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How to get started on your ideal career path

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Photo Credit: ASK-Fotografie

During childhood, we are often asked about what we want to be when we grow up. The answers are normally outlandish and exciting careers such as astronauts, firefighters or the president. As adolescents, the answers become more realistic but also more vague and open to quick changes. Throughout education, you will have been subjected to frequent queries regarding your ideal career and how you plan to achieve it. At such a young age, this can seem like an impossible question. Even into adulthood, knowing which career path you want to take is extremely daunting. Many people dip their toe into a few different areas before settling for what they like best, but the journey to that golden job can be a difficult one. Here are a few helpful tips to guide you on your journey to starting your ideal career.

Research a Broad Variety of Fields

As mentioned above, students and people between careers are regularly bombarded with questions about their future plans. While this is understandably stressful, it is also helpful to push your mind in one direction or another. When it comes to choosing a career path, you must find a balance between keeping yourself open to possibilities, opportunities, and changes of heart, as well as narrowing down your expertise in order to elevate you above the competition. A jack of all trades won’t be hired over an expert in a particular area, so it’s important to gain a relatively deep knowledge of a small selection of fields that you find appealing. Are you drawn to journalism? Business? Teaching? Create a long list of all your ideