You are in school and you need to choose a career. You made it, you got into the school of your choice. You have registered for some classes, maybe you have even finished a few semesters. But now reality is knocking at your door and you are realizing it’s time to make some life decisions.
You want to make sure you have a degree that is marketable, that will help you land job, and not just any job, but one you enjoy and can see yourself doing for many years.
With so many choices, classes, options, and interests, how are you supposed to choose? Here are five steps that can help you narrow down your choices, get organized, and decide on a career.
1. Make a List
Fold a sheet of paper in half length-wise and on the left list your interests. They can be talents, hobbies, activities you participate in, or even just things you enjoy reading about. On the other side of the fold, list people you know who have jobs that interest you and any “dream jobs” you have thought about.
Now look for ways your interests and talents correlate with the jobs you listed. For example, maybe you love to watch make over shows on television and subscribe to fashion magazines and listed “fashion designer” as a dream job. Since you have interests and that are in line with a dream job, you know this is a path worth pursuing.
Or maybe one of the talents you listed is that you are good with people and on the other side of the page you wrote down the name of your friend who is a customer service manager. This is another path to explore.
2. Talk to Professionals
Choose the top five interests and jobs you want to look in to. Your school guidance counselor can give you ideas of jobs that are related to your interests and show you what it takes to land your dream job. It may be more attainable than you thought.
Next talk to some the people on your list about their job, what they like about it, what they don’t like about it, what a normal day is like for them, and what education they needed to land the job. Then reach out and contact local professionals in the areas your guidance counselor suggested.
3. Try Some Classes
Chances are you have taken a few jobs off your list now that you have spoken to your counselor and some professionals.
Now enroll in a few courses in the areas you have left. For example, if you have police officer on your list, take a criminal justice class. Introduction classes are great ways to get a glimpse of the nitty-gritty details of a career. You will be able to tell if you love the subject manner or are board in class: one more indicator this job may or may not be for you.
4. Do Your Research
If you enjoy taking classes in a specific area, and were excited at the thoughts of landing a job in the field after talking to professionals, chances are this is a career you will love. The next step is to do some research so you can make sure the career is for you and that your education will be a worthwhile investment.
Make sure your school offers a degree that will help you land the job, look into hiring rates, explore the salary potential of a specific job. Look into career options and advancement possibilities. Try to find out what the industry will be like in 20 years.
5. Be an Intern
It is time to put your career choice to the ultimate test. Nothing will tell you if the job is for you like an internship will. While interns are often at the bottom of the totem pole, they still get a hands-on look at careers. You will see what it’s like to have the job, you will learn what opportunities for growth are available, and you will get a taste of the industry.
If you find you love your internship and that you can see yourself working in the field for years, you have a winner and should take the leap by enrolling in the appropriate program at your school.
However, if you find that you don’t love your internship, be grateful you found out the industry wasn’t for you before it was too late. Go back to your list and explore other options, take more classes, and talk to more professionals. With a little bit of research you will find the job of your dreams!
About the Author
Rachel Call is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online colleges and online courses they can choose from to reach their goals, including earning an online bachelor’s or master’s degree, or even an online PhD.