Career Advice

How to Choose the Perfect Career Path

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Children often know exactly what it is they want to do when they grow up. Even if the ambition lasts just a few days at a time, for that short period, they are completely committed. Unfortunately, as we get older and see more of the world, this certainty fades as we become more realistic about what’s actually involved in different types of careers, as well as our own interests and skills. When we reach the end of our education, we may have some idea of our options, but it’s incredibly challenging to know which career path is the right one to take. If this predicament sounds familiar, take a look at this guide to choosing the perfect career path.

When we reach the end of our education, we may have some idea of our options, but it’s incredibly challenging to know which career path is the right one to take.

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Take a good look at yourself

The first stage of your process should be to take a good look at yourself. You need to honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your soft skills (or lack of), interests, values, and your personality. There are lots of personality tests out there which can help you to identify your key traits as well as career tests which will assess which careers you are most suited to. Some will also generate a list of possible careers which you should consider. Alternatively, you could arrange an appointment with a career counselor or similar professional who can advise and support you as you think through your options carefully.

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Create a list of possible careers

Now you have a list of potential careers based on your conclusions about yourself and any self-assessment tests you took; the next step is to make a list. It should include of all of those which appeal to you, those which you know nothing about and even some which you have previously dismissed. You need to conduct research on each of them, and you never know what you might discover during the process.

Research each of the careers on your list

Work through your list of careers to find out the key information you need. This includes descriptions of the roles, key responsibilities, the qualifications required, potential salaries, and opportunities for advancement in the future.

Streamline your list

You should be able to rule out several of the careers on your list after your research. For example, some careers could include poor future prospects, responsibilities, or required skills you would find uncomfortable or would require higher education or training which you are not able or willing to achieve. Ideally, your shortlist should include no more than 3 to 5 possible careers as you will want to look into each of them thoroughly.

Arrange interviews with professionals in each career

To get a real insight into the last few choices you have in front of you, you should deepen your research. The best way to get a real idea of what’s involved in a career is to interview people who are already working in those jobs and in your chosen industry. They will be able to give you honest advice and may even be able to put you in touch with contacts who could arrange an internship or work shadowing.

“Whether you want to explore new challenges within a career interest or to experience something new and exciting outside of your current career scope, you have options.” – A New Path in Life

Choose your career path

Your research should help you to gain enough of an understanding of each option to choose your career path. You should choose the path which makes you feel passionate and motivated and which gives you enough flexibility and opportunities for development in the future. Of course, your choice is not set in stone, and it’s common for people to adjust or change their career in the future. You can only make a decision based on the information you have at the time.

Establish your career goals

When you have made your decision, it’s time to work out what you want to achieve in your career in both the short-term (6 months to 3 years) and long-term (4 to 6 years). You need to work out what education and training you will need and how long those will take to complete. If you need to attend college, how will you fund your course? There are government loans and grants, but often these aren’t enough to cover all the costs of study, and additional private loans might be needed. You can find out more about the best private student loans at

Finalize your career plan

Finally, you should finalize your career plan in a written document. This plan should set out all the steps you need to take to enable you to reach each of your career goals. You may even want to include a rough timeline, any potential obstacles you might meet along the way, and how you can overcome those obstacles. From short-term goals to long-term aspirations, your plan will help you to stay on track when you feel you are losing your way once your career has started.

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