11 Steps To Take if You’re Unsure of Your Career Path

Many students often had this question pondering in their minds about what they should do in their life after graduating from college. Some may have studied or majored in a field that didn’t match their interests or passion, and ended up pivoting their career paths – simply because the jobs or internships that they have worked at, are depressing and unsuitable for them.

So the big question is, “Where do I begin?” “How do I figure out what I want to do with my life?” As you are discovering what you want to do in life, the way to do it is by shifting your mindset from looking for a job, to achieving a purpose. Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. This is a reminder that what we want isn’t always what will be the best in the long run. You could say you have the passion to become a Mental Health Counselor because you have that kind of personality – compassion, empathy, therapeutic and you just love to talk to people. But you strongly dislike completing the caseloads and paperwork at the end of the session because administrative details aren’t really your forte.

With that being said, a good tip to consider for undergraduates or graduates who are still in school – you want to go behind the scenes in the professional world. In other words, you want to explore different career paths to see what really is your cup of tea. This will then establish your vision and clarity. Know where you want your dreams to take you.

Figure out your call to action. Prioritize what deserves your time, energy and happiness. Face the things that you have always desired to do and achieve. You want to map out a career plan/road map for yourself. What you want to do should align with your core values and strengths. Know and validate your strengths. Think about the jobs that you have worked for and think about what you do in your personal life and during your free time. List the things that you truly enjoy doing; things that bring a smile to your face and boosts your energy. Then list the things that you do not enjoy doing. Also, brainstorm and write down where you see yourself about 5-10 years from now.

You may also want to discover more things along the way. Discover what you don’t like by exploring, traveling, tasting, feeling, experiencing the things that you don’t like. Go out there and be fearless. Do the things that you’re afraid of because who knows, it may turn out to be your hobby/passion.

Another way in evaluating your core values, strengths, weaknesses, interests and skills are to take personality tests or career assessments to see where you want to be. There are numerous free career aptitude assessments that you may want to check out. Career Explorer also offers a free assessment to help you discover your career matches.

Once you have your road map in place, invest your time to hone those skills. Don’t compare yourself to your friends or connections who have landed a full-time role in Microsoft, Google, Facebook with good pay, perks and benefits. They are not you, and you are not them. Instead, you want to learn from them — and what I mean is learn from like-minded individuals — those who already have their life figured out and take advice from those who have what you want. In other words, surround yourself with individuals who are already at the level you want to be or those who possess similar goals who inspire you, motivate and encourage you to achieve your goals. Who you spend time with the most is who you will become. It’s important that you surround yourself with positive individuals — be it your friends, family members or colleagues. Surround yourself with friends, family members and colleagues who serve as your life mentors; they believe in you even if you don’t believe in yourself. Surround yourself with leaders who will set you up for success by helping you learn, grow and taking your life to a new level! LinkedIn is also a huge asset during your job search process. Reach out to your contacts on LinkedIn and set the tone. See below for an example.

Rushing yourself to create success will cost you more in the long run. Speed costs accuracy. You don’t want to do that. What you should do, is lay the foundations carefully step by step. Do these things accurately and slowly, and you will get to where you want to be in life. It is never too late to rewrite your future, reignite your dreams and reinvent yourself. Keep learning and growing because your greatest achievements haven’t been accomplished yet. You matter and your value doesn’t go unnoticed. Wishing you the best of luck in your future endeavors, future leaders and topdogs! Onward and upward!

Take a personality test

Personality tests can be helpful when you are unsure of your career path. Personality tests can help you identify strengths, weaknesses, your optimum working environment and preferred tasks. There are many personality tests available for free online.

Feeling lost in life… Unsure what path to take? Watch this

How to find your career path

Here are 11 steps you can take if you are unsure of your career path:

1. Consider how you spend your free time

Think about your hobbies and how you spend your downtime. Few people can turn their hobby into a full-time career, but identifying the things you love about your hobbies is a great first step when looking for a career path. For example, if you are an avid reader, you may not be interested in becoming a writer or editor. But your love of literature and desire to share that interest may make you an outstanding teacher.

