3 Proven Techniques to Choose Your Career Path
Whether you’re years into your professional life or just starting out, feeling out of place can be distressful. If you’re unsure about what career will make you happy, you are not alone. A global poll conducted by Gallup concluded that only 15% of the world’s one billion full-time workers are engaged at work. The number is somewhat better in the U.S. at around 30% engaged, but this still means that roughly 70% of American workers aren’t engaged in their work. Among other factors — a toxic work environment, a bad boss, etc — a big reason is that people choose careers that are ill-suited and unsatisfying to them.
The truth is, a lot of thought and hard work needs to go into developing a career path, something that simply isn’t done currently. Many young adults are (rightfully) wary of picking a major and a future career path while still in school, and yet most of them are forced to declare a major by the second year of college with almost no guidance. Most schools will not teach you how to choose and pursue a career path, but here are some resources to get you started.
Networking is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your career, although it might take some time to see the results of your work.
While you’re still deciding what to do, it can be helpful to attend as many professional networking events as you can, even in industries or fields you haven’t thought about before. Don’t go with the intention of finding any job, but take a genuine interest in peoples’ journeys. Ask them about their career paths and engage with them about their stories. Finally, always follow up with people after networking to form a connection, rather than a one-time acquaintance. LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch and engage with connections on posts, work anniversaries, and other events.
After networking, a good strategy to narrow down your career options can be to target your network by asking for one-on-one chats with people who you’d like more in-depth information from.
These are called informational interviews and can help you receive first-hand knowledge about the careers you are interested in. Some questions you should ask in an informational interview are:
- What does your job look like on a day to day basis?
- What do you like and dislike about your job?
- What are the growth opportunities in this career path?
- What skills are most in-demand? What are employers looking for?
Before requesting a meeting, however, make sure you do the necessary work of learning about the person’s background, look through their LinkedIn profile at the things they post, and research what they do. Be sure to connect their story to your specific question: for example, if they pivoted from pre-med to business and you are considering doing the same, ask them how they set the criteria and methodology for making that decision and what struggles they went through after making that change.
Conviction to work hard
In our blog post How to Achieve Financial Freedom, we discuss that depending on ‘passion’ to do your job successfully is not a great strategy. Motivation is fleeting, but habits last a long time. You have to make it a habit to work hard, learn, and grow.
Most successful people will tell you that there are days when motivation is lagging. But because they’ve built up the habit of working hard and getting things done, they are able to persevere and keep up productivity. Inevitably, they find their passion for their work again, but once good habits are lost, it takes a long time to build them back up.
Colin Powell says it best: “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
You might be ready to pursue a career path but have some specific questions about how to get started. Or you might need help tailoring your resume and social media to pivot into a new career. A career coach can provide customized guidance that allows you to supercharge your career.
To get started, you can make use of our free Ultimate Interview Guide or sign up for the Career Accelerator Toolkit. My website has numerous resources available for professionals at any stage of their career, but in addition to getting access to my knowledge and expertise, you can also join our robust and inclusive Facebook community of corporate professionals who are all helping one another with career advancement and sharing personal finance secrets.
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If you’re searching for that extra edge to get advance your career, then differentiate yourself and learn the Career Meets World approach to accelerate your growth. No matter what role or field you’re in, you deserve to have the right tools to outperform your competition.
Edward Gorbis is the Founder of Career Meets World, a former engineer transformed into a sales machine. Everyone has the power to skyrocket their career and financial potential. Career Meets World provides the tools and strategies to help people find their dream job and reach financial independence.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links where I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to purchase a plan from a link on this page. However, these are merely the tools I personally have used myself and fully recommend when it comes to investing in your professional development.