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Discover the process of selecting a career that aligns with your interests and skills. Learn why relying on career aptitude tests and quizzes may lead you astray, and explore alternative methods for making informed career choices!

Many adults ponder the question, “What job should I have?” at some stage in their lives. It’s a challenging decision to make. Should you pursue your childhood aspirations, like being a firefighter or a ballerina? Or should you heed the advice of authority figures? What professions will remain lucrative in the next decade? And which careers might lead to dead ends?

But fret not. We’ll demonstrate how to select a career in just a few minutes.

This guide will cover:

– Strategies for choosing a fulfilling career.
– Why relying on career quizzes and aptitude tests can often lead you astray.
– The most satisfying answer to the question, “What job should I have?” that you won’t regret three years down the line.
– Why finding the right career might be simpler than you imagine.

There’s no one-size-fits-all career finder that can determine your ideal profession. However, the streamlined process outlined in this guide will empower you to answer the question of “What should my career be?” on your own terms.

 

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Selecting a Career: Begin with Your Interests

Wow, I envy your position.

You’re in the process of figuring out your career path, starting with a blank slate.

If I could turn back time with the knowledge I have now, I’d be a millionaire.

You’re fortunate. Allow me to illuminate your journey toward success.

Are you ready?

Let’s begin with Passion.
Does that sound cliché?

It might, because it’s often misunderstood.

So, don’t simply take it at face value.

Wait—what?

Passion is indeed the initial step in determining the right career for you. However, it’s just the beginning.

Your passion could be something unconventional like knitting on a desert island. Perhaps you could turn that into a lucrative venture by writing a book and earning a million bucks.

But chances are, it’s not that straightforward.

Therefore, begin with passion, but don’t end there.

Why Passion is a Valuable Career Indicator:
Every job comes with challenges. Passion acts as a powerful motivator, cutting through obstacles effortlessly.

“Most skills can be acquired on the job,” says Steve Dalton, author of The 2-Hour Job Search. “The real challenge is convincing employers to invest in YOU.”

This involves demonstrating genuine interest in the field, which stems from passion.

“In the end, the heart desires what it desires,” Dalton adds. “As someone trained in chemical engineering, it pains me to admit that, but it’s the truth.”

Do you know what ignites your passion?

Take some time to reflect. Treat yourself to a coffee or indulge in a Buddha bowl. Enjoy the process.

Make a list of everything you love and all the activities you’d like to pursue.

Then, let’s delve deeper in the next section, where we’ll explore how to choose a career with more clarity.

Define Wealth to Avoid the Greatest Mistake of Your Lifetime

“I desire to possess a million dollars.”

You don’t need to merely desire.

As long as there is demand for goods and services, money flows abundantly in the world.

All you need to do is identify the right opportunities.

When you ponder, “Which profession suits me best?” or “What career path should I pursue?” wealth plays a significant role in the equation.

Do you aim for an annual income of $200,000? Would $100,000 suffice?

Or does wealth hold a different meaning for you altogether?

Some individuals earn millions yet remain discontent.

So, how do you select a career that brings you joy?

Wealth could mean:
– Earning $100,000 annually
– Working just 20 hours per week
– Residing in a remarkable location
– Embracing city life
– Having ample family time
– Engaging in fulfilling work
– Traveling frequently
– Enjoying country living
– Collaborating with exceptional colleagues

Could it encompass all these aspects, or perhaps something else entirely?

When embarking on your career journey, clarify from the outset what “wealth” signifies to you.

Build a List of Jobs You Can Love

All is progressing well.

You’ve identified your passions.
You’ve defined what wealth signifies to you.
You’re on the right track to understanding how to select a career.

Now, you require a compilation of job titles.

There are countless options out there.

Did you ever envision yourself in roles such as:

– Chick Sexer
– Accent-Reduction Specialist
– Director of Sound Design
– Orthoptist
– Chief Storyteller?

Believe it or not, these are all legitimate occupations.

Begin by compiling a comprehensive list that aligns with your objectives.

Start With a Comprehensive List of Job Titles:
Perform a Google search using the phrase “list of jobs for” followed by [YOUR PASSION].

For example:

Suppose your passion is writing.

Search for “list of jobs for writers” on Google.

You’ll discover extensive lists featuring various careers related to writing.

Journalist, speechwriter, technical writer, executive assistant, acquisitions editor…

Review several such lists. Create your own condensed list comprising 10 positions that resonate with you.

Then, proceed to explore your next passion and repeat the process.

Repeat this procedure for each skill you possess.

Finally, include some aspirational dream jobs.

Before long, you’ll have amassed a substantial list of 20–30 potential career options.

Look at Salaries to Dodge the Pauper Zone

When pondering the question of which job is suitable for me, avoid dismissing the significance of money.

To quote Kevin Ladd, the CEO of Scholarships.com, “You can’t buy happiness, but chicken breasts are $3.18 a pound.”

Seek intersections where your passion intersects with lucrative opportunities.

