10 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Career Path

Whether you’ve gone to a four-year university, you’ve just graduated high school, or you’re ready for something new, choosing a career path can be exciting, yet overwhelming. Some people seem to know exactly what they were born to do. For others, it can take more time and thinking. While career paths change more frequently nowadays, it’s important to choose something you’ll find fulfilling.

The best thing to remember is that you never have to feel ‘stuck’ in one career for a lifetime. There are many jobs and industries that don’t require years of education. This makes it easy to switch up careers several times throughout your life.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t put a lot of thought and consideration into what you’d like to do. If you can stick with one career for a long time, it can be very beneficial. You’re likely to get several promotions throughout your lifetime. You’ll be an ‘expert’ in what you do, and you’ll be able to train others for the future of that industry.

There are several important factors in choosing a career. Taking the time to keep these factors in mind can help you make a clear decision. If you’re looking for a career that allows you to feel important, successful, and fulfilled, knowing what to consider can make all the difference.

What Should I Consider When Choosing a Career?

Choosing the right path or the perfect job isn’t easy for everyone. Many people experience this type of crossroads at different stages in life. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what jobs you’ve had in the past. Choosing a new career path should be a well thought-out process.

This article will help by giving you ten important factors that shouldn’t be ignored. Keep these factors in mind as you’re choosing your next career path. If you do, you’re likely to feel better about the career you choose for yourself.

  1. What Are Your Interests?

Before you start any new career path, it’s always a good idea to think about the things that truly interest you when it comes to a work environment. A good place to start is by thinking about the things you do well. How could they be applied toward a career? Maybe you’ve enjoyed certain aspects of past jobs and want a career with more focus on those specific things. Perhaps you want a medical job that’s a bit different.

If you’re truly unsure of what might interest you when it comes to a career, use your resources. Career development centers are available across the country. They can give you an assessment test that may help to pin down your interests. You may even be surprised by some of your results. However, they may breathe new life into what you thought you could ever expect from a career.

  1. What Are Your Strongest Skills?

If you’ve ever had a job interview, you’ve probably had to list some of your useful skills. Whether these are talents you’ve always had or skills you’ve developed over the years, they can be crucial in deciding what you want to do next.

Perhaps you’re good with people and want a well-paid career in healthcare. Phlebotomy would be a great choice since you get to work with all walks of life every day. If you’ve always been skilled with numbers or dealing with money, a career in finance might be an option. Sometimes, the most rewarding careers are based on skills we already have.

Take a look at talents you have already that could be used on a job, and try to determine careers that would be a good fit for those skills.

  1. Your Attitude

Some people have different attitudes toward different work environments. If you’re self-motivated and have a positive attitude about hard work, you might be best suited for a leadership position or even a high-stress job. Don’t shy away from careers that may challenge you. If you have an attitude of excitement about working, it could be that your old jobs weren’t fulfilling because they weren’t challenging enough.

On the other hand, your attitude may make you realize what type of industry wouldn’t be a great fit for you. If you’re older, for example, and don’t want to work 40 hours a week, don’t seek out stressful, demanding jobs. You may feel as though you’ve earned the right to some flexibility. If you choose a job that doesn’t reflect that, you won’t be happy. And, it won’t likely be a job that lasts long. Attitude is extremely important when it comes to the work environment you put yourself in.

  1. Education and Training

Most jobs require some type of education and/or training. Sometimes, it can be learned on the job. Other times, the training required only takes a few weeks. Determining the level of education you’re willing to obtain is important in choosing the right career path.

There are many successful careers that don’t require a four-year degree. However, some people prefer going through years of education, even if their initial career path doesn’t require it. This factor is a combination of what you’re willing to do, what you believe is best for your future, and what education and training may be able to do for you. Always choose a program that is well within your means. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or set yourself up for failure.

  1. Job Availability

Sometimes, one of the easiest places to start in choosing a career path is determining which jobs are in high demand. It can be frustrating and overwhelming to start down a path with a limited number of options. You’ll likely end up in a position you weren’t expecting and may have to spend years working your way up.

