Let’s face it, choosing a career path is a major decision. It is important to choose your career wisely because you will be spending 90,000 hours working throughout your entire life and you should be able to enjoy it! It doesn’t matter if you are a student, a graduate or someone who is after a career change, it is always helpful to have an idea of what you should do - or in this case what not to do.
So these are some of the things you should avoid doing when selecting a career:
#1 Not exploring yourself
Not being self-aware when choosing a career is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make. Getting to know yourself will help you realise what your skills, qualities and interests are. Questions such as “What are my key strengths?” and “What do I like doing?” will help become self-aware having a clearer idea of what you are good at. Also, make sure you know what your work values are. According to psychologist Donald Super, work values can help you determine your career goals and what job characteristics are important to you. Try identifying your work values by asking yourself “What do I want out of a job?”.
#2 Not exploring the world
In this case, “exploring the world” means finding out more about the occupations and areas that interest you as well as the prospects of each one. This might include exploring if they are currently available opportunities in a specific field or if there will be in the nearer future. The job market is constantly changing, thus make an effort to stay up to date with current trends. EURES can help you keep up with the trends of the job market in each European country and learn more information in regards to working conditions within Europe.
#3 Following in someone else’s footsteps
Many people chose to go into the same occupation as their parents’ but end up finding that their occupation is not satisfying their needs. Before deciding you want to follow your parents’ or someone else’s footsteps make sure that is also your decision. Just remember that your career is your chance to do something meaningful and that realising your career aspirations will make you and people around you happy in the long run.
Of course you can listen to what other people are saying and what they are advising you to do. However, do not let their opinion change what you believe is best for you. You may agree or disagree with them, but in the end you are the one who will decide which career suits you the most. Listen to the opinion of your parents and friends but make sure that your career choice is associated with your own life goals.
#4 Not talking to those in the field
Not talking to those in the field you are interested in is a huge mistake. Do your research and find out more about the career you are interested in. There are currently many ways to do it. Even if you don’t know anyone from your circle, visit the National Career Service’s website to explore a variety of job profiles or Jobs.nsw to watch useful career profile videos. Other people can inform you about the difficulties of their profession which they didn’t know about when they first started their career.
#5 Not realising who you want to work for
Don’t forget that there is always the choice of starting a business on your own. This is actually very important because most people do not think of that option right away when selecting a career. Being able to choose whether you want to work for yourself or someone else can be achieved through becoming self-aware. Also, it can be achieved through making sure you have the necessary skills such as leadership and creativity and funding resources in order to start your own business. Depending on your location there are various websites that can help you get funding for your business including SBA.GOV for US, GOV.UK for UK and Europa.eu for other European countries.
Career planning is a continuous process that requires you to be self-aware, to constantly explore your options and take informed decisions before finally taking action. Spending some time to decide which career is best for you might take much of your time and effort but it is going to be worth it!