There are many decisive individuals who’ve always known what they wanted to be when they “grew up.” Whether they were born knowing that they love building things or that they want to help animals, like Student Ambassador Elizabeth Sears, these focused people don’t struggle choosing the career path they want, though they may have a winding path toward the career of their dreams. Not everyone, though, has always had a clear vision of what they want to do with their life and that’s okay! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the options out there and you might find yourself in a career you love so much that it seems like you’re not even working. How do you pick the right career for you?
What do you like to do? The first step toward figuring out the right career for you is often as simple as considering what you like to do. For example, it’s taking one step further than knowing you love animals; what daily tasks do you like to work on? Do you enjoy desk work and paperwork? Creating spreadsheets and using different office tools? Or do you like to work in a fast-paced, messy environment where no two days are the same? If you prefer the organized option, you may want may to take that love of animals in a direction that fits that, like becoming a Veterinary Practice Manager. You get the opportunity to help animals, but from the business side of animal care. Then again, if you prefer the fast-paced, potentially messy tasks you might be better suited to becoming a Veterinary Technician. This sort of exercise can work for almost any field. Make a list of tasks you know you enjoy on a regular basis at work, think about what industry you can use those skills in, and explore the various options available. Most jobs and companies need more than one type of position to run effectively, so thereismore out there than you know. Whatever you’re interested in, be realistic about you like doing on a regular basis and what you’re good at. While there are a million careers that seem glamorous and cool, if you don’t like the day-to-day tasks, you’re going to struggle to succeed.
Take a quiz or two! Not sure where your talents and interests might take you? A great first step in figuring out the right career for you can be as simple as taking a career aptitude quiz. There are some great free quizzes out there that can help you figure things out, like this test from the Princeton Review. You may get an answer that will point you in the direction of a job you love, such as: “Based on your answers, you should consider a creative career like being a graphic artist or writer.” Great! Personality quizzes like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator may not prescribe a certain career or path, but can give you insight into the kind of work environment you should consider. You can narrow down what careers and industries you’re interested in by learning more about yourself. No quiz or exam, no matter how highly regarded and accurate, can determine your future, but they can provide some food for thought and give you some insight into how your personal preferences translate to a career you love.
Ask for help. There’s no shame in not knowing what you want to do with your life. You may have already tried on a few different careers and are still looking for the perfect fit. Instead of worrying that you’re missing something, take some time to ask for advice from a trusted mentor, teacher, or friend. They know your skills and personality and can help you narrow down the list of things you’d be interested in pursuing. There are also resources available to help you figure out where to start, like the Penn Foster Career Coaches. They’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them at 1.800.572.1682.
Whether you’re planning out your first career or the fifth, taking time to consider what will make you happy in a job can save you frustration later. It’s often said that you should find a job you love so you’ll never work a day in your life. There’s no better time than now to figure out what makes you happy.