HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAREER, A MAJOR OR CAREER PATH

Career is defined as a person’s course or progress through life or a distinct portion of life. Key steps to choose a Career 1. Know yourself: Your strengths, values, personality, and skills. This will help you decide which choice best fits you. 2. Know your options and learn about each one 3. Make a good decision the first step in the Career Road map careers INTERESTS, VALUES, SKILLS and PERSONALITY PREFERENCES in order to make a well– informed decision. The below interest areas, based on John Holland’s Occupational Themes, will connect you to academic and career choices. • Artistic • Conventional • Enterprising • Investigative • Realistic • Social Life Values Inventory Online • Skills careers • Personality Preferences & Interpersonal Needs are related to your individual, innate nature and tend to be consistent over time. Consider Your Interests, Skills, Current State and Future having a defined career direction will help you with getting a job. But with a little hard work, some planning, and some serious self-reflection, you can set yourself on a path towards a fruitful, full filling career that can provide for you and your family.

Here are a few great questions to ask as you decide:

  1. What are you good at, and what do you love? “Follow your passion” line since the day you were born. Consider your dream career Consider your hobbies

Consider what you enjoy or enjoyed in school

Consider Your Skills

Think about what you are or were good at in school. Think about the subjects you excelled in school. Though it may not be your favourite thing to do, choosing a career based on something you are skilled at can help you excel and provide yourself a secure future.

Since we all have different skills, interests, experiences and expectations, here’s what you should consider when thinking through this important decision.

What are your natural talents?

Knowing where your natural talents lie is the key to choosing the right career.

Consider what skills you excel in Consider your interpersonal skills

  1. Are you promotion – or prevention-focused? In general, there tend to be two main motivation types: promotionfocused and prevention-focused.

Promotion-focused professionals are classic creative and entrepreneurs. They work quickly, seize new opportunities and think abstractly. The downside is that they can be impulsive, overly optimistic and are likely to make bigger mistakes.

Prevention-focused professionals are just the opposite, focused on maintaining the status quo and protecting all they’ve worked on. These professionals prefer planning, reliability, thoroughness and analytical thinking.

A promotion-oriented person will likely feel suffocated in a traditional 9-to-5, thriving instead in a more creative environment with bigger risks and bigger rewards.

 

  1. What is the best environment for your personality type?

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert, as the two personality types differ widely in their needs.

An introvert may be more attracted to a quieter research role, while an extrovert will thrive in a busy, loud sales office. Public speaking, amount of teamwork required and frequent contact with clients are also factors to consider.

  1. What kind of lifestyle do you want?

Pick a lifestyle, not a job title. What’s acceptable to you is highly individual, and it’s important to do what will make you the most comfortable.

 

What’s your work style?

Work style can sometime conflict with a career choice. For example, a flexible work environment might allow you to deliver projects on various dates, while a structured environment would require specific deadlines and strict guidelines. What works better for you? In which environment do you tend to thrive?

 

Do you enjoy social interaction?

Do you like working with others or as part of a team? Are you motivated by the needs of others and your ability to provide a solution? This is critical because some people shy away from that connection and would rather deliver value behind the scenes—without the complications of interacting with colleagues and clients. Know your social needs so you can choose a career that matches them.

How important to you is work-life balance?

Do you value a short commute and a home-cooked meal every night? Do you live for weekends out at the soccer field watching your kids play? If you need those creature comforts on a regular basis, pick a career that will give you the time to enjoy them. Look for jobs with regular hours and little to no requirements to work overtime or on weekends.

Are you looking to give back?

Some careers have a component of giving back, where the beneficiary of your hard work is not a corporation’s bottom line but rather a sick child, an endangered species or the planet’s air quality. If it’s important to know that your hard work makes a difference in the world, this could be a significant driver in your career choice.

Are you comfortable in the public eye?

Certain careers encourage or even require employees to have a public persona. You may become known in your local community. If you’re a spokesperson, that recognition could extend to a nation level. Or if you serve as your company’s representative at trade shows or special events, you may become known in that niche community. How does this strike you—as an opportunity or an obligation? If you thrive on recognition and the chance to build a personal brand while promoting your company’s work, look for careers that allow you to stand out front.

