Things to know before you choose a career

Choosing the right career can be challenging. Gone are the days of starting a job straight after school or university and working up the ranks until retirement 40 or so years later. The modern day career can feature many changes of roles throughout and potentially even 5–6 different work places. Here are few things to think about to help you choose your perfect career.

1. Find your passion

It’s easy to work hard at something you love. Some people have a passion that has a simple and direct career path, like wanting to be a doctor or a fireman. But not everyone has a burning passion; some people may have a whole list of interests. If you are not sure what you want to do for a career, think about what your dream job would be if you could be anything in the world. While a dream job may not always be feasible, it will give you some insight into the types of industries or work you want to do. For instance if you dream of being and astronaut, then maybe you could study engineering, or if you want to save the world from environmental disaster, then you could follow a career in environmental science and conservation.

2. What are you good at?

What was your best subject in school? If you were top of the class in Maths, you could make an excellent accountant or if you were good at English you might be a successful copywriter or journalist. Alternatively if you are more of a people person who is good at communicating, you might be suited to becoming a nurse, office manager or executive assistant. Do you love to know how appliances work? Then consider a trade in mechanics or train to be an electrician.

Skills that come naturally to you are great endeavours to pursue a career with. If you are good at something or have a particular skill, chances are you will be able to become successful in this field and build a stable career and financial future.

3. Introvert or extrovert

What is your personality type? Do you love to research quietly and work systematically or do you prefer a loud environment where you have to think on your feet. Your personality may determine the type of role that you will be best suited to and most enjoy.

Extroverts might be more suited to sales, marketing or acting and performing, whereas people who are more introverted may find they excel at more research based roles, data analysis or writing. While it is sometimes perceived that extroverts get ahead faster in their career due to confidence, don’t underestimate yourself if you are a little more introverted. There are many myths about introverts that are not always true. Introverts are often very good at quieter tasks, like researching, critical thinking or scientific discovery. They also tend to be good listeners, as they talk less and let others talk more.

4. What does your ideal lifestyle look like?

Do you picture yourself living in the countryside? Or do you see yourself living in an inner city high rise apartment, embracing a cosmopolitan life? Different roles have certain lifestyles that go with them, and this can be attributed to salary as well. If finances and a high salary are important to you, you may want to go for roles that tend to come with high wages such as a solicitor, financial planner or stock broker. Alternatively if a role that gives back to the community is your top priority, then a social worker or community fundraiser role might be more up your alley.

5. Consider the training

A lot of careers and jobs require some training or education, so be prepared that if you are changing jobs you may need to go back to school first. Alternatively, if you are looking for a change in job, consider all the options that are available to you without schooling, as you might be able to be trained on the job in a different department of your current company or start at the bottom of a new company. For instance if you want to break in Public Relations or Media, you could start on reception answering phones and work your way up.

We spend a large part of our life at work, so choosing a career that we enjoy will make life more enjoyable in general. Consider what you love, are good at, your personality, lifestyle and education to find a career path best suited for you. Talk to as many people as you can about their careers to get advice and inside knowledge of working in different industries. It’s also important to maintain your health and keep stress to a minimum in any job. Read some work-life balance tips to help keep all aspects of life in perspective.

These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.