To achieve this, utilize:

1. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: This resource provides salary information for numerous careers, assisting you in eliminating low-paying options. (Data sourced from U.S. Census surveys.)

2. Glassdoor.com: Utilize the salary search feature to ascertain the pay scale for various job titles. (Data derived from millions of real employees worldwide.)

Skip Dead Ends by Knowing Job Outlook

Congratulations!

You’ve just invested a decade in mastering the craft of designing buggy whips.

Now, are you poised to earn a million dollars? Not quite.

When contemplating, “What career is right for me?” there are two crucial factors to consider:

1. How extensive is the training required for the job?
2. What is the job outlook, including the number of available positions and their growth potential?

Having the ability to select a career entails understanding the job market outlook.

Respecting the Training Process is Crucial
For instance, architects earn an average salary of $78,470 per year. However—

They typically undergo 5–7 years of schooling, in addition to accumulating 5,600 hours of work experience.

Yet, many architects earn considerably less than the average salary.

Is the investment worth it?

For each career option on your list, assess the level of difficulty in achieving it.

The most effective approach? Conduct a Google search using the phrase “How to become a” followed by [JOB TITLE].

Are You Struggling to Enter a Declining Industry?
Consider this scenario:

Would you rather become:

An AI developer or—
A rotary phone maker?
The Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that there are approximately 1.25 million software developer positions. These roles are projected to grow by 24% over the next decade, significantly faster than the average rate.

Moreover, the median annual salary for software developers is $103,560.

Not too shabby.

Now, let’s delve into the job prospects for rotary phone makers…

Hmm. No results found.

The Fun Part: Make a Short List of Your Favorite 10 Careers

Here comes the moment of truth.

Up until now, you’ve:

– Identified your passions
– Established your financial objectives
– Compiled a list of your preferred job titles
– Incorporated salary data from Glassdoor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
– Considered the job outlook

Now it’s time to streamline your list.

Take a glance at your “How to Choose a Career” spreadsheet. You likely have around 20–30 potential careers listed.

Choose the top 10 options that excel in terms of passion, wealth potential, salary, and job outlook.

Seek out the convergence point where high pay, high demand, your goals, and passion intersect.

However, your task isn’t complete yet.

What if you could inquire of your future self, “Are you content in this job?”

Well, you can.

 

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Predicting the Future for a Career You’ll Truly Enjoy

Here’s the exciting part.

For the next phase in selecting your ideal career—

Explore your future using:

Reddit
Informational Interviews

Utilize Reddit to Gauge Community Sentiment
For each of the ten jobs on your shortlist—

Perform a Google search:

“What’s it like to be a [JOB TITLE] reddit”
“Do you like being a [JOB TITLE] reddit”

For instance, if “financial analyst” is among your dream roles—

Search for “Do you like being a financial analyst reddit.”

This search yields results such as, “Is anyone a financial analyst?” and, “What exactly do financial analysts do?”

Additionally, you’ll come across posts like, “I want to be a financial analyst. Where do I start?”

This method opens a direct channel to numerous individuals already working in your desired field—a personalized career survey, if you will.

Impressive, isn’t it?

You can employ a similar approach on platforms like Quora.

However, a word of caution: Many Redditors express dissatisfaction. If even a small percentage of DevOps engineers are discontent, you’ll likely encounter them on Reddit.

Therefore, don’t solely rely on this method.

Engage in Brief Informational Interviews to Uncover Insights
Ready for the final step in selecting your career?

Utilize the insights gathered from Reddit to narrow down your list to the top five jobs.

Then, initiate informational interviews.

Seem daunting? It’s not.

Head to LinkedIn. In the search bar, type your desired job title.

Select the “people” option from the drop-down menu.

For instance, if you’re interested in DevOps, click on “DevOps in People” in the search results.

This action will present you with numerous professionals in the field.

Send a brief message to 2–3 individuals, such as:

“Hi [Name],

I’m considering a career in DevOps.

Would you mind answering a few questions about your role?

Best regards,
[Your Name]”

Here’s a valuable tip—

You may need to contact over 10 individuals to secure 2–3 responses.

Once you’ve established communication, inquire about:

– Their job satisfaction
– Compensation
– Career journey
– Any advice they would offer

This approach provides invaluable insights into your potential future career path.

The Issue with Career Assessments and Career Surveys

Warning!

Career quizzes and assessments are widely favored.

Every month, approximately half a million individuals search for variations of:

– Career aptitude test
– Career quiz
– Job quiz
– Career tests
– How to choose a career test

But why are they so popular?

At first glance, they seem like a fantastic concept! Answer a few questions, and voila! Your dream job is revealed.

However, there are several issues:

– Career quizzes often provide limited options, offering only a narrow range of choices.
– Career assessment tools overlook your life aspirations.
– Many lack comprehensive salary and job growth data.
– These quizzes focus on skills and personality traits rather than passions, inevitably missing out on potential careers you might love.

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