How to Choose a Career: 7 Essential Tips

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How to choose a career

Choosing what you want to do for the rest of your entire life is a big decision, and it's okay to feel overwhelmed. Whether you're facing pressure from yourself or your family, choosing a career is something that you must do at one point or another. Whether this means that you are just about to graduate college and are trying to figure out what to do for your life, or you're just beginning college and are trying to decide which educational path you need to pursue to make your dreams come true, we've got good news for you.

We've put together a list of the top seven tips to consider when choosing a career. Hopefully, this list will help take some of the guesswork and anxiety out of choosing a career and help you land on your feet.

1. Create a Mind Map

Creating a career planning mind map, which can help you focus on what you should do to achieve your career goals or determine what career you want to have, is a good way to get started on your career search. A career mind map is a visual representation of everything you're looking for in a career. When creating a career mind map, here are the things you should map out:

1. Create a Mind Map

Your personality:

The best career mind maps feature important information about who you are, your values and what you stand for. Knowing this information is crucial so that you can look for careers and companies that share the same values and beliefs as you. After all, most people are at work for eight hours—or one-third—of a full day, which means you'll want to do something you love.

Decide on your career goals:

Before you can choose a career, you need to determine what your ultimate career aspirations may be. If you desire to become a manager, you're going to need to take the appropriate steps to get there. If you desire to be a teacher, there are certifications you'll need to obtain before you can do so.

Research what you'll need to do:

Most careers require higher education and certifications. Once you've determined what your goals are and what you're looking for in a career, you'll need to focus on the nitty gritty details of how you can make that happen. Some careers require specific college majors and outside accreditations. Make sure to find out what these requirements are so that you can adhere to them.

Your career mind map will serve as your guide for choosing a career and making your dreams turn into reality.

2. Look for a career that matches your preferred working style

Are you someone that likes to work independently? Are you someone that needs to talk to people every day? Are you a procrastinator or a self-starter? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you select a career that is right for you.

If you're someone that is a procrastinator, you should probably work in an office setting where your boss can help make sure that you complete your tasks. If you're someone that wants to work independently, you should stay away from careers that require extensive collaboration.

3. Review your skillsets

Yes, you can always go to school and learn skills that are specific to a field or industry. However, some things just can't be taught. For example, if you're someone that's shy and you don't like to talk to strangers, you probably shouldn't go into a sales profession. At the same time, if numbers aren't your strong suit, a career in finance probably isn't ideal.

You should include your skillsets on your career mind map. Are you good at writing? Are you good at talking to people? Maybe a career in marketing is for you. Are you good at analyzing big sets of data and drawing conclusions? Maybe a financial or business analyst position is right for you.

4. Check your personal values

This is extremely important in choosing a career that will be both personally and professionally fulfilling. For example, are you okay committing more than 40 hours of your time each week to work? If you want to pursue a career in law or in the medical field, that's probably what's going to be required of you. If you value something more structured and that supports a healthy work-life balance, you will probably want to explore standard office jobs. Identifying these needs is essential before your career search begins so that you don't waste any of your time exploring a career that won't align with your values at the end of day.

5. Talk to industry professionals

What better way to find out what a role truly entails than talking with a someone who works in that specific career? This person will likely give you information you won't be able to find anywhere on the internet. Some companies offer job shadowing programs, which would be extremely useful if you want a full glimpse into the day in the life of a specific position. This may make you rethink your career aspirations or make you want to pursue a career in that field even more. Moreover, forging industry connections can prove useful down the road while you're job hunting.

5. Talk to industry professionals

6. Utilize all resources available to you

If you're enrolled in school, you may have resources available to you that you didn't even know about. All colleges want their students to succeed. That's why many schools all over the world have career centers dedicated to helping their current students and alumni find jobs. At these centers, there may be job shadowing opportunities, internship positions or even interview opportunities that will help you gain insight about your desired career choice.

7. Have an open mind

When it comes to choosing a career, it's extremely important to keep an open mind. What you think you might like to do for the rest of your life might actually not be what's the best fit for you. Keeping an open mind when exploring different career paths will ultimately save you time and money in the long-term.

7. Have an open mind


Career exploration is a daunting task, but there are plenty of people in your personal, professional and academic life who want to see you succeed. Utilize these seven tips as a starting point to help you choose a career that is fulfilling and rewarding.