Your career has a big impact on your future. It will shape your identity, personal fulfilment, lifestyle, income, family and retirement. Don’t let the opinions or expectations of others sway your decision making. Ultimately, your career choice is solely yours. In this article we explain how to decide on a future job and what factors to consider when weighing up the options so that you make the best informed decision for your future.
Interests, Values & Personality Traits
1. What are my interests?
The activities you enjoy doing in your free time can give you insights into the careers that would be satisfying and fulfilling for you. To figure out your interests, ask yourself:
- What hobbies do I enjoy?
- Do I prefer spending time indoors or outdoors?
- Do I enjoy working with people, animals, data or books?
- What activities would I miss the most if I could no longer do them?
2. What are my values?
Everyone has values or things that are important to them, such as financial security, social justice or work-life balance. These values can help you decide what type of career to pursue. Here for instance, consider a job that pays well if you value financial security, and consider the type of hours you’d like to work to achieve work-life balance and what career may offer that to you.
3. What is my personality?
Your personality is the way you think, feel and behave. It can be an important factor in guiding you towards a specific career, so consider several aspects of your personality as you reflect on your future.
- Are you a leader or a follower?
- Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?
- Do you prefer to cooperate or compete with others?
- Do you enjoy helping others or prefer to empower them to do things themselves?
- Are you a thinker who focuses on ideas or are you a doer who takes action?
- Are you a creative and artistic person or do you thrive with structure and routine?
Skills, Attributes & Education
4. What are my skills?
Right now, you already possess skills that can help you succeed in the future. Think about your hard skills and soft skills.
- Hard skills – skills you’ve acquired through study, such as culinary arts or computer programming.
- Soft skills – the people and life skills you possess, including empathy, teamwork, problem-solving and time management.
Remember, skills can be developed and new skills can be learned at any stage of life, so don’t let a lack of skills put you off a certain career path. Let the existing skills you have guide you. Whether you require further skill development or not will be the next challenge.
5. What are my talents and strengths?
From the time you were little, you demonstrated talents and strengths that make you unique; these qualities can help you succeed in your chosen career. In fact, Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, Out of Our Minds, says that: If you don’t know your talents and strengths, make a list of everything you’re good at doing. Your family members, friends, teachers, boss and mentors can help you write this list that you will use to narrow down potential careers.