How to Choose a Career ? Article

CA CS CIMA Prakash Somani (Landmark Group) (23502 Points)

11 March 2011  


Choosing a Career has become more difficult today than at any time in history, for a variety of reasons, primarily being that there is infinitely more to choose from, career definitions are more fluid and changing and high levels of expectation from employers. There is an increasing tendency of frequent job changes by most men and women entering the workforce today due to wrong job choice and various other reasons. Choosing a career becomes even more difficult even in the best of times when opinions of friends and parents entangle you in a confusing situation where making a decision is almost impossible.

While pursuing their degree course, many students don't have much time to spend in career planning. Some of us don't feel the need to plan a career as it is considered a waste of time or it is for those with high ambitions or we think we are too superior to need a career planning. It also happens that we are too busy working to earn money for paying study fees or some us are plain lazy to make that extra effort for career sake.

How to Choose a Right Career ?

Young generation needs to choose a career, gain competencies required for it, make decisions, set goals and then take an action. The process of a Career choice is a multi-step one. It requires gathering information on a number of things. You need a Self reflection of yourself. Developing an understanding of oneself, including personal values, interests, aptitudes, abilities, personal traits and desired life style. Such precision is important for an Initial Start which is the basis of a strong foundation for a prospective career. Often wrong choice of careers either due to lack of guidance or poor choice leads to frustration and stress related problems. Many times people jump at any first offer made to them after graduation or schooling without realising the effects of their eagerness. It is after a few days of work that they realise that they could have got a better job or that they made a wrong decision. Also many times it happens that people just want to have a job whatever it maybe as they don't want to study anymore. This attitude is a disadvantage to them as further studies will only enhance their chances of a superior job. So one needs to be very clear and careful while choosing a career.

1. Self Evaluation - What's really important to you? One of the key elements in career choice are Values. Your values are the emotional basis of all that you do. To have a satisfying career one needs to have a high correspondence between one's personal values and the work they will be doing. In order to begin your career you need to sort out your values and write them down as clearly and precisely as you can.

2. Know your skills and talents - A skill is your ability to do something. A talent is an ability that you've been born with or something that comes naturally to you. It's very essential to recognize the difference between the two. You may be skilled at something and still not find it interesting. It means that you are more apt to enjoy doing what you do well naturally than what you have simply been taught to do.

3. Determine your preferences - We all have a certain approach to the world which is based on certain personal preferences- how we perceive others, how we think and make decisions, whether we prefer concepts over people or vice versa, and the extent to which we are comfortable with uncertainty in our lives. For many of us these preferences operate at a subconscious level but they strongly influence the way we function with others.

Some questions you need to ask yourself -

1. Are you highly intuitive?

2. Are you outgoing or reserved?

3. Are your decisions based primarily on facts or feelings?

Your answers to these questions can tell you much about the kinds of work you will find interesting and challenging

4. Experimentation - More Experience, the better it is. Experience also comes from experimentation. Every career is different from the outside than from within. While in search for a new job in the market or a career change is on your mind, you need go out and talk to people who are actually doing it. Take a job in the field or industry and see for yourself if it's really all you thought it would be. And don't rely on a single authority or work experience. Gain as much experience as you can no matter how small it maybe. Sometimes in absence of guidance for a certain career choice, you can volunteer in order to gain work experience. It's much easier to test out whether it fits your values and preferences.

5. Have a broad vision - An individual needs to be able to grasp the large picture while, at the same time, becoming expert on several of its parts. Having a broad vision implies that you learn as much as you can about what jobs interest you and the careers you're considering and not just what those involved in your interest area are currently doing, but about where the industry or profession is heading.

6. Experience counts more than money in your first job - For most new employees it's a matter of priorities whether they are in it for loads of money or for long term of excellence. A good way of sizing up several opportunities is to ask yourself: "Which position will offer me the best chance of becoming excellent at what I do?" And that may not be the one that pays the highest initial salary.

7. Aim for maximum commitment - Today's employers have no regard for modest dedication and average performance. With downsizing becoming fully acceptable it will not be long before you discover that you're out of a job. The only safeguard for this is to have maximum commitment. If you are unable to give the maximum output than you need to find something in which you can.

8. Income based lifestyle vs expectation based lifestyle - Employers are famous for giving promises such as - In two years, you could be making X thousands of money. And many new entrants buy into this line and begin living as though they were making the kind of money promised in two years. So you need to begin, right with your first job, to structure your lifestyle in such a manner that you can put away ten percent of every pay check. Starting early and investing regularly and wisely are probably two of the greatest secrets of wealth accumulation.

9. Spend some effort in improving your career - You need to spend some time investing in further improvement in your career. Employers today are more interested in revenue generation from the money they are spending on you. In order to enhance your career they need to see an immediate or relatively quick expensive benefit, or when they see extraordinary potential. It's not wise to depend on these criteria. Dedicate yourself to getting ahead by keeping ahead, and you do that be controlling the one thing you can control: your dedication to being the best that you can be.

10. Adaptability - Often we have a plan but no direction. But very few of us have directions and no plan. Also we don't have a backup plan if something doesn't go accordingly. We need to know where we want to go and be willing to turn around, back up, and change course in order to get there. Even if we haven't planned it or set a goal for ourselves. Become adaptable to the extent that you can change course accordingly. The absolute certainty, the general direction in which you are heading and that you will get there is what you need to have a right career.