Do you deal well with stress?

We all have different stress thresholds. If you thrive under the gun, you may do well in a high-stress career. But if stress makes you want to run the other way, look for jobs that are more laid-back

  1. Where do you want to live?

This is especially true for jobs that are focused in certain regions. If you want to work in the magazine industry, then you’ll probably need to move to urban area.

  1. Consider Your Current State Explore yourself

Figuring out what you should do with your life may sometimes require you to get to know yourself better. If you want a career that will really make you happy, you have to have a very good understanding of what you want and what you enjoy. It’s more important that you figure your life out as early as possible, rather than getting knee deep in a career which makes you hate your life

  1. Consider your financial situation

Your ability to pursue or change careers may hinge on your financial situation. Some career paths require special schooling and this is sometimes expensive. However, you should not feel that being poor bars you from getting the education you want. There are lots of government programs to help you pay for schools, as well as scholarships, grants, and apprenticeship programs.

As you look forward in life, what are your expectations for money?

You might be single now, but maybe you hope to become your future family’s breadwinner. Or maybe you’re part of a successful two-income family and need to decide whether you’re comfortable living on less or compromising on other career aspects, like work-life balance, to earn a better income. If money is the reward you seek, there are careers to match. If choosing a career feels like too much pressure, here’s another option: Pick a path that feels right today by making the best decision you can, and know that you can change your mind in the future. Recognize that you’ll change as time rolls on. Your needs for money, freedom, balance, and recognition will change with you. But for now, think through each of these ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing a career that’s best for you

  1. Think about the education you will have as you enter a career

It is important to consider what education you already have or will have as you begin pursuing a career. If finances may bar you from pursuing more schooling, you may need to consider what you already have. It may also be necessary to stick with your existing high school or college degree if there are time limitations or other restrictions. If you find that you are limited to jobs relating to the degree you already have, consult with a career counsellor to find out what options are available to you.

  1. Think about returning to school

If restrictions do not bar you from pursuing more schooling, you may want to consider this option. Not everybody excels in school or needs a traditional college education, but most career paths have associated training which you can do and will help you advance more quickly. Technical colleges, for example, may be a good option for those who would prefer not to pursue a traditional education

  1. Do more research

If you are still confused, consider doing more research on this topic. You can find more helpful information here or consult with your adviser or college of choice.

  1. Don’t Believe the Hype We have a grass-is-greener approach to professions that are not our own. An example of a hyped up job is a lawyer. You see their exciting life on TV: a gloriously safe path from college to law school to a high paying job. But behind the scenes, each year if a survey is conducted to ask if lawyers would recommend their profession to other people and the vast majority of lawyers say no
  2. Don’t Over-commit

Testing out lots of different jobs is a great idea. Job hopping is the sign of someone who is genuinely trying to figure out where they fi t. Quitting when you know you’re in the wrong spot is a natural way to find the right spot. A resume with lots of wrong turns is not cataclysmic. You can hire a good resume writer to fi x the resume so it looks like you actually had focus and purpose. The important thing is to not over-commit to one path. Graduate school, for example, is over-committing because if you don’t end up liking that field, you will have spent four years gaining entrance into the field. Taking on college debt is over-committing because you are, effectively, saying you will only take jobs that are relatively high paying in order to service the debt. We guess that we will like stuff that is possible for us— that looks attainable—which is what makes us keep going in life. We are generally optimistic that things will get better. This is not rational because, for the most part, things stay the same in terms of how happy we are. You need to try stuff to see what will make you happy. Do that. It’s scary, because it’s hard to find out that what you thought would make you happy will not make you happy. But then, it’s true that being a realist is not particularly useful to human evolution either.

 

  1. Consider Your Future
  2. Consider the careers you have easy access to consider what career options are available for you to easily move into. These would be careers in which you have both the necessary skills and an “in”. Examples would be working for the same company as one of your parents, working for a family business, or working for a friend. If your options are limited, choosing a career in which you can quickly enter may be your best option.
  3. Consider your future financial security

Consider if the career path you are choosing will provide you with an acceptable level of financial security. In other words, will you be able to make enough money to support yourself and your family? Remember, this doesn’t have to be a lot of money or enough money by somebody else’s standards. All that matters is that it’s enough for you and what you want for your life.

