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From childhood to our teenage years to early adulthood, we are bombarded with messages about the type of career we should be pursuing. Based on my career experience, I’m going to share with you 5 factors to consider when choosing a career.
If you’re anything like me (or most of my clients), you’ve probably heard one or two of the following phrases throughout your life.
Or my personal favorite is the one that comes from parents who didn’t live out their dreams. The phrase you’ll commonly hear is, “why don’t you just go into this, I would do this if were you.”
Choosing a career can be extremely overwhelming. Switching careers can be even more challenging. That is why it is so important to take into account these 5 factors to consider when choosing a career.
As a disclaimer, I must say that this list is not all-inclusive. There are other factors to consider when choosing a career, but these are great starting points.
My hope is that you walk away with more clarity and a boost of confidence after reading about these factors when choosing a career. Ready? Let’s dive in.
No matter what anyone says, your career is for you! It is so easy for family members, friends, and coworkers to make suggestions based on their own thoughts, interests, and goals. When it comes to choosing a career, the only opinion that matters is yours.
Ultimately, you are the one who has to clock in every day for the next 20 or 30-something years.
Remember, you are more likely to excel in a career that aligns with your passions and interests. Although these may change over time, you will want to start by thinking of activities and hobbies you genuinely enjoy. You can also think about initiatives and causes that you care about. Pair these ideas with your natural skills and that’s where the magic happens.
Here are a few statements that will help you brainstorm what your personal interests and goals really are.
Finish the following sentences:
In my free time, I enjoy _________________.
Friends call me when they need advice on how to ____________.
I’ve always had a natural knack for ______________.
One problem that I want to solve is _________________.
If I had to choose only one cause to fight for it would be _________________.
I enjoy learning about how to ____________.
There are many other questions that you can ask when it comes to choosing a career, but these will help you get off to a great start!
Remember, if you have multiple interests, it doesn’t hurt to job shadow several of those positions before making a more concrete decision.
This is one of my favorite books! The author gives a lot of great tips, insights, and strategies when it comes to discovering career paths that fit you best. He does a good job of helping you think about your abilities, natural skills, gifts, and interests. I highly recommend checking this out.
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I strongly believe in doing work that lights you up and this book does a great job of providing prompts and methods to explore your deepest desires.
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To me, writing things down makes it more real. Being able to see your goals on paper and track your progress is they key to getting important work done. Putting your goals, desires, and wishes into the universe is essential to creating a life of abundance and happiness. I have one of these journals and I absolutely love it!
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Career assessments can be helpful when identifying career fields that fit your personality and skills. Check out CareerHunter and use code Chelsea10 for 10% off assessments.
Research is an essential part of choosing a career. It would be best if you had a clear understanding of the level of demand for your desired job field, position, and industry.
There are many resources that you can use when it comes to discovering trends in the job market industry growth. Of course, fields such as technology, healthcare, education, and security will always be in-demand. If you fall into another field that is ok, just do your research and make sure there is flexibility with making a shift if you need to.
Another thing to consider is the potential for growth and advancement opportunities in your chosen career field. This will help determine your salary range long-term. Finally, conducting research will also help you predict the level of job security to expect.
After coaching professionals during the pandemic, one common requirement was needing a better work-life balance. With the rise of remote work, flexibility, and having a work-life balance has become a major factor to consider when choosing a career.
Take time to think about how much time you are willing to dedicate to your job as well as how it will impact your personal life. Some careers demand more time and energy than others. In fact, some careers require consistent overtime, frequent travel, and being on-call.
If you are someone who loves to travel, enjoys a lot of family time, or has a lot of outside activities and commitments, working in a demanding position may not be the best fit for you.
Growing up, many young adults dream of being doctors and lawyers, but the truth is, these professions often don’t provide an ideal amount of work-life balance. If you’re blinded by the money and prestige, you need to take time to think about what matters more to you.
If you choose a career based on money, you will quickly suffer from burnout and dissatisfaction. Again, think about the type of lifestyle you want and choose a career that aligns with it.
When considering what career you want to choose, don’t forget to think about your potential salary and benefits. Your salary will have a significant impact on your lifestyle. As mentioned before, choosing the type of lifestyle you want is key to career satisfaction and happiness.
If you love traveling, enjoy fine dining, or need to have a membership at a top-tier gym, working in a job that averages $40K to $50K per year may not be the best choice for you.
Not being able to fully enjoy your life outside of work can take a toll on your self-esteem and mental health. Money can be a barrier, so keep that in mind. If you are passionate about pursuing a lower-paying career, you should begin thinking about alternative ways to make money or adjust your lifestyle and expectations accordingly.
Life is all about choices. I know you probably have heard this over and over again, but you only get one, so it’s important that you are well-informed and honest with yourself when it comes to choosing a career that works for you.
You can use sites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, GlassDoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed to learn more about the average salary for your industry and role. To learn about benefits packages, I highly recommend selecting at least 10 companies that you’d love to work for. Check out their career packages and employee reviews to get a better understanding of what’s commonly offered to employees in your field.
Bonus: If you plan on moving out of state to start your career, check out my article on how to find a job out of state Top 7 Tips on How to find a Job Out of State in 2023 – Seasoned and Growing
Each career requires different levels of education. When I mentioned lifestyle and time commitment earlier, the education and training piece ties in heavily when it comes to factors to consider when choosing a career.
Some careers only require 2 years of education, while others can require more than 10+ years of education, plus a certain amount of experience. When choosing a career, think about your outlook and relationship with education.
Are you someone who enjoys studying, writing, and test-taking? Are you good at being a student? This is another time when it’s important that you are honest with yourself regarding your capabilities.
Another aspect of education and training to consider is the financial commitment. Over the years, I’ve coached a variety of professionals who spent different amounts on education. Some professionals were able to keep costs at a reasonable amount and come out with no debt. Some professionals ended up with $30K worth of debt while others walked away spending more than $200K on their education. When it comes to lifestyle choices, debt plays a large role.
When thinking about education, think about how you are going to pay for the training you need. Can you find scholarships or grants that can help you with payment? Can you find an employer that will train you? How about a company that offers tuition reimbursement? Make sure to explore all of your financial options so that you don’t go in blind and wind up in a financial bind.
In this article, I gave you my top 5 factors to consider when choosing a career. As you can see, each plays a significant role when it comes to making this major life decision. However, I would say the most important factor to consider is doing what makes you happy.
Many of the professionals I’ve coached over the years all have one thing in common. They ended up feeling unhappy, unfulfilled and emotionally drained because they chose careers to meet someone else’s expectations.
If you take anything away from this article, it should be this. Remember, your career choice should be yours and yours alone. While it’s great to hear feedback and suggestions from family and friends, don’t let it steer you from the passion or idea that you have inside you.
As you navigate your journey to choosing a career, I recommend using positive affirmations to guide you. Affirmations are a powerful practice that can help boost your self-esteem and confidence, which is essential to making life-changing decisions. To get started, check out 50+ Life Changing Positive Affirmations for Low Self-Esteem and Confidence – Seasoned and Growing
Choosing a career is a monumental and meaningful opportunity to create the life you dream of. Remember to consider your personal interests and passions, job market and industry trends, work-life balance, salary and benefits, and education and training requirements.
Remember, you got this!
Cheers to your success.