High school is a great time to think about careers. All your life, you must’ve been asked what you want to do when you grow up. High school is the time to work towards making that happen.
Many high schoolers don’t yet know what they want to do. If you’re still in high school, you may not be sure of your vocation. But you can still start thinking about—and planning for—your future before graduation. Remember that settling on just one occupation in high school isn’t necessary, but looking into the types of careers you might like can help set you up for success.
If you're looking for an answer to one of the most daunting questions, "How do I pick my career", this article is for you!
Careers start well before the first day of a new job. Most people need some preparation before they’re ready for the workforce, and planning should begin long before it’s time to start a career. This could include taking technical courses during high school or, after graduating, attending a college or university to earn a certificate or a degree. Knowing what type of career preparation you need begins with thinking about what type of career you want.
However, of course, finding your right career won't happen overnight, and it may take time to find the right trajectory for you. Luckily, we have been there, and we're here to help!
Here are five steps you can take toward discovering the career that will truly satisfy you.
Assess Yourself: Before you can choose the right career, you must learn about yourself- your values, interests, soft skills, and aptitudes, in combination with your personality type make some occupations a good fit for you and others completely inappropriate.
You'll spend a considerable amount of your life at work, so you must enjoy what you do to remain motivated and work to your full potential. Thus, the first step toward making a wise career choice is knowing yourself.
As you’re reflecting, you may want to write down your notes. These can be helpful references when evaluating job descriptions in the future. You may start by asking yourself the following questions-
Take career assessments: Remember being given career personality tests in high school that would tell you what you should be when you grow up? They may have seemed silly, but career assessments can be an incredibly useful tool in discovering your path, especially if you aren’t sure where to start.
Use career assessment tools and career tests to gather information about your traits and generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on them. Some people seek help from a career counselor or other career development professionals to navigate this process.
One key tip to remember- a career assessment isn’t a shortcut but a tool. It’s up to you to use it.
Explore career ideas: You probably have multiple lists of occupations in front of you at this point—one generated by each of the assessment tools you used. To keep yourself organized, you should combine them into one master list. Now, find any occupations on your lists that appeal to you. They may be careers you know a bit about and want to explore further or those about which you don't know much.
Now you can get some basic information about each of the occupations on your list. Find details like job descriptions and educational, training, and licensing requirements in published sources. Use government-produced labor market information to get data about earnings and job outlook. While researching your options, review the educational and professional requirements, consider work-life balance, assess the potential for job satisfaction, and most importantly, think about your short-term and long-term goals.
Get experience through internships: If internet research can give you a taste of what an occupation is like, imagine how helpful getting experience could be. Students can begin getting career-related experiences in high school through internships, employment, and other activities.
Completing an internship is an excellent way to get experience. Internships are temporary, supervised assignments designed to give students or recent graduates practical job training. Sometimes, internships or other experiential learning positions are built into educational programs, and students receive academic credit for completing them.
Make a decision: Perhaps after ample research and practical exposure, you do realize you want to become a doctor, a nurse, an engineer, a teacher, a computer developer, a writer, or an entrepreneur.
That's great! You're ready to start making decisions. Combine what you've learned about yourself with what you've discovered about your options and the graduate jobs market to make a career choice. From your list, decide which role interests you the most and select one or two alternatives to fall back on if you're not able to pursue your first choice.
If you're struggling to conclude, there are numerous exercises you can try to aid the decision-making process. Listing the pros and cons of a particular career is often useful, as is completing a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.
Realize that you are allowed do-overs if you change your mind about your choice at any point in your life.
Everyone’s career path is unique, and there is no right way to start a career.
Whatever career you choose, remember that you can change your mind at any time. There’s always the flexibility to shift course.
The important thing is to have the confidence to work toward your ideal career, even if it seems out of reach.