  • Consider your future job stability

Consider a future career’s stability. Job markets fluctuate as society needs different things at different times. You will need to consider if the career you choose is stable enough for you and your desires for the future.

  1. Look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Gauge if a career option you are committing is a good idea by looking it up in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a guide, compiled by the Bureau of Lab our Statistics, which looks at what kind of education is required for different jobs, how much people in those careers make on average, and how much the demand for that job is likely to increase or decrease

Interest areas, based on John Holland’s Occupational Themes, will connect you to academic and career choices

Conventional – “The Organizers”

Are you interested in professions involving working with data and have clerical or numerical abilities? Do you like to carry things out in detail or follow through on instructions? Do you prefer structured situations to ambiguous ones? Do You Like…

  • Collecting memorabilia • Studying Tax Laws • Arranging and organizing your household or workshop
  • Writing family history • Playing computer or card games • Volunteering with civic organizations
  • Collecting any related objects • Exercising • Keeping club or family records and files • Developing Websites  • Reading home magazines  • Managing your finances

Do You Value…

  • Order • Accuracy • Precision • Predictability • Stability • Practicality • Dependability • Security •

Organization Do You Tend to Be…

  • Well-organized • Accurate • numerically inclined • Methodical • Conscientious • Efficient • Conforming • Orderly • Practical • Thrifty • Systematic • Structured • Polite • Ambitious • Obedient • Organized • Careful • Precise • Controlled • Responsible. • Conservative • Dependable • Loyal • Preserving • Self-controlled

Are You Drawn to Skills Involving…

  • Organization • Finance • Data Analysis • Record Keeping • Details, precision and defined tasks • Efficiency in organizational activities • Precise accounting and speaking • Using computer and business technology • Achieving material possessions and status • Business and economic achievement • Using mathematical abilities and manual dexterity • Organizing & maintaining office procedures • Writing business reports and making charts or graphs • Regular work hours • Following strong leaders

 Would You Rather Avoid…

  • Ambiguity • Undefined Tasks • Degree of Uncertainty • Vague Directions • Disorder • Unreliability

Occupational Areas to Explore…

  • Accountants • Actuaries • Administrative Services Managers • Air Traffic Controllers • Archivists • Assessors • Astronomers • Audio-Visual Collections Specialists • Audio and Video Equipment Technicians • Auditors • Bill and Account Collectors • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks Cashiers • Computer and Information Systems Managers • Computer Science Teachers, Postsecondary • Counter and Rental Clerks • Billing, Posting, and Calculating Machine Operators • Budget Analysts • Cargo and Freight Agents • Cartographers and Photo grammetrists • City and Regional Planning Aides • Claims Examiners, Property and Casualty Insurance • Computer Operators • Computer Programming • Construction and Building Inspectors • Cost Estimators • Court Clerks • Credit Analysts • Credit Checkers • Customer Service Representatives • Data Management • Dental Hygiene • Economists • Electrical Drafters • Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs • Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants • Financial Analysts • First-Line Supervisors/ Managers of Helpers, Laborers, and Material Movers, Hand • First-Line Supervisors/ Managers of Non-Retail Sales Workers Fire Inspectors • Food Service Management • Freight and Cargo Inspectors • Gaming Managers • Gaming Supervisors • Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks • Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management • Industrial Production Managers • Information Systems and Technology • Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage • Insurance Claims Clerks • Insurance Underwriters • Interviewers, Except legibility and Loan • Immigration and Customs Inspectors • Job Printers • Lawyers • Legal Secretaries • Library Assistants, Clerical • Library Technicians • Licensing Examiners and Inspectors • Mail Clerks and Mail Machine Operators, Except Postal Service • Mapping Technicians • Marking Clerks • Mathematical Science Teachers, Postsecondary • Mathematicians • Medical Records and Health Information Technicians • Municipal Clerks • Medical Secretaries • Meter Readers, Utilities • Office Clerks, General • Office Machine Operators, Except Computer • Paralegal • Parking Enforcement Workers • Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks • Pharmacists • Pharmacy Technicians • Physicists • Police Identification and Records Officers • Postal Service Clerks • Postal Service Mail Carriers • Procurement Clerks • Proofreader • Purchasing / Materials Management • Receptionists and Information Clerks • Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks • Secretaries, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive • Ship Engineers • Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks • Statisticians • Stock Clerks- Stockroom, Warehouse, or Storage Yard • Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service • Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents • Tax Preparers • Telephone Operators • Tellers • Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers • Transcriptionist • Treasurers and Controllers • Underwriter • Webmaster • Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products

