Oh wow, is Halloween just around the corner? Is that why we’re already speaking of spooky topics? Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration right there, but this is how many people see this self-reflective question: “What career is right for me?”. Well, to be fair, since we’ve known ourselves as human beings with more than two career options, we’ve started to wonder which one of them will make us happier and more successful. This being said, we often put so much pressure on our shoulders that we end up freezing and feeling lost. But guess what? It’s totally normal. You’re not alone. You’ve got around 7.8 billion people worldwide who have definitely come across and felt the same power effects of this exact question in their lives. Case in point, we’re here today to put all the cards on the table and clarify that this question is afterall, not that scary.
When trying to analyse what career to do or how to know what career is best for you, there are a few questions you can ask yourself:
What hobbies do I have?
What do I spend most of my time doing?
What do I feel pleasure doing? Can it be converted into a profession?
What I enjoy doing can somehow help me earn money along the way?
What do I have to do or what steps do I have to take in order to make it into my career?
Does it align with my principles/values?
Does it align with the schedule I want for myself? If not, can I deal with it or can I manage it without harming my well-being or leaving other important activities aside?
Can it support me financially short-term/long-term?
Where do I see myself living in the long run?
What environment do I see myself working in? Do I prefer to work by myself or do I see myself being a part of a team?
What’s my ultimate goal in life? (Though question, but doesn’t necessarily need to be connected to a career, it could be something like: “I see myself living by the beach, working remotely, and travelling the world” -- This person will most likely want a remote job and will then need to think what sectors offer similar opportunities).
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Please, don’t! We’re also a part of the 7.8 billion people and are here to assist you and guide you between these somewhat invasive questions. Think of us as your guiding angels, and remind yourself that although you might spend days, weeks, or even months reflecting & analyzing options, this time will not go to waste - we promise!
How do you know what career is right for you? Here are the 5 steps to take:
- Research options
- Write down a top 10 list
- Speak with professionals in the field
- Shadow, intern, or volunteer
- Trial time
Wait. Where did you go? Are you still here? Don’t panic. We’ll walk you through every step of the way until the final stage. The end goal afterwards is that whenever you ask yourself: What career suits me? Your first response will be: “the career that suits me is the career that makes me happy, keeps me mentally and physically healthy, provides me with a salary to support myself, and aligns with my values and career & life goals”. Do you think we’re being too optimistic? Well, guess what, if you don’t fight for the best for yourself, who will?
Are you ready? 1...2…3...Let’s dive in!
Remember the questions at the beginning of the article? What hobbies do you have? What do you spend most of your time doing? What actually brings you joy and perhaps, some peace of mind? Do you consider it rewarding? Can it actually bring you financial stability? These, between other questions, will help you give the kick-start to your “research project”. It will be the point of start to the unknown.
Firstly, what do we mean by researching options? What tools can you use? Researching in this case means to explore what’s out there, dropping some words in Google, Social Media, or going to libraries & museums to look for information on specific topics.
When browsing vocations, it's important to be mindful of what kind of environment you wish to work in. Do you prefer to work by yourself in individual projects, or do you rather work with a team towards a common goal? The reason why you should bring this up when researching is because if you prefer to have your own projects and have more freedom and flexibility, you might lean towards a start-up company. Now, if you’re more into a highly competitive setting, being supervised, and the hierarchy system thrills you, then you might be happier in a multinational company.
Now, let’s be more specific. Let’s say you enjoy learning new languages, writing, and watching movies. You also spend most of your time on Netflix, travelling, and earning new degrees. Okay, now what?
Start by writing a list of existent careers in these fields, but don’t ignore the fact that yours might not exist yet. Following our example, here are some sentences/words you could type in your Google search box:
What jobs can I pursue with writing?
Remote jobs for travellers?
Writing careers in demand
Great, now open up a Google doc or write down what your research has provided you with on a piece of paper. Here is what our sample research looks like:
Public relations specialist
Social media specialist
And many more.
Again, keep in mind that your dream position might not exist yet, or it’s a combination of professions. Make sure to always keep your mind open.
Great! Now we have a better idea of what’s out there in the market or what can be relatable to what you could enjoy doing and pursuing as your career. However, you might be finding yourself with over 30-40 options, so this next step is to ask yourself that question one more time: “How to decide what career is right for me?”
