Choosing a career path is an intimidating task. Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up and high school seniors are expected to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives by the time they’re applying for college. Yet studies show that workers tend to change careers or industries several times over their lifetimes. Whether you’re looking for your first job or a career change, there are four main ways to choose a career path.
1. Assess your interests. Focus on broad, transferable skills and interests and not specific hobbies. For example, although you may like birdwatching and watching movies, think about why you enjoy those activities: you may consider yourself patient and okay with spending time alone. If you’re finding it difficult to assess your interests, a personality test like the Myers-Briggs type indicator may help.
2. Search job boards with your interests to see what kinds of jobs are available. Using a large job board and just searching some of your qualifications (“analytical” or “people person”) can help guide you to the perfect job.
3. Find out what the requirements are for the position you want. For instance, if you were looking for pharmacy positions, you should know that many pharmacy careers require at least an associate degree and applicants for some jobs will need specific degrees to qualify.
4. Put together your résumé and apply for jobs. Job hunting may have become more difficult in the present economy but there are still dream jobs out there for the right applicants. Sending out your résumé and a specific, passionate cover letter—and following up with an in-person or over the phone conversation—is a great way to find a job.