career path can be difficult, the good news is that there are plenty of resources to help you make your decision. By using a combination of online resources and tapping into the connections in your life, you should be able to get a handle on the types of careers that may interest you. Here’s how to start:

1. Begin your search with a career interest survey
One of the best ways to understand how you might find a suitable career is to take a career interest survey. These surveys match up your strengths and interests with possible career paths that make sense for you. Education Planner offers a career interest survey that can help you narrow down the types of jobs you would like to pursue.

2. Learn about career options and career training
Once you have sorted out the types of careers you might like, it’s time to look more closely at the specific professions and occupations. You will want to know what kind of training is required, what kind of lifestyle you can expect, what the working conditions are like, and what the prospects for the future are. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great resource for learning about careers. Simply look up the career in the alphabetized list, and read all about it.  CareerOneStop is another way to learn about careers. It offers career videos and predictions on what careers will be growing.

3. Consider short- and long-term goals
A career that fits you today may not be a career that you still enjoy in 10 or 20 years. For example, a career that requires you to travel a great deal might be perfect for when you are young, but if you intend to have a family in the future, you may find that the travel becomes burdensome. Try Career OneStop’s goal-setting tool to identify your goals and get on the right path to achieve them.

4. Talk to others
Learning about careers online can be useful, but it’s also important to get unplugged and talk with real people. First talk to your friends and family, and ask them what they think of the career fields you are considering. Maybe they have some information that could help you make a decision. Also, ask if they know anyone in that career field, and if they do, see if you can get connected with them. It’s great to have the chance to talk with someone in a career field before choosing it.

5. Plan your education
As you are getting close to choosing a career path, you will need to begin applying to colleges or career training schools to get the education you need. There may be factors to consider, such as prerequisites that you might need before applying, the length of the program, the location of the schools that offer your program, and applying for financial aid. Some of these factors might help you narrow down exactly which career field will work best for you. Education Planner can help you find schools that meet your needs and understand the basics of student aid.

With these resources at your fingertips, we hope you are better able to choose a career path that works for you. Choosing a new career path is an exciting time of life, and we wish you the best of luck!


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