The old concept of working for one company and then retiring and taking home a pension after 40 years has long since faded into the past. These days, many people change careers multiple times prior to deciding on the right one.
According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers today change jobs every 4.2 years, on average.
While some may worry about the effect of constant career-hopping, it’s okay to change your mind about your career while on your path.
In this article, we take a look at five ways to help you discover the right business career path for you. Use these ideas to guide you so you can find your true path to an incredibly satisfying career.
1. Outline Your Career Goals
Your first step in determining the right business career path for you is to outline your career goals. This will help you narrow your choices into a more specific area. Ask yourself questions such as:
- What exactly do you want from a career?
- Do you want to specialize in specific technical skills?
- Or do you want to take on management roles?
Taking the time to consider questions such as these will help you better research potential career paths.
As you make a list of your goals, use the other tips outlined below to help ensure that your goals are not only achievable, but also that they are aligned with your interests, skills, strengths, and values.
As you grow professionally and personally, you will revisit your career goals to reflect on them and ensure that you remain on a path that is aligned with all your other interests.
Once you’ve made a list of your career goals, create a five-year and ten-year plan around your goals. This is where you establish general milestones for your career, such as the title advancements that you want to have at each future point.
2. Explore Occupations That Match Your Interests
Translating your interests into a career can be a little tricky. But with a little research, you will be able to find tons of careers that relate to the things you love.
There are three ways you can go about exploring occupations that match your interests, and these are: researching specific areas, career tests, and getting support and information from other people who are in those fields.
Research Specific Careers: Once you’ve made a list of the occupations that match your interests, conduct simple searches online to find the descriptions of positions, average salaries, estimated future growth, and lots of other information that will help you make your decision. You must also find out how stable the field is as well as if the salary range is acceptable to you. Lastly, it’s not a bad idea to use some of the tools on Linkedin to connect with other people and better understand your industry.
Career Tests: There’s a variety of online tools that can guide you in choosing the right business career path for you. You can use questions, personality assessments, and quizzes, such as the free one from CareerFitter.com to help you determine the career path that is most ideally suited to you. The test does this by identifying what you enjoy, where you excel, and what you view as important in a career.
Get Information and Support From Others: Although it’s easy to get a lot of information from quizzes and research, sometimes the best source of information comes from someone who is currently working in the career you are considering. This will give you a real sense of the work you will be doing and whether or not it’s going to meet your expectations.
As an example, I now have a YouTube channel myself as a compliment to my blog and there are plenty of people who make good money by doing this. But the reason I got into this line of work is simply because I spoke with a colleague of mine that was already having success. Once he explained how it all worked, I was more than willing to give it a shot and thankfully I did!
Don’t be Afraid to Dive In: One thing that I urge people to do when they are strongly considering a career is to start their own blog. The reason why I push people to do this is that it’s a way to share your passion/industry knowledge before you start interviewing. In my career, I was able to land a job in digital marketing simply because of a blog I created.
If you have no experience, a well-written blog can really set you apart. Especially if you’re competing against other individuals in a job marketing that have little experience like yourself.
3. Assess Your Strengths and Skills
Now that you have a general idea for the career path you want to take, it’s time to figure out what type of skills you will need and those you already have.
You already have a set of skills to start, so you’re not starting completely from scratch. The skills you possess are referred to as transferable skills. You can apply these to virtually any field.
Examples include the following:
- Written and oral communication
- Leadership and management experience
- Research and program planning
- Effective time management
- Public speaking, foreign language fluency
- Computer literacy
- …and so on.
While making a list of all your strengths and skills, do not limit yourself to only work experiences. Consider every type of activity that you can think of, including hobbies, life experiences, volunteering, etc.
For instance, you may not have formal program planning or leadership experience, but if you once founded a book club or organized a toy drive in your area, then these are ways that you have put these types of skills into practice.
Further, you should also include any side work you’ve ever done. As an example, I used to transcribe YouTube videos for other people so that they had subtitles. This was long ago and now they have software that does this, but one of my strengths I discovered at this side-job was my typing speed.
List any and all accomplishments that might be a fit. You’re not formatting the skills for your resume so just put down whatever comes to mind with regard to the talents you have developed so far.
4. Determine Your Core Values
The fourth step in helping you discover the right business career path for you is to determine your core values. By identifying the things that are most important to you, it’ll help you focus more on choosing a career that you will find personally fulfilling.
It will also help clarify your thought process so that you find niches or fields that you are passionate about. The last thing you want is to climb up the ladder of success for years only to get to the top and find that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. So take the time to list all your core values.
To complete this process, make a list of all the qualities that you think are important in a business or its employees. When you’ve completed your list, use it to search for the job descriptions and companies that share your values.
5. Consider Job Growth
During your analysis of potential career paths, you also need to consider job growth. When thinking about a possible career to take, you need to focus beyond the short term. Yes, it’s vital that you get a job now, but it’s also important to ensure that the position you are looking for offers advancement potential.
Once you have determined what your dream career might be, look at the descriptions for that particular job. Go through the qualifications and experience that it requires and then ask yourself if the jobs you are looking at are going to fulfill those requirements.
While on the subject of career growth potential, an important question to ask yourself is “Will your career be around in the future?” Things change rapidly these days and you must always look at the projected growth for any career over the next 10 years or so before you make a decision.
You can check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook where you will find all the information you need about any job title that you are interested in.
Personally, I’m partial to building and marketing websites as it’s been both lucrative and enjoyable from my perspective. When you research your career options, really understand what’s needed to succeed. For instance, in my case, I don’t even know how to actually code.
Most people assume this is a prerequisite to building websites, but there are tools like these that help me do so without any coding knowledge at all. I’d say I focus 10% of my time building the websites and 90% of my time marketing them. The point is, it’s crucial that you understand what your job may actually entail and don’t just look at the job title.
Based on everything you have learned during the course of your research, you can now make an informed decision as to the right career path for you.
You may have a lot of options on your list, but to narrow it down even further, simply look for overlap.
- What are you good at?
- What do you like to do?
- What do companies need?
Any job that falls under these three categories is a great candidate for an optimal career path.
Ron Stefanski is an internet entrepreneur and marketing professor at National Louis University who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com
You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.