What To Do When You’re Unsure Of Which Career Path to Take

What To Do When You’re Unsure Of Which Career Path to Take

Here are five things to consider when deciding on which career path to choose.

Deciding on which career path to choose can be a very difficult decision. Even though you may have studied a particular subject in high school or college, there may be some uncertainty around your decision. Your parents may have certain expectations of a career path you should take. Or, if you have been working for some time and are considering a career transition, you may have a spouse or trusted people influencing your decision.

It’s never easy when other people weigh in. To make the best decision for you, here are three things to consider.

1.  What are you passionate about?
This type of thinking may be contrary to everything you have been taught when it comes to determining your career path. When you take time to think about what you are passionate about, you are not thinking about the career path someone else wants for you. Instead, you are truly focused on what you want.

Don’t take this lightly, I suggest actually spending time in a relaxed environment, undisturbed to think about your purpose. This time is spent learning about yourself – what you desire out of life and what motivates and drives you.

Ask yourself questions like:

What do I really like to do?

What are my natural gifts and talents?
How do I spend my free time?
How did I stand out from others when I was younger?
What did teachers, parents and family members praise me for?
What skill sets have I already received training in?

2.  Take a personality assessment.
There are several assessments that can help you raise your self-awareness. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment are a few of the most common ones I use with my clients.

Both are highly respected and work incredibly well to reveal some of the hidden talents you have that may just lead you to the job you’ve always dreamed of. They do this by giving you a general idea of your talents and abilities. That awareness can lead you to identify the exact type of career you truly want. It is a great starting point to begin your transition to a new career path.

If you would like more information about either of these assessments, email me atcowens@infinitycoaching.net for help.

3.  Explore different career fields.
You have to spend time identifying careers that interest you. Ask yourself one simple question: what do I want to do? It may seem like a simple question, but for many people it can be a hard one to honestly answer.

Think about all the careers that align with your passions. Don’t limit yourself. Just allow your mind to be as creative as possible and write them down. By keeping an open mind, and being creative in your thinking, ideas will reveal themselves to you. And I bet, that list is far more interesting than the one everyone else tells you to follow.

4.  What’s missing?
As you looked at the careers and industries you wrote down, can you see a few missing skill sets needed to perform the duties? If so, how can you obtain those skills?

Just because you don’t have all the skills needed in this moment doesn't mean that door is closed to you. Consider going back to school or receiving on-the-job-training. Also see if there a mentor you can work with that can fill in the missing pieces.

You may have to take an entry-level position within a company to gain the knowledge, but having a plan to work your way up within to company you want to be in is a great step towards a happy and productive future.

5.  Do your research.
Next, spend time researching the specific industries and jobs that exist within your “new” field. For example, if you want to go into the financial industry, there are accountants, money managers, insurance brokers, financial planners, corporate finance positions, investment banking and more.

As you explore each industry, look deeper to get a whole picture about the job. What does it pay? Who is hiring? Where in the world do people practice that skill? Would you need to relocate? What is the turn-over rate? Are people in those jobs happy? Satisfied? Burned out? Do they get (and TAKE) their vacations? How are childcare, sabbaticals, or other time off handled? What about specific physical requirements to perform the duties of the job? Is it an industry that is on the decline?  If so, you will really have to consider if the transition is worth it for you.

The internet is the most powerful research tool available today and it can provide much of the information for you. Gather as much information as possible so you can make the best decision for you.

For many people, this last step is the hardest. While the Internet offers lots of information, curating it, making sense of it and deciding if what you find is “real” isn’t always as easy as typing a search into a Google box. Sometimes, this is the point where people feel stuck; the sheer weight of making a “good decision” stops them in their tracks.

This is the exact moment when a career coach can really help. Career coaches are not only adept at doing the online research and using assessment tools, but they are unbiased. They work for you so you can make the very best decision for this important transition in your life.

Transitions are a big deal. All too often we undermine their importance and sweep under the rug the toll they have on us emotionally. It’s important to ask yourself the tough questions and be truthful with yourself. Include your family in the process but don’t be afraid to ask for help and in turn help others who follow.

Most of all, take time to listen to your heart and determine what YOU really want to do. 

If you find yourself in need of help, please email me at cowens@infinitycoaching.net or visit my website at www.infinitycoaching.net to see how we can work together. I can help you achieve both – a great new job and make the transition to the next phase of your life both happy AND successful.

This article was originally published at The Infinity Coaching Leadership Blog . Reprinted with permission from the author.