Find a career that suits your goals, desires, and opportunities in life can often be a challenging and complex task. Whether you’re just getting started after studying and wondering how to choose a career path for the future, or if you are thinking about taking a change in direction, it’s worth spending a little time to think about your next steps before taking on a new role.
However, by taking things step by step, you can enjoy a successful and rewarding career path, that will feel rewarding and open up new doorways later on. To help you choose the right career pathway for you, read on for some useful pointers.
Think about your areas of interest
When it comes to finding a long-term career for yourself, you should always start with something that you have a genuine interest in. While you might be able to put up with a short-term job in something that doesn’t appeal to you very much, over time, this can leave you feeling unhappy and dissatisfied. It will also prevent you from growing further in your career, as you are less likely to be motivated to take on more challenges in that area.
Everyone has different skills, qualities, and interests that shape them as a person, and each unique combination of these will help determine the right way forward in your career. If you are someone who greatly enjoys working with people with a strong interest in health and wellbeing, then finding out what qualifications you need is the first step. On the other hand, if working with technology and numbers is your strong suit, then you might be better off looking at pathways that help you make the most of your abilities in these sectors.
Think about the lifestyle you want
The next important question to consider is deciding what kind of lifestyle you’d ultimately like to create for yourself. There may be particular aspirations you have, for instance, if you have a strong spirit of adventure and wanderlust, you may want to have a life where you can enjoy lots of travel regularly. Or if financial stability and success is a priority, you might want to consider which kinds of careers will give you long term job security.
You might also need to take into account current lifestyle factors, as these can also influence your potential career choices. For those with a family, balancing home and work life are often important priorities, so a role that can allow you to work from home might be most appealing, such as starting a home business.
A useful way to decide on what lifestyle you’d like is to think about where you’d like to be in a few years from now. From this point, you can work backward and consider what you need to do in order to build that vision of life.
Research job profiles
Once you’ve got a particular kind of career pathway in mind, it’s time to start looking at roles in those areas. While you might not necessarily want to apply for them immediately, researching these roles can give you a more detailed understanding of what is involved in each job, as well as what you can expect from them.
It’s helpful to look at a variety of roles in the industry you’d like to work in, as this will give you a more robust insight into the requirements most employers may ask for. Look out for details on qualifications that might be requested, or other pre-requisites. You should also take salary details into account, to make sure that any potential role you apply for will be satisfactory for you financially.
Once you’ve reviewed this information, it can also be helpful to take a more detailed look at the working environment. If possible, it can be a great idea to interview or shadow someone already working in the area you’re considering. This can give you a first-hand look at the culture, pace of life and daily routine of someone in that role, allowing you to decide for yourself if it is truly something you’d like to take on.
Look at the next steps
Finally, once you’re confident about a potential career pathway, it’s time to look at the various practical steps that you need to take in order to get there. Depending on the kind of role you are looking at, this might be a fairly quick and easy process, or it might mean that you need to invest some time and money into it.
Find the right qualifications
You will simply need to update your CV and get ready to send in some job applications for potential roles if you are already qualified in the area you want to work in.
However, if you find that you are currently lacking in some areas, then it’s a good idea to take your time to build up the relevant skills or qualifications before applying. It might be that you are interested in furthering your nursing career, for example, and taking it to the highest level of nursing. If this is the case, then studying a DNP nursing program will be your first port of call. After all, you need to ensure that you not only have the experience but also the qualifications under your belt.
You may want to take on a part-time in the same field, while you work on developing your profile. As well as giving you invaluable exposure and experience in the right area, this can also open you up to more job opportunities, by helping you build a useful network of contacts.
You may also need to factor in time and resources in order to study for any new qualifications needed. If further study is required, then you might want to take on a less demanding part-time role on the side that can allow you to save up and cover your costs while you study.
Similarly, if you need to build up practical experience, then taking on volunteer positions while working on another job can be a great way to build your portfolio so that you can stand out as a great candidate once you are ready to make the career switch.