Factors to Consider When Choosing a Career

career choice

Picking a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. While in the past most people’s career prospects were limited by economic or social factors, today one can choose almost any career path. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the large number of career choices available and the amount of information about those careers.  While looking at job growth and salary data is important, superficial factors such as prestige and income do not provide for career satisfaction in the long-term.  The most important factors in choosing a career have to do with who you are as an individual.  Carefully consider the following four factors when deciding on a career path:

Interests

What topics do you read about in your spare time and what classes do you enjoy in school? Your career doesn’t have to be your passion, but it shouldn’t bore you to tears, either.

Natural Skills and Abilities

If you struggled through math in school and couldn’t pass no matter how much you studied, you may want to consider a career that doesn’t require a great deal of mathematical ability. However, most degree programs include a variety of classes that may or may not relate to your future occupation. Don’t let this discourage you from pursuing the career you want. The best part about choosing a career is that you can do pretty much anything your set your mind to. As long as you have the dedication, you can do it, so set some time aside to think about what you’re passionate about and then research your options. You can earn this degree online, making it easier than ever to reach for the stars while holding onto the security of your day job.

Introversion vs. Extroversion

Introverts require time alone to recharge, while extroverts thrive on social interaction. Most people are close to the middle of the spectrum and will be most happy in a career that balances time alone with social interaction.

Goals and rewards

What do you value in a career? Some people desire to help others directly, while others seek independence and autonomy. Everyone derives fulfillment in a different way.  Paying too much attention to society’s values instead of one’s own can lead to the wrong career choice. Read our article on assessing your career values for more information.

Each individual has a unique combination of interests, abilities, personality traits and values.  “Best jobs” lists and other information may be misleading because they don’t take the individual into account.  Deciding on a career isn’t easy for most people, but your careful research and introspection will be worth a lifetime of career satisfaction.

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4 thoughts on “Factors to Consider When Choosing a Career”

  1. Thanks for the tips. You are so right about introverts needing time to recharge. I can honestly say I have very strong skills and experience, a great work-ethic and can and have excelled in many different work environments. I haven’t had a supervisor that wouldn’t recommend me.

    However, my weakness is getting my foot in the door. I prefer to do my job hunting on the net, rather than the face to face. I can only go out to staffing agencies about once a week, due to this factor. I also don’t do so well with my interviews. Even though I have the skills and experience, sometimes my introverted ways effect the way I convey those skills. If it was a written interview, I could kick some butt. 🙂

    Thanks for the tips.

  2. I don’t do well in interviews, either. It’s really discouraging to know that I can work hard to build up an impressive resume, but my introversion (and a little social awkwardness) can prevent me from getting the job. It’s particularly unfortunate since the jobs I interview for do not really require an extroverted personality.

  3. Once again you hit the nail on the head! The funny thing is that I feel like once someone does let me get my foot in the door that I do fine. I actually work out the social akwardness and become quite comfortable and extremely good at what I do. But like Brian said… It’s the task of getting your foot in the door that is so hard. I have realized that if I am doing something that I truly enjoy that I tend to be a lot healthier in all aspects of my life. Only if I could find that in a job…no luck so far.

  4. Jessica, I feel the same way. My social awkwardness seems to disappear once I feel like I belong and am no longer being judged on every move I make. Unfortunately, the interview is one of the few times in your life when every word you utter and every move you make can make or break you. It’s really crazy because research has shown that interviews are not at all accurate in terms of predicting future success and productivity of a potential employee.

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