Career Series 1: How to Select a Career

An African American female wearing a hardhat on a construction site, symbolizing the diverse career options explored in the blog on navigating job searches and finding the best fit for your interests and skills.

When it comes to searching for a job, you may feel overwhelmed by all the different options. Choosing a potential career path or vocation might seem like a daunting task, but with some careful consideration you can determine the best fit for both your interests and your skills.

What Are Your Interests?

The first thing to ask yourself when deciding what type of job you would like is “What am I interested in?” Think about the types of things you like to learn about, what naturally captures your attention, and rule out things you already know you don’t enjoy. Career assessments can help you identify possible interests and narrow down some possible career paths based on the results.

What Are You Good At?

While it is important that you are interested in the job you choose, it is equally as important that you have the skills necessary to be successful at your job. There are two categories of skills—hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical knowledge or training, such as computer coding, whereas soft skills are personal habits and traits, such as creativity or critical thinking. Both are important in the workforce, so consider the different type of skills you possess when searching for a job. Employers are typically willing to teach certain hard skills during training, but soft skills are harder to learn.

For example, if a job you are interested in requires you to regularly communicate with customers and you know that this is a skill you lack, it may be best to search for other opportunities that are aligned with your abilities. There are many different jobs within each industry so if you would like to work in music, for instance, but are not musically inclined you can still look at other opportunities within the music industry.

Here is a good resource for learning more about the different industries and the opportunities within them.

What Do You Look For in a Workplace?

There are six universal work values—achievement, independence, recognition, relationships, support, and working conditions. Some of these things may be more important to you than others in a work environment and can make a big difference in your gratification at work. Some of these values may be preferences, while others are deal breakers, so it is important to understand and recognize where you are willing to sacrifice and where you are not. When you choose an industry or workplace that aligns with your values you will feel more motivated and have a higher sense of job satisfaction. 

It is important to keep in mind that even when you decide on a certain career path or job, you can change your mind at any time. If you are feeling unhappy or unfulfilled, it is never too late to look for other employment opportunities. You may try a few different jobs before you land in one you truly love and enjoy. If you do switch career paths, however, be sure to always leave your current position on a good note as you never know when your paths may cross again, and your current supervisor can serve as a referral down the road.

Published On: January 17th, 2023|Categories: Employment Resources|

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