1. If you’re nearing the end of high school or just graduated, try to get a job or internship if possible.
I know not everyone can work due to other commitments or idk, maybe you just don’t want to, but it is a great way to find out what you are interested in and good at. Getting a job really helps you learn about yourself and your work ethic. You start to see what you are more efficient at, what you love, and what seriously pisses you off. These are all important to remember. If you enjoy just diving into a task, and hate asking people to do things or directing… then you know to avoid jobs that would put you in big leadership positions and so on.
If you already have a job, then try to focus on what you like most about it and what you like least. This can help you identify what you would like to see in your actual career.
2. Take personality tests! Observe yourself!
To know what path is best for you, you have to start with some personal inventory. Are your ethics important to you? Is how much you make important to you? Are you more introverted or extroverted? Do you enjoy routines or spontaneity? All of these are important.
If you take a typical Myers Briggs personality test, you will get results that tell you what career path might be best for you based on your 4 letters. This is a great place to start. Also, talk to friends and family. See what they have to say about your personality and what they could see you doing in life.
3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Think about your performance in school. Are you geared more towards math and science or literature and social studies? For myself, I have always performed better in literature and social studies. Not a big fan of math or science. Knowing that, I can cross out a lot of professions. If you don’t know where to begin when thinking about majors or career paths, start by crossing things out you know you would not want to do.
For me, I can go ahead and cross out jobs in the medical field or in engineering. I can cross out all of STEM basically. This helps, but there are still many jobs left to look at.
4. Find where your skills, wants, needs, and passion meet.
Take everything you’ve gathered so far and see what it might fit into. I’ll go back to the example of myself. I crossed out all of STEM because it isn’t where my strength is and I don’t enjoy those fields. When analyzing myself, I found that I value my own ethics very highly. I want to live comfortably, but I am not focused on being rich. I have talents in writing, speaking publicly, and solving problems. I am more extroverted than introverted and need to be working with others.
My current path I have chosen is in business management. In it, I can hold onto my ethics without conflict, make enough money to live comfortably, and use my talents. I will often be working with others. Another possible path I have identified is law, but for myself, I know it would be prosecutorial and not defense due to conflicts that would arise with ethics.
You can analyze yourself in the same way. If you can identify your strengths, weaknesses, personality type, and salary goal you can easily identify good possible career paths for yourself. With more research and then some trial and error with introductory college classes and internships, you can make an educated choice on what you (at that point in time) want to do with your life.
There are so many jobs to choose from, and choosing one can largely impact your life, so it is understandable to be overwhelmed. However, the more you know about yourself and what you want, the easier this decision will be. Also, remember that any career path you choose can be changed! You don’t have to do whatever your first pick is forever. The truth is that with technological developments, many of us will have to change our career quite a few times no matter what. So don’t overstress it.