How To Find a Rewarding Career Path in 9 Steps
Updated 30 June 2023
Finding the career path that's right for you can make you feel happier, more fulfilled and more productive. With so many options, it can sometimes be challenging to decide which opportunity is the best fit. Considering your skills, aspirations and values can help you identify potential career routes that you may find engaging and rewarding. In this article, we explain what a career path is, tell you why finding the right one can be important and list steps you can use to identify a career that suits you.
Why is finding the right career path important?
It's important to find the right career pathway because many positions require academic and practical experience in order to qualify, and identifying opportunities you're passionate about can help you use your time and energy effectively. Advancing on a chosen path can make it easier to find a career that's rewarding and able to meet your financial needs. Usually, the more senior a position is within an industry, the more you can expect to earn. Gaining experience and certifications in a single field can help you find more opportunities for advancement.
You may choose to change your career route to find something that's more challenging, fulfilling or lucrative. Or you may choose to return to school or gain experience that prepares you for an alternative path in your career. However, doing so might require starting at a lower-level position than the one you held before. For this reason, finding a career you're passionate about early on can give you time to develop and grow in your position.
How to choose a career path
If you're contemplating a degree programme, entering the workforce for the first time or looking for something new, here are some steps you can take to find a path in your career that's right for you:
1. Define your goals
Before selecting your desired career, consider self-reflecting on the following subjects:
What you want from your career
The activities you enjoy
Your leadership abilities
How much you're willing to learn
You can use your responses on these subjects to research potential career routes and evaluate how well a role fits into your future goals and plans. Consider revisiting your goals as you grow to make sure you're still aligned with your values and expectations.
2. Create a long-term plan
After you've identified viable careers that align with your goals, consider establishing career milestones. Try to find examples of others in your potential fields of interest and research how their role changed over the last five to 10 years. By taking notes on their current titles and trajectories, you can set expectations for where you see yourself long-term. Sometimes, advancing in a career means finding continuing education opportunities, acquiring certificates or completing training programmes. Discover what it takes to advance in a role and decide if that's something you're interested in pursuing.
3. Find a role that fits your personality type
An important aspect of finding a suitable career trajectory can be realising your own strengths and personality. Searching for roles that allow you to showcase your natural abilities can lead to more opportunities for advancement later in your career. For example, if you're naturally friendly and outgoing, consider searching for roles that are people-facing. If you don't know your personality type, there are several tests you can take to learn more about yourself and discover professional opportunities that suit your specific type.
Some popular personality tests include:
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test that can produce a four-letter type that gives you valuable information like your percentage of introversion or extroversion. The test assigns one of 16 personality types to its users. While it doesn't list specific careers, it can make it easier to decode potential opportunities by showing you your dominant personality traits.
Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality test sorts test takers into nine distinct personality types, including the reformer, the helper, the achiever, the individualist, the investigator, the loyalist, the enthusiast, the challenger and the peacemaker. Often the test shows you a dominant type followed by your less dominant, secondary types which can help you find relevant opportunities. For example, if the test labels you as a helper and peacemaker, that might mean you'd do well in a social work or customer service-oriented role.
Holland Code Career Test
The Holland Code test is a self-assessment that measures your career suitability based on six themes: conventional, enterprising, artistic, social, investigative and realistic. The test uncovers your top area of interest, compares it to the other categories and explains how it relates to your career aptitude. It takes about 20 minutes to complete.
4. Consider previous experience
As you think about your prospective career, review your previous roles. Evaluate what you liked and what you didn't and see if you can find trends in your previous positions like the recurrence of a specific skill. Understanding what makes you feel fulfilled can help you look for similar opportunities. Similarly, if there were aspects of a previous job that didn't suit your personality or goals, you can look for opportunities that don't involve those same aspects.
5. Think about educational requirements
Many professions have minimum educational requirements. These can range from completing your secondary education to obtaining higher levels of education like bachelor's or master's degrees. You can study specific course materials like business or medicine to qualify for certain positions. Review the education requirements for jobs you're interested in and apply for jobs that accept your current level of education, or research additional degrees or certifications you may need.
Related: Highest Paying Jobs in Singapore
6. Assess your current skill set
Consider making a list of your current skills, areas of expertise and certifications or accolades. It may also be helpful to ask family, friends or coworkers about what your strengths are. They might have some valuable insight into areas they think would be a good fit for you. Think of your technical, leadership and interpersonal skills to identify where you are strongest. By doing this, you can find careers that match your experience and pre-existing skill sets.
7. Find jobs that correspond to your interests
Finding a job in a field you're interested in can make you happier, more productive and more engaged. Your personality and hobbies may match certain careers. By considering your hobbies, volunteer experience and aptitudes, you might be able to transform your interests into a career. Even if your hobbies don't intuitively correspond to a job or a professional skill, you might still be able to gain insight into potential career tracks. For example, if you're interested in logic puzzles or math problems, you might enjoy a career in web development and cyber security.
If you're not ready to commit to a specific career, try to find temporary or volunteer positions that allow you to explore options with minimal consequences. Direct experience and exposure can help you gauge how much you enjoy a particular activity or role. If you're still in school, try to take a variety of courses in subjects that appeal to you. By exposing yourself to new environments, you might find novel uses for your specific skills and interests.
8. Establish your core values
The most fulfilling careers are often the ones that best align with your core values. If community, environmentalism or success are important to you, try to find career prospects that let you exercise those values. Finding fields or niche areas where you're passionate can also be a great way to approach your career search. Establish what you expect from the companies, managers and teams you work with. This way, you can find companies and job descriptions that reflect your values and needs.
9. Identify your salary expectations
Different career tracks can offer a variety of remuneration packages. Sometimes, even if a career seems fulfilling or appears to match your personality, it may not meet your financial needs. You can search for average salaries to get an idea of how much someone in a certain position makes. Think about your cost of living, dependents and other factors that might influence your earning needs. Salary may not always be commensurate with a rewarding job, but it can be an important consideration when you're looking for a direction in your career.
Please note that none of the products mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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