Some of the most popular industries of the moment include:

  • Healthcare/medical
  • IT
  • Research and development
  • Freelance careers

While the job market continues to ebb and flow, there are certain industries that seem to stand the test of time. Others are growing because of technology. There are many careers not listed here that are currently experiencing steady growth. As long as you do your research and ensure the industry you’re looking at has available jobs, you’ll be on the right track.

  1. Culture, People, and Values

Look at the people who work in specific industries and in specific careers. Many companies have a certain culture. Some have even been stereotyped because of it. If you’re interested in a specific industry, research companies within that field. Learn how they reward, promote, etc. Pay special attention to the longevity of the job. Could you retire early? How long do people work there, on average, etc? Knowing what the industry values will give you a stronger opinion on it, one way or another.

Some company cultures may not be a good fit for you. Values line up differently from time to time. Even if the work itself seems promising, don’t undermine the importance of the overall culture within an industry. That culture should line up with your own values, or you may have a hard time being truly happy in that field.

  1. Learn From Experience

Most of the tips already listed in this article rely on research. While that research is important, it can’t replace real, hands-on learning. It’s one of the best ways to give yourself peace of mind with a specific career. If you’re interested in a medical career path, find a way to give it a try without too much permanence. Apply for internships or apprenticeships. Job shadow someone in their field for a few weeks. Or, apply for a temporary position that only lasts a number of weeks. It should be long enough to give you a full view of what the job is like.

All of these options give you the opportunity to ‘try on’ a career. Even if you don’t get to experience the exact position you’re going for, you’ll get a feel for the industry itself. That can make a huge difference in determining if it’s the right fit for you. It allows you to uncover what you do and don’t like about the career. You’ll be able to invest enough time to make an informed decision. But, you won’t have to waste years of your life determining you may not like something.

10 considerations when choosing a career path

  1. Passion

An interest in something and a passion for something are two different things. Some of the most successful people in the world have one thing in common: They have a real passion for what they do. You may have interests that don’t necessarily line up with these passions, so it’s important to differentiate the two.

Keep in mind that passion doesn’t always mean financial success. You have to decide what might be more important to you. You may be interested in more lucrative jobs. You may even have the right skillset for them. But, if they don’t fulfill your passions, you may find yourself constantly wanting more. Having a career you’re passionate about typically equals long-term success and fulfillment.

  1. Defining Success

Your definition of success is crucial to the type of career you choose. Some jobs will reward you with a large paycheck. Others will give you the opportunity to help people, such as a career in phlebotomy. Some careers will even be a combination of things. One person’s definition of success may not be the same as yours. While a hefty salary is nice, if it doesn’t line up with making you feel successful, you’ll likely feel as though something is missing.

Before you choose a career, make a list of the things you feel you would need in a job to determine your success. You may surprise yourself with the answers you can come up with. As a society, many of us tend to define success with numbers. Personally, it can be a completely different mindset.

  1. Are You a Pioneer, or a Traditionalist?

There are many job industries today that didn’t exist ten years ago. There are thousands of jobs within those industries that are still barely being tapped into. Most of this is due to advancements in technology. Taking a step into these ‘new worlds’ and new job fields can be exciting for some. For others, it can feel intimidating.

Before you choose a career, determine whether or not you’re comfortable with advancing, ever-changing technology. If it’s a large part of a certain career field, you’ll have to immerse yourself in it. Some people are quick to embrace these changes. Others feel more comfortable sticking with the skills they already know. Technology will continue to change and grow – will you be a pioneer with each new step, or would you prefer a career that relies on the technology you’re already familiar with?

How Can I Choose a Job That’s Right For Me?

Some people work their entire lives in one industry. Others seem to bounce around several times before landing on a job that really sticks for them. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all the research and experience in the world will make you love your job after you’ve been involved in it for awhile.

However, it’s far too easy to jump into a career headfirst without the right precautionary steps. By staying in one career for a long time, you’ll learn more, develop relationships, and can be extremely successful. So, take the time to consider certain factors before taking the plunge.

Once you have a basic idea about a career that interests you, create a roadmap. It’s not cliché to combine your dreams with reality. If you have the right resources in place, it’s possible to find a fulfilling career that will last for years.