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What Factors Do You Need To Consider When Choosing A Career?

There will come a point in most people’s lives when they have to choose a career path. This might happen at a very young age; it might happen much later in life – perhaps when you’ve been working in one area for decades, only to realize that it’s not what you want to do. Really, it makes no difference when you need to make this decision; the fact is, you will need to make it, and it’s crucial you make a good one. Even if you change your mind later on, as we’ve mentioned, if you chose well at the beginning, then you won’t have wasted any of your working years. 

Yet choosing the right career is not something you can do without plenty of thought and research. You’ll need to take your time and consider a number of different factors before you make a final decision. After all, if you need to gain a qualification, this will take time and money, and you’ll need to know you’ve made the right choice. Equally, if it’s an experience you need, then you won’t want to work to get this and then change your mind because you weren’t fully prepared to do what you need to do. 

So what are the factors you will need to consider before making a choice and starting the work required to do well in your profession? Read on to find out. 

What Is The Job Availability?

Something that is very important when it comes to choosing a career is how many jobs are actually available in that sector. Many people won’t think about this, and they will start studying or make plans revolving around getting a particular type of job, only to find that when they start applying for work, there are very few options open to them. This can mean having to start all over again and choose something else, or it could be that you remain unemployed for some time while you wait for a position to become available. Remember also that when there are few jobs, competition for those jobs will be fierce, and unless you are truly at the very top of your field, getting a job that will suit you is going to be even harder. 

This is why it’s important to ascertain just what level of job availability there is before you make any final choices. You can then decide whether you still want to continue with your plans or if there might be something else you could do that would offer better job prospects. The choice is yours, but you can’t make that choice until you have all the facts

Interest And Passion

When planning your career, whether it’s your first or you’re switching careers after having worked in another field for a while, you need to consider what your interests and passions are. What is it you really enjoy doing? This doesn’t have to be something specific; it can be more of a vague idea. For example, some people might know they enjoy spending time with children, so they’ll want a career that allows them to do that. Others might know they want to help people or that they want to work outside or with animals or in healthcare. What drives you? What are your passions? Figuring the answers to these questions out is crucial because they will at least point you in the right direction when it comes to researching and narrowing down your ideas for the right career path for you. 

Job satisfaction is so important, and it matters. If you’re not happy with your work, you’ll find that it becomes very hard to muster any motivation to do anything. Once this happens, you’ll become stressed, anxious, unproductive, and this will manifest in other areas of your life as well. You don’t have to love every second of every day at work, and most don’t, but it is important to enjoy as much of it as possible. By thinking carefully about your passions and interests and following them, you’ll find a career path that makes you happy and keeps you satisfied. 

What Are Your Skills?

Having the right skills means that you can do your job in the right way. You’ll find it relatively easy, and even if there are things to learn – which there will undoubtedly be – you will enjoy learning them because they are things you are innately good at. It makes sense, then, to understand your skills, know just what they are, and work out which careers will allow you to utilize them in the best way or ways. 

In an interview, it’s likely that a potential employer will actually ask you what your skills are, so imagine this is the case and answer carefully as you would answer them. Be honest with yourself. Don’t pretend to be good at something just because it fits neatly with your idea of what is needed for a job. If your skills and talents don’t fit, then this is a sign that this is not the job for you, or rather, it’s not currently the job for you. You can always learn skills to help you do better, but if they are skills you’re not going to enjoy learning or that you know you wouldn’t be able to pick up, then move on to a different career because you could be about to make a big mistake. 

Level Of Education

This consideration is an easy one to start and a more challenging one to complete. First, think about the kind of career you are hoping to get started in. What level of education do you need? Do you need to have finished high school? Do you need education in terms of on-the-job training from a previous position? Perhaps it’s a degree, or even a master’s or Ph.D., that is required before you can get started. 

Once you know what you need, you can work out the right path to achieve these goals. However, there will potentially be many different routes to get to the same outcome, and this is a positive thing. In essence, if you know the end goal, you can take the path that suits you best to get there. So if you want to work as a counselor, you might opt for a specific degree in counseling, or you could do something more general (and potentially more useful because of its broader range of learning) such as a BSHS, for example. 

You can also work in the opposite direction. If you know that you don’t want to attend college, or you already have a degree and don’t want to train anymore, you can look at the careers available to you with the education you already have. In either case, this will stop you from applying for jobs for which you are either over or under-qualified

You can also work out whether, even if the level of education you have at the moment is exactly what is required to get the job you are looking for, there will be more training needed at a later date. It could be that if you want to achieve a higher position in your career, you will need to continue to train or achieve additional qualifications. Consider acquiring skills online, like healthcare workers getting an online certification in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support).Is this something you are happy to do? It’s a big consideration to think about, but it’s an important one depending on your ambitions and what you truly want to achieve in life and in your profession. 

How Do You Handle Stress?

Your ability – or otherwise – to handle stress at work and in general is another thing you’ll need to take into account when you are picking a potential career path to go down. Some people are much more suited to working in more stressful environments because they have happy to be challenged, and this becomes even more true if they also really do love what they do for a living. Others prefer not to have to do this and would like to work in a calmer environment because they find stress to be far too uncomfortable, and perhaps they even have a health condition (physical or mental) that means they should be avoiding stress as much as possible. 

Every job will have its own set of stressors within it. There is unlikely to be any job that is not going to have any stressful moments, and if there were, this in itself could, ironically, become stressful over time as it wouldn’t be challenging enough for anyone, even those who prefer not to have to deal with issues of this nature. 

In other words, you need to determine how much stress you are happy to handle and consider jobs that offer you the challenges or otherwise that you’re looking for. For someone who tries to avoid stress, taking on a role in a busy hospital or as a teacher may not be suitable. For someone who loves challenges, a role in a quiet store or office won’t work out. Think about how you handle stress and find a job that matches your needs. 

Salary Structure

How much you make and how you make that money should not be the main focus of why you are choosing a job. Although it might seem as though it’s a good idea to pick a career with the best payment package, the reality is that if you don’t have the skills, education, and passion for it, you’ll come to resent it no matter what the salary is. The problem is that when it’s a high salary, it will be even harder to walk away and do what you should have been doing in the first place; we all live up to – and sometimes beyond – our means. So taking a pay cut to follow your dreams may not be something you feel is possible, especially if you also feel that you should have made the right choice to begin with. 

Although mistakes happen, and although you may still change your mind about your career years after being sure that you made the right choice, it’s still important to think carefully right at the start and to know what kind of salary you need to live on. Try to choose a job that fulfills all the other criteria you can think of before you look into the salary. If everything else is right, then the salary – although important – won’t be the be-all and end-all of any career decision. 

Job Experience

The experience you have in life and in your studies and any jobs you might have had – even part-time ones taken while you studied or considered your options – will also need to be taken into consideration if you want to use it to find a career that suits you. This won’t always be necessary; if you have decided to start from scratch in a new career, for example, then you might not have any experience, but since you are working towards new qualifications, this is less important, least at the beginning. 

However, if you’re having trouble finding a new career and you’re just not sure what is going to suit you, looking at your experience could help to decide. For example, what did you enjoy the most? What suited you best? What were you good at? What skills do you have that other people don’t have? These are questions to ask yourself regarding your experience; it may be that you have picked up a lot more information and knowledge that you realized through your experience, and you can put that to good use in an entirely new area of work, or, if this is your first job, in an area that you had never considered before. 

Perhaps your experience will even help you find the job of your dreams when nothing else was helpful at all. It’s amazing just how much you can learn over your life through hobbies or interests that can then be used to great effect in your career.