To really dig deep into your hobbies, try this exercise:

2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Writing out your skills and weaknesses can help you identify common themes in your life. When listing your strengths, be sure to include technical and soft skills. Technical skills include things like proficiency in computer programming languages and mechanical skills. Soft skills include traits such as being detail-oriented and being an excellent team leader. Your list of weaknesses should be similar, listing activities you struggle with or standard work tasks you dont enjoy such as filing or typing.

Once you have a list of your strengths and weaknesses, check for common themes. For example, if you are detail-oriented, love math and excel at spreadsheet design, then an accounting job may be perfect for you.

3. Look at your previous jobs

List all the jobs you have had and describe the pros and cons of each one. Again, look for common themes across the list. If you are entering the workforce with limited employment history, consider listing your volunteer activities in this section.

4. Visit a career resource center or library

Most college campuses provide a career resource center that contains a library of books, magazines and online materials. Use the materials at the center to learn about job responsibilities, preferred skills, educational requirements, training and career trajectory. If you dont have access to a career resource center, you can find many professional journals and career-centered books at your local library.

5. Team up with a career counselor

If you prefer a one-on-one approach, find a career counselor or coach to guide you in your search. A counselor can help you find careers that best match your skills and preferences. Career counselors can introduce you to professionals in your field and guide you to internship opportunities. Besides guidance on your career path, career counselors will help you write your resume and improve your interview skills.

6. Take a personality test

Personality tests can be helpful when you are unsure of your career path. Personality tests can help you identify strengths, weaknesses, your optimum working environment and preferred tasks. There are many personality tests available for free online. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) are two free personality tests that may provide a deeper understanding of both your personality and career path.

7. Take a career aptitude test

There are many career-aptitude tests available online designed to help people who are unsure of their career path. An online search for career-aptitude tests will reveal many options, and most are free. These tests can help you focus your career options and can be helpful to your research by finding what youre best at.

8. Learn about potential careers

If you have a passion for a particular subject, research your field of interest by reading books and professional journals. You can also look for many free online classes available on just about any subject.

9. Spend time with industry professionals

Once you have an industry or job to focus on, talk with people in your desired role. An interview is a great way to understand the day-to-day tasks, career growth possibilities, educational requirements and successful traits of someone working in your dream job. If possible, spend time with multiple people in your preferred industry to see various roles and perspectives.

If the interview has piqued your interest, try shadowing a professional for a day. Job shadowing allows you to experience a professional workday and coworker relationships and work environment.

10. Take part in an internship

Although they rarely include pay, an internship is a great way to gain valuable industry experience. Internships also allow you to experience a career option for a short period. If you realize that a career option isnt for you, you can try something new in a short time.

11. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to explore career options. Volunteer work gives you an insiders view into a career path and connects you with like-minded individuals. Volunteer opportunities are easy to find online. Search via location, industry, cause or skills required to find volunteer options in your preferred field.

Why do you need a career path?

A career path is a direction created from the positions you hold as you grow in your field. Clearly defining your career path can mean spending your time and energy on work that you are passionate about, resulting in:

Tips to remember

Here are some essential tips to remember when exploring career options:

FAQ

Is it okay to be confused about career?

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Is it normal to doubt your career path?

If you’ve ever experienced self-doubt, rest assured it’s completely normal to question your own abilities. Questioning yourself it Is inevitable whenever you’re trying to achieve something you’ve never done before.

How do I figure out my career path?

Personal career path

If you’re ready to create your career path, start by making a list of the skills you’re good at, followed by your interests and hobbies. Then write down the things that matter most to you. Look at everything on your list and think about the industries that could benefit from your talent.

Is it normal to not know what career you want?

Don’t know what you want to do? It’s perfectly normal – in fact it’s one of the most common things we hear. Few people have a grand career plan when they leave university, and for many it’s daunting making such an important choice.

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