Some high school students seem to know exactly what they want to do after they have done with school, while others may be overwhelmed and confused with all the choices available to them. Choosing the right career for you is not always an easy task. The good news is that you have options that can increase your career knowledge if you feel clueless or uncertain about career choices.
Ways to increase your knowledge about yourself and the careers available to you:
- Have a career assessment
Both registered counsellors and psychologists can offer career assessments. A career assessment normally includes assessing your interests, values, personality, and your readiness to make a career choice. This will indicate what type of career fields best suits all your needs. After the assessment, if you are still in need of guidance, you will have the opportunity to engage in further career counselling.
- Go for career counselling
Career counselling entails exploring your possible career choices and understanding yourself, and how you fit into the working world to help you make a good career decision. This includes exploring study options and making sure your career is attainable and able to meet all your needs (i.e. financial).
- Engage in work experience
If you aren’t sure about a certain career, try and engage in work experience such as an internship. Find out if it is possible to shadow someone in the career of your choice so that you can see first hand what the career entails on a daily basis.
- Consider a gap year
Gap years can be beneficial for certain students who do not know what they want to study or do not yet have the financial means to study. A gap year can allow for work experience and time to think out and make a good career decision. Rushing into a study path that you aren’t sure of or feel pressured into is not ideal.
Your choice of career may change during your career journey:
Career choice is not a once off decision, it is just one aspect of your entire career journey as an adult. A good career choice is one that allows expression of your interests, personality and values, as well as considers your specific strengths and weaknesses. It is also important to be aware that values, interests, and preferences do tend to change over time. This could be one of the reasons that people may find themselves no longer enjoying their chosen career. Today it is becoming more and more common for people to make a career swop in the middle of their career journey. Changing careers later in life could move you from a place of feeling stuck in your career to a new career that ticks all the boxes in terms of your change in values, interest, and/ or preferences and may help you feel more fulfilled and rewarded in your career journey.
Career assessment and guidance is therefore applicable to anyone at any age who either feels stuck in their career, is needing assistance in making a career choice, or who wants to find out more about themselves in relation to the world of work.
How do you know when you are making a good career choice?
A good career choice will not only be in a field that you are interested in, but it will also allow you to express your personality and values and allow you to use your personal strengths. It is easy to understand why you need to be interested in your chosen career field, but you must not forget about your values and personality needs when making your choice. For example, a person who is very introverted may have an interest in a career that requires a lot of social interaction and therefore goes against their personality. This could end up not being a good fit for this person. The same goes for values. You may value financial stability and therefore even if you find a job that meets your interests, personality, and allows you to use your strengths, but does not give you financial stability, you may end up feeling unhappy in your choice. Lastly, it’s also important to consider careers that will allow you to use your strengths and not magnify your weaknesses.
Always remember: A career choice is part of the journey, not the final destination.