Artistic – “The Creators” Are you interested in professions involving artistic, innovative, or intuitive abilities and like to work in unstructured creative and flexible environments? Do you like to express yourself through other mediums such as painting, drawing, writing, performing, or just creating? Do you value creativity, independence, originality, and unconventional ideas?

Do You Tend to Be…

  • Expressive • Creative • Original • Open to new experiences • Independent • Unconventional • Intuitive • Perceptive • Imaginative • Idealistic • Individualistic • Tend to like working alone • Inventive • Introspective

Are you drawn to Skills involving…

  • Creative Writing • Use of imagination • Drama • Use of Creative expression • Crafts • Innovative or Creative Ability • Music • Brainstorming new ideas • Art • Using your imagination • Design • Improvisation • Innovation

Do You Like…

  • Sharing your thoughts of ideas and things • Art History • Exposure to culture • Women Studies • Reading • Culinary Arts • Applied arts • Intellectual work • Appreciation of the arts • Taking photographs • Drama • Dramatics • Creative Writing • Music • Attending concerts, theater, art exhibits • Crafts • Reading fiction, plays, or poetry • Opportunities for self-expression • Expressing yourself creatively • History • Opportunities to create new things and be around creative people

Do You Value…

  • Self-expression of ideas, emotions, and sentiments • Beauty and aesthetic qualities • Imagination • Diversity • Creativity • Originality • Independence • Small intimate groups • Unconventional ideas •Making Things

Would You Rather Avoid…

  • Highly structured environments • Repetitive activities • Lack of Variety • Working solely with numbers • Few opportunities to create new things and ideas

Occupational Areas to Explore…

  • Actor/performance • Advertising • Architect • Art therapy • Author/poet • Attorney • Broadcast News Analyst • Choreographer • Composer • Corporate Trainer • Court Reporters • Critic/Reviewer • Culinary Arts • Dance therapy • Disc Jockey/radio announcer • Editor • English Teacher • ESL Instructor • Fashion designer • Fashion Illustrator • Film Editor/Director/ Producer • Fine Artist, including painters, • Sculptors and illustrators • Flight Attendant • Floral Designer • Foreign Language Interpreter • Graphic Designer • History Teacher • Interior Designer • Journalist • Landscape Architect • Library Science • Make-Up Artist • Medical Illustrator • Model • Multi-Media Artist • Museum Curator, Technicians, or conservators • Music Teacher • Musician • Painter • Photographer • Political Scientists • Public Relations Director • Public Administrator • Recreation Specialist • Reporter • Set and Exhibit Designer • Sociologists • Stage Technician • Technical Writer • Travel Guides • Urban and Regional Planner Occupational Areas to Explore… • Actor/performance • Advertising • Architect • Art therapy • Author/poet • Attorney • Broadcast News Analyst • Choreographer • Composer • Corporate Trainer • Court Reporters • Critic/Reviewer • Culinary Arts • Dance therapy • Disc Jockey/radio announcer • Editor • English Teacher • ESL Instructor • Fashion designer • Fashion Illustrator • Film Editor/Director/ Producer • Fine Artist, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators • Flight Attendant • Floral Designer • Foreign Language Interpreter • Graphic Designer • History Teacher • Interior Designer • Journalist • Landscape Architect • Library Science • Make-Up Artist• Medical Illustrator • Model • Multi-Media Artist • Museum Curator, Technicians, or conservators • Music Teacher • Musician • Painter • Photographer • Political Scientists • Public Relations Director • Public Administrator • Recreation Specialist • Reporter • Set and Exhibit Designer • Sociologists • Stage Technician • Technical Writer • Travel Guides • Urban and Regional Planner

Enterprising

Are you interested in professions involving sales, management or politics? Do you value positions of leadership, power and status?

