8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Your Career

Choosing a career is a turning point in everyone’s life, but how do you begin to decide in a pool of thousands of jobs?

As children, we have dreams of what we would like to be when we grow up. But as we age, we slowly get a better grasp of the realities of life, our strengths, our weaknesses, our abilities, and our interests. Someone could have played doctor all his childhood but later on, realized that the sight of blood triggers anxiety. So as we go along with life, our dream jobs tend to change.

What are the essential factors to consider when jumpstarting your career? Here are eight questions you could ask yourself before finally deciding.

1. What are my interests?

    Career choice starts with interest. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? It can be anything from reading, listening to podcasts, crafting, traveling, meditating to volunteering. Whichever it may be, your identified interests will give you a glimpse of what career will find enjoyable and fulfilling.

    • What career path appeals to you?

    • What kind of work do you enjoy?

    • What are your hobbies and interests that occupy you in your free time?

    2. What are my transferable skills?

      Career decision-making requires identifying your transferable skills. Understand which skills you have exhibited in different areas of life and how they can be applied professionally. It is critical to know your transferable skills because this will help you analyze career options when researching a career. It can also help you determine how well you may perform when you finally land a job.

      Here are the eight most common transferable skills:

      • Teamwork

      • Leadership

      • Personal motivation, organization, and time management

      • Listening

      • Written communication

      • Verbal communication

      • Research and analytical skills

      • Numeracy skills

      • Personal development

      • Information technology

      So as you decide on your career path, you may ask yourself.

      • Which transferable skills do I possess?

      • Which transferable skills do I still need to improve?

      • Are my skills needed in the career I am eyeing?

      3. What is my personality type?

        Personality is the sum of all traits that dictate how you think, feel, and behave. Unknown to many, personality and career choice has more to them. One of the fathers of the career movement, John Holland, developed a theory that an individual’s personality highly dictates the career path where he/she will be successful.

        In his theory, he emphasized the six ideal vocational personality types: Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), and Conventional (C), later on, called the Holland Code, which paved the way for the RIASEC Career test, one of the most widely used career test among high school students. (Take your RIASEC Test here: https://www.onlinepersonalitytests.org/riasec/)

        After answering the test, you could ask yourself:

        • Which trait ranked the highest on my test?

        • Which quality ranked the lowest? Why do you think so?

        • Does your personality align with your transferable skills and interests?

        4. What education or training do I need?

          To become successful in any field, one must be properly trained and educated. Acquiring the necessary training will also help you understand if your chosen career is the perfect path. Otherwise, you will land the wrong career choice. Additionally, some careers require a college degree which is a major financial investment and can lead to having a long time paying for loans. So you need to be clear on the training requirements for the job you desire. And ask yourself:

          • Am I willing and able to take the courses or training required for this career?

          • Am I ready to take the time needed for my chosen career?

          • Do I have enough financial capacity (or scholarship grant) to support my studies?

          5. How much income would I like to earn?

            Monetary rewards differ per career and, according to research, money is one of the biggest factors affecting career choice. Beyond passion, it is essential to note if the job can put food on the table and pay bills. You should consider:

            • Will this job be able to sustain the lifestyle that I want?

            • Is the monetary compensation enough for my living expenses?

            • Does the career entail good professional development?

            6. What are my values?

              Everyone has their own set of values and beliefs that influences their decisions on different aspects of their lives. These may include: financial security, work-life balance, and religion-related values. For instance, a person who gives importance to financial security would go for a higher-paying career than a passion-fulfilling career. So consider the things that you value and remember, there is no wrong answer.

              • What is my most important belief?

              • How can my set of values interfere with my career choice?

              • Which careers support my beliefs?

              7. Are there available jobs in this career?

                Career decisions are made not only because of money, interest, skills, or personality. The hard truth is that checking the labor market is also a must. You must perform research to determine whether the job is growing or declining. You should also consider that some jobs are relegated to certain locations. Ask yourself:

                • Are jobs available in my state for the career I have chosen?

                • If there are no jobs available in my current location, am I ready to relocate?

                • How tough is the competition in this career?

                8. Am I ready for the lifestyle that this job entails?

                  Factors influencing career decision-making also include the lifestyle you want to establish for yourself. Lifestyle is a general term used to describe how a person lives. If your desired lifestyle requires that you have weekends off, then you may want to avoid jobs that have swing shifts. If you desire to be relatively stable, then you will want to avoid jobs that require constant travel. Consider your lifestyle desires.

                  • What lifestyle do I want to live after graduating?

                  • Will my chosen career be able to sustain the lifestyle I want versus the jobs available?

                  • Will my earnings enable me to live the life I want while achieving my financial goals?

                  Choosing between two jobs is difficult. Let alone choosing from thousands of careers available in the US. So before diving into decision-making, make sure you have asked yourself these questions so you will not regret your choice.

                  Want to dive deeper so that you can truly identify how to plan for your future? Check out our Getting and Managing a Career course here.

                  Categories: : Getting and Managing a Career