Let’s grab that 30 options list, sit down somewhere comfortably, take a deep breath, and start highlighting the career that calls your attention the most. Here is a trick to help you make it easier. Start by removing the positions that don’t resonate so much with yourself and which you have just written down because it could be associated somehow with the hobbies you enjoy doing.
(We’ll give you a few minutes to draw a line in those professionals until you come down to 10)
Yes, it’s not the easiest task in the world, which is why we understand if you have a few more than 10. But try to highlight and put a star next to the 10 jobs that call your attention the most. If necessary, invest some time doing extra research.
You must be wondering… How can I find these professionals in the first place? Here is where you turn to your network contact book. A first step could be to contact your high school or university mentors, professors, lecturers, and then family friends and acquaintances.
Another amazing idea would be to start adding people on LinkedIn. Those who work in roles you’re interested in applying to. Maybe you’ll find a nice person ready to share their experience with you. It’s important to mention that you should interview at least three (3) people in each profession as every person has a different experience and you definitely don’t want to base your career plan on one (1) perspective only.
This next step is crucial as it will give you real life insights and present you with facts:
Questions you could ask them:
What is your occupation & title?
Why did you choose this career?
How did you get your job with this company? What was the process?
What are the requirements to get to your role? (education, certificates, training, and soft & hard skills overall)
What does your schedule look like? (working hours)
What characteristics do you need to have to perform well at your job?
What are some current challenges in the field?
What is your salary and/or expected salary in the field depending on your position (if they don’t mind answering)?
What are your daily tasks?
What career growth opportunities are out there in this career?
How has your role/profession changed since you started working in the field?
What do you like/dislike about your job?
What is your company culture? Do they value employees in your position/department?
Do you take work home?
What would you tell a student interested in pursuing your career?
Do you see any impactful or relevant changes happening in your industry within the next 5 years?
Yes, there are so many questions that it looks like an interrogation. However, this will help you paint the big picture, and therefore, you’ll be happy you went through every single one of them.
Let’s take another break now for some self-reflection:
Stop asking: “what job should I do?” or “What career is best for me?” just for a few minutes. Instead, reflect on a time or experience in which you felt joy, aliveness, and excitement. They can be anything from a university project to a daily activity like working out. Now, try to connect these feelings to one of your top 10 options listed and imagine the perfect work environment. What are you experiencing? What kind of role are you playing? Do you feel comfortable with it?
This kind of exercise is extremely helpful, especially if you haven’t had a lot of on-the-job learning and are trying to find your dream career.
Here is the part where you decide to become your own project’s guinea pig. This is the moment to shadow, which can be done by interning or volunteering.
Of course, you might not want to shadow 10 different careers. So you can start by mixing and matching your profession preferences in different fields to get the best of both worlds. What does that mean? Let’s get back to our blog example (e.g. writing). One option could be to shadow a professional writer in either a marketing agency, public relations & communications department, TV studio, or even a translation company. Find industries that call your attention and encounter opportunities to intern side-by-side professionals pursuing the career you want for yourself.
You might think that interning will be a waste of time and will not get you anywhere, but don’t forget that this is your chance to also get a foot in the door. Who knows, you might end up loving your experience and ending your intern contract with a full-time offer. Believe it or not, international interns bring great value to companies.
So, let’s lessen the amount of times you question what career to choose or what job should I have, and increase your chances to figure that out by putting yourself out there!
It’s trial timeeeee! It’s time for you to choose the career that speaks to you the most, it’s time to give it a try and apply to a position that will provide you with the opportunity to experience it.
One tip, though. Let’s say you graduated studying X, but ended up wanting to work with Y. It’s okay, it’s totally normal. Believe it or not, it happens to most of us. And no, your education will not go to waste. You will definitely use what you’ve learned throughout your life and career. You’ll encounter multiple moments in which you’ll say to yourself: “oh wow, I did study that at university and it’s certainly useful to effectively perform this task”.
Anyways. Are you ready for this adventure? Take the bull by the horns and face it out! We’re more than excited for you!
We hope that from now on, whenever you question yourself: “What career is right for me?” These few steps will be able to bring you some peace of mind. It might also help to take into consideration that you’re not alone and that over 7 billion people have gone, are going, or will go through the same situation. Moreover, there are several job opportunities out there for you to browse, don’t sell yourself short.
Some people pass their entire lives trying to figure out their dream career and what they are meant to do in life, and who knows, maybe that’s the point of it all. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know your insights in the comment section below.