Every major prepares you for a career after college; some majors have a more structured career path. If your major is in a specialized field like nursing or agriculture, your trajectory may naturally lead you into those domains. However, if your major provides the flexibility to explore various career avenues, as seen in fields like general studies, business management, or English, you might find yourself uncertain about where you belong and what post-college path to pursue.
Considering that, on average, people invest eight to 10 hours daily in their work, finding yourself in an ill-fitting field can be exhausting and lead to discontentment. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do even when you feel stuck to ensure that you make a choice you won’t regret. Here are some things you should do when you can’t decide on a career.
4 Things to Do When You Can’t Decide On a Career
1. Assess Yourself
Before you can decide on a fitting career, you need to know yourself. Your interests, motivations, values, aptitudes, and soft skills combined with your personality type make some careers more appropriate than others. Utilizing self-assessment tools and career tests can provide valuable insights into your traits. Armed with this knowledge, you can compile a list of careers aligning with these traits. Seeking guidance from a career development professional or counselor can also assist you in navigating through this process.
2. Make a List of Careers You Are Interested In
Even before you start thinking seriously about a career, you have a list of options you are genuinely interested in. However, the best list to use is the one you get from the self-assessment tools you used. Combine them into one master list to stay organized. You can start by looking at careers that appear on multiple lists and add them to a new page. You can then move on to careers that you are interested in the most before going to careers you don’t know much about but would like to explore more.
3. Research the Careers on Your New List
At this point, you should have narrowed down your list to about ten or twenty careers. Spend some time trying to get information about these options. Research the job descriptions, training, educational, and licensing requirements. Use information from government produced labor market information to get data about potential earnings and job outlook.
As an example, suppose you’re considering a career in nursing; in that case, you could explore the nursing programs in Virginia, delve into various specialties, examine potential career advancement paths, and understand the typical working hours. This data will aid in further refining your list of potential choices.
When you have a shortlist with a few occupations left, it is time to dive into deeper research for the finer details. Allocate some time to connect with mentors in the professions that intrigue you. They can offer firsthand insights into the careers on your shortlist, providing clarity on the challenges within the field, the lifestyle you might anticipate, and strategies to progress in your career.
4. Make Your Choice
After you complete your research, you are ready to pick a career. Pick on that will bring you the most satisfaction based on the information you have from the research. Keep in mind that the repercussions of a wrong career choice can resonate throughout your entire life, so take ample time before arriving at a final decision.
While it’s possible to pivot careers at any juncture, such transitions demand substantial effort, making it advisable to strive for accuracy in your initial choice. After selecting a career, outline your short-term and long-term career goals to serve as guiding markers along your path.
Navigating the career selection process may seem intricate, and rightfully so. Yet, knowing what you want can boost your likelihood of achieving success in your chosen field. These measures are crafted to assist you in navigating around potential challenges and uncertainties that could emerge over time.
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