 Do You Like…

  • Persuading others • Competitive Activities • Public Speaking • Managing others • Taking Risks • Entertaining clients • Political maneuvering • Selling • Leading others • Initiating Projects

Do You Tend to Be…

  • Energetic • Assertive • Ambitious • A Leader • Sociable • Charismatic • Adventurous • Articulate • Self-confident • Witty • Enthusiastic • Status Conscious • Dynamic • Optimistic • Competitive • Resilient

Do You Value…

  • Leadership • Achievement • Status • Competition • Adventure • Taking Initiative • Managing Others • Power • Risk Taking •

Excitement Occupational Areas to Explore…

  • Account Executive • Account Manager • Advocacy Associate • Assistant Deputy Defender • Athletic Director Attorney • Business Manager • Chief Executive Officer • College Dean • Director of Sales • District Restaurant Manager • Entrepreneur • Foreign Correspondent • Fundraiser • Hotel Manager • Lead Union Organizer • Lobbyist • Negotiator • Personnel Director • Politician • Public Relations Director • Real Estate Agent • Restaurant Owner • Retailer • Sales director • School Principal • Senior Marketing Director • Sports Reporter • Stockbroker • Store Manager • Territory Sales Manager • Travel Agent • TV Announcer

Investigative

People with Investigative interests have a strong scientific, inquiring orientation. They enjoy gathering information, uncovering new facts or theories, and analyzing and interpreting data. They are most comfortable in academic or research environments and pursue advanced degrees. They dislike selling and repetitive activities.

Do you like…

  • Analyzing and interpreting data and information • Solving problems independently • Ambiguity • Academic environments/ school • Uncovering new facts • Exploring theories • Classes in: • Biology • Chemistry • Physics • Math • Psychology • Philosophy • Economics • Computer Science • Sociology

Would you rather avoid…

  • Highly structured environments • Selling or promoting products • Repetition • Conforming to the values and attitudes of those around you

Do you tend to be…

  • Analytical • Intellectual • Precise • Independent • Self-motivated • Curious • Nonconforming • Introspective • Reserved • Problem Focused • Insightful • Critical • Rational • Logical • Inquisitive • Skilled in science, math, and/or writing • Task-oriented • Confident of scholarly and intellectual abilities • Original/creative • Nonconformist (values and attitudes) • Skeptical • Complex • Insightful

Are you drawn to skills involving…

  • Scientific investigation • Research • Analyzing • Technical writing • Math • Reading • Strategic planning/thinking • Computers/technology Do you value… • Scientific Arguments • Logic • Development and acquisition of knowledge • Problem solving using intellect • Independence • Figuring “it” out • Learning through experimentation • Originality • Abstract mental challenges • Intelligence • Academic achievement

Industries/Career Fields to Explore

  • Medical/Health Services • Technology • Science • Engineering and Design • Higher Education/Academia • Research and Development • Mental Health Services • Protective Services (i.e. detective)

Job & Internship Titles to Consider

  • Biologist • Psychologist • Psychiatrist • Physicist • Crime Scene Investigator • Detective • Computer Programmer • Doctor/Physician • Engineer • Pharmacist • Dietician • Mathematician • Math or Science Teacher • Geologist • Laboratory Assistant/ Technician • Medical Technician • Chiropractor • Computer Scientist • Veterinarian • Dentist • Optometrist • Research and development manager • Respiratory therapist • University professor • Environmental Scientist • Economist • Surgeon • Sociologist • Management Analyst • I/O Psychologist • Microbiologist • Statistician • Zoologist • Faculty member (university or college) • Pathologist • Geographer • Meteorologist • Radiologist • Anesthesiologist • Nurse Practitioners

Realistic – “The Doers”

Are you interested in professions involving working outside, working with things, materials, and plants or using your eye for detail? Do you value tradition, physical skills, practicality, and learning by doing?

Do You Like…

  • Working with your hands • Exposure to outdoor activities • Camping • Fixing things around the house • Tinkering with your computer • Taking photographs • Recycling • Sports • Physical Education • Installing • Drafting • Operating Equipment • Building things • Supervising facilities

Do You Tend to Be…

  • Physical • Hands on • Athletic • Good with machines • Good in emergency situations • Good at repairing things • Outdoorsy • Good with tools • Good at measuring things • Technical work

Are you drawn to Skills Involving…

  • Installing • Protecting • Observing • Measuring • Surveying • Operating • Building • Erecting • Excavating • Quality Control • Grooming • Repairing • Rescuing • Conserving • Securing • Testing

Do You Value… • Physical Dexterity • Persistence • Working Alone • Stability • Humility • Nature • Learning by doing • Independence • Down to earth types • Predictability

Would You Rather Avoid… • Highly social environments • Emotional situations • Working with lots of people • Teaching people • Counselling and listening to people’s problems • Flamboyant types

Occupational Areas to Explore…

  • Adventure Guide Archeological Field Technician • Athletic Coach • Athletic Trainer • Animal Caretaker Challenge Course Facilitator • Construction Manager • Computer and IS Operations • Conservationist • Construction Technologist • Electrician Emergency Medical Technician Engineering Technologist Environmentalist • Fitness Instructor • Forestry Preservationist Geographic Information Systems/CAD Technician Historic Preservationist • Horticulturist • Homeland Security Agent • Integrated Engineer Landscape Manager Museum Restoration Repair • Optometrist Assistant • Outdoor Educator • Park Ranger Search and Rescue • Pharmacy Technician Physical Education Instructor Police Sketch Artist • Restoration and Sustainability Coordinator • Stage Props Coordinator • Surveillance Manager • Technology Educator Social –

“The Healers”

Are you interested in professions that involve helping, training, or teaching abilities and enjoy working with other people in serviceoriented environments?

Do you value working with other people to enlighten, cure, or instruct them on areas of human growth and development?

Is it important that your career mean more to you beyond earning a paycheck?

Do You Like…

  • Working in teams • Helping others • Community service projects • Education • Giving advice • Religion and spirituality • Caring for People • Social sciences • Training • Human services • Counseling • Working with children/ students • Teaching • Provide hospitality • Solving problems through discussion • Motivate others

Do You Tend to Be…

  • Thoughtful of others • Caring • Compassionate • A mediator • Empathetic • A good listener • Generous • Cooperative • In leadership roles • An advocate for others • Open-minded • Dependable • Communicative • Aware of how others are feeling

Do You Value…

  • Interpersonal relationships • Teamwork • Helping people meet their full potential • Service to others • Generosity • Advocacy • Knowledge/learning • Sense of community • Moral fulfillment • Helping society

Are you Drawn to Skills Involving…

  • Verbal ability • Active listening • Empathic listening • Service orientation • Motivating others • Perceptiveness of others • Leadership • Conveying information • Counseling • Developing others’ knowledge and skills • Instructing • Providing feedback • Collaboration • Working with a group/team

Would You Rather Avoid… • Working with objects/things • No meaning beyond the paycheck • Competition • Physical Challenges • Working with Computer Hardware and Electronics Occupational Areas to Explore… • Athletic Trainer • Child Care Worker • Clergy • College Instructor • Community Service Director • Corporate Trainer • Dietician • Elementary School Teacher • ESL Instructor • Foreign Language Teacher • Flight Attendant • Foreign Language Interpreter • Healthcare Professional • Licensed Practical Nurse • Licensed Professional Counselor • Minister • Occupational Therapist • Parks and Recreation Manager • Physical Education Teacher • Physical Therapist • Psychologist • Registered Nurse • Rehabilitation Therapist • School Administrator • School Counselor • Secondary School Teacher • Social Science Teacher • Social Worker • Special Education Teacher • Speech Pathologist • Translator

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