Your career choice has far-reaching implications for your happiness, health, and financial status. Considering you'll spend roughly one-third of your life at work, you must take the time to reflect and choose the best career path for you and set some career goals and aspirations.
Your career aspirations are your vision for your future. They are what you hope to achieve in your professional life in the years to come. A career aspiration is a long-term dream that you pursue, often accompanied by a 5-year plan.
You may not have a concrete plan for achieving your occupational aspirations. However, you keep them in mind when making decisions that affect your future.
Career aspirations are not the same as career goals. A goal is usually a more specific, short-term objective with a detailed plan to achieve it.
As a senior in high school, you have probably been questioned about your career goals and aspirations. But, how do you know what your career aspirations are?
The truth is - many of us hope to know what our career goals are as soon as we graduate high school, but as we try out certain roles and uncover our professional strengths and weaknesses, these goals likely change over time.
In this blog, we explore ways for you to determine your career goals for long-term professional fulfillment. Let's dive in.
If we need to set out to align our career objectives, it has to start with self-awareness, which can only happen through self-assessment. A SWOT analysis would be a great way to assess our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (areas of improvement), and Threats (areas of concern). Journaling is also a recognized and proven method of self-reflection, which allows an individual to identify their strengths and interest areas. You must also be aware of your values and beliefs to know which career paths truly align with them.
Scanning resources that list a variety of career possibilities can help you come up with a list of options worth investigating. You can try the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for career profiles and data in a variety of fields, or make attempts at the free online personality and career quizzes to get ideas on what career would be a good fit for someone with your interests and qualifications.
Once you have a tentative idea of some careers worth investigating, you will need to research them in detail to assess their suitability further.
Career counseling is a process that will help you to know and understand yourself and the world of work to make career, educational, and life decisions.
Career counseling has great significance in today's era, primarily due to the overwhelming number of options available - be it stream, course, college, or workplace. Not only does counseling help an individual choose the right career, but a counselor also provides expert resources and knowledge about the different careers and helps you plan your way up the career ladder.
If a field still holds your interest after reading about it and speaking with professionals in that sector, try to look for a job shadow. Job shadowing refers to the on-the-job learning process in which you can observe and follow a skilled professional or colleague. Spending time in the work environment can give you an insider perspective and you will be able to gauge whether the role might be a good fit for you. Further, it will help you develop contacts in the field.
It can be a great way to know if they want to pursue a specific career before applying for employment or internships.
Internships are another way of getting that practical exposure in the field of your interest. Internships can be an extremely beneficial experience for high school students. You’ll gain real-world work experience that boosts your confidence and helps you make a more informed choice about your college major and future career. It is important to note that internships are available for high school students as well, you just have to be diligent enough to reach out to the right people and look out for the right resources.
You should be geared up to make that impending informed decision by now. List the pros and cons for each career option that interests you on a separate sheet of paper and weigh the choices. Do not forget to check each of their job outlook and average salary while doing so. If you are still unsure, seek the assistance of a counselor or a professional career coach.