What Career is Right for me?
For high school seniors, graduation is fast approaching. While it is certainly an exciting time, it also causes a lot of anxiety. After all, graduates have to ask themselves a very important question as they make plans to start college or enter the workforce: what career is right for me? Perhaps having a wide range of interests makes it difficult to narrow it down. Or it could be that you simply have no clue. Either way, you shouldn’t allow yourself to get too worked up over your dilemma; most of your peers are on the exact same boat.
The good news is that there is a series of reliable online quizzes that can put you on the right track as you pursue an area of studies or entry-level job. All it takes is 15 minutes and some self-reflection. When determining the ideal career path, assessing your personality traits can serve as a useful guide. This article will provide you with the tools necessary to choose a job or college major that is perfect for you.
Consider your interests before making a decision about your career
When it comes to deciding on a career path, asking your friends and family members for advice and recommendations can be helpful. Nonetheless, you should make the final call as you know yourself best. To begin, let’s do some brainstorming. But don’t focus on specific jobs per se, the key is to think in the abstract. Jot down “my interests” and then break it down into subcategories such as “recreational hobbies” and “special talents.” This self-reflecting activity focuses on your strengths and abilities, which is a great way to prep for your career quiz.
Take a career quiz to understand yourself better
“What is a career quiz?”
A career quiz is an easy (and even enjoyable!) way to assess your personality traits and match them up with career paths that are likely to appeal to you. They consist of multiple choice questions with statements that best describe your general outlook on life as well as ambitions. You will need around 5 minutes to complete the quiz, plus an additional 5-10 minutes to read and analyze the results. Be honest and deliberate in your answers, as the conclusions that will be drawn from the quiz rely entirely on which choices you select. If you find that all (or none) of the answers to a particular question appeal to you, just trust your gut as you select the best one. You should also pick answers that are most consistent with your attitudes, even when you could hypothetically choose either.
The online course site Open Colleges offers a career quiz that could be of help to you. This particular quiz assesses your personality, focusing on your strengths and weaknesses, which are important factors when determining which occupation is best for you.
The online career resource organization LeanUp also offers a career aptitude test that can help you pick the right field of work. This test is broken up into four components, namely: skills, interests, work style, and values. The questions range from rating your communication skills and general interest in career fields to how you would respond to common work situations. You also have the option of specifying your desired minimum salary and educational requirements. Based on your input, the website produces a list of career fields that might appeal to you, nearby schools that offer courses related to these jobs, and even job openings in your area.
The Seattle-based company PayScale, which helps firms determine the appropriate salaries for its employees based on algorithms and other statistical-based measures, offers a simple, to-the-point quiz consisting of just six questions. You are asked to describe your ideal type of work, your feelings about education, whether you aspire to be a boss, the overarching purpose of work, how you deal with stress and whether salary or happiness is your priority. The website takes your answers and suggests ideal jobs according to rank. It also provides figures such as average salary, gender breakdown, and percentage of the field based on which generation they belong to.
When should I make a choice about my job?
There is no set “deadline” for making a decision on your career. Some people are practically born knowing exactly what they want to do in life whereas others are still uncertain well into their adult life. In several countries, including the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, it is common for school graduates to take a gap year to explore the world, develop maturity, and gain some work experience, typically in the service industry. The gap year is less common in the US, but students attending American colleges have more flexibility when it comes to choosing a major. In fact, in most cases, they can postpone their decision until their third year of studies. In any event, there is no need to make a decision just for the sake of it. The career quizzes can help, but nothing has to be set in stone. Take some time to develop your passions and use your late teenage years and early 20s to acquire new knowledge and experience. Be patient, and you will eventually be able to answer the question, “What type of career is right for me?”
Which career offers a window into your soul?
While there are way too many professions out there to list in one article, it is possible to narrow it down to a list of the most common spheres. Below is a description of the most popular careers that you can consider. Take note of pros and cons of each along with the education requirements as some require advanced degrees while others only require a high school diploma or GED.
Medical and Healthcare career
The healthcare industry offers a wide range of occupations for employees of every educational level. Obviously, if you aspire to be a physician, you will need to successfully complete your undergraduate studies, medical school, and residency. Depending on your specialty, you should expect it to take a minimum of 10 years before you become a full-fledged doctor. Registered nurses (RNs) often only need a 2-year associate’s degree that can be earned at a community college, although the licensing exams are extremely rigorous. A nurses aid typically just needs a high school degree or GED, although it doesn’t usually pay very well. No matter what medical position you choose, be aware that the hours can be long, the job can be stressful, and in many cases, you are literally responsible for making life-and-death decisions.
Is the idea of inserting catheters or drawing blood not your thing? There are plenty of medical careers out there that allow you to make a difference in the lives of patients without requiring needles such as speech pathology and physical therapy.
Psychology and health career
Do you have a knack for listening to people and coming up with solutions to their problems? If you understand interpersonal relationships and are able to help people identify and overcome the root causes of their anxieties, a psychology career or a general health career tied to social work might be up your alley. Both jobs require the ability to connect and relate to patients and clients as well as develop plans so that they can overcome their challenges. There is a great demand for thoughtful, compassionate psychologists. Social work is a noble profession, although the main drawback is that many are underpaid and overworked.
Are you somebody who is forward-thinking, willing to take risks, and able to guide companies towards financial success? If so, consider a business career. If you are a tireless worker and understand what customers want, you can really live the high life. However, you will need to develop a thick skin as business can be cutthroat. You need to be able to thrive in a competitive environment while accepting that your decisions might not always work. Of course, if marketing or running a business is not your strength, other fields related to business such as accounting and financial consulting are options, especially if you have a good background in math.
Criminal justice career
Are you resourceful, organized, stoic, and even willing to risk your life to protect others? There are a variety of professions in the field of criminal justice worth considering. You could work as a police officer, forensics expert, fraud investigator, detective, or even protect the president as a secret service agent. You will need to be able to pay attention to detail and cope with stress and tension. At the same time, you can take pride in knowing you are contributing to the criminal justice system.
An art career includes a variety of jobs involved in creating works of brilliance, clothing design, photography, painting and decorating. As an artist, you must be able to perceive the world in ways never imagined. Although certain careers in art can require training and education (especially as it relates to learning how to use equipment), the most successful artists are born with innate abilities and talents.
Science is full of endless possibilities as new discoveries and breakthroughs are being made every day. There will always be a need for new researchers to carry discoveries in medicine, environmental science, and engineering further. If you have a logical, curious mind, and enjoy subjects such as chemistry, physics, and math, a science career is waiting for you.
If you have a love of animals, why not consider an animal career? Sure, working as a veterinarian probably comes to mind, but if you have no interest in animal medicine, there are plenty of other options. For instance, you could spend your days at the zoo as a specialist. You could study animal psychology. You could work as an animal trainer on Hollywood movie sets. A love of animals and deep knowledge about their behaviors can really take you places!
Information technology is advancing at incredible rates. Whether you love video game design, application development, database administration, or dream of creating a startup that revolutionizes the world, a computer career is where it can happen. Just check out a list of computer related jobs and you can see the explosive growth in this field. You will need a sharp mind and a lot of concentration in order to master a programming language. You must also have a love of learning. Since apps and gadgets are continuously being rendered obsolete by new inventions, you will constantly be updating your knowledge and taking courses throughout your career.
Enjoy today, but plan for your future
The careers discussed in this article are only the tip of the iceberg, but at the very least it can generate discussion. If you are in high school, it might be helpful to discuss your job aspirations with your guidance counselor. If you are already in college, set up a meeting with your academic advisor or head to the career services center. Consider getting a part-time job during the academic year or full-time work in the summer. It doesn’t even have to be connected to your future aspirations. Merely having work experience and responsibilities will serve you well, in addition to having a supervisor who can write you a good reference in the future. Of course, finding the right career also starts with being a good student. This means attending your classes, getting your work turned in, and meeting with your professor or instructor if you are struggling. You can also seek academic assistance from online education platform that helps students complete their essays and assignments.
Finally, do not panic if you reach your mid-20s and still have no clue what you want to do. At the same time, recognize that a good job isn’t just going to fall into your lap. It takes effort and even some experimentation. Give an entry-level position a shot and if you don’t enjoy that field of work, move on to something else that might be a better match for your interests and skills. Just stay positive, motivated, keep an open mind, and be willing to work hard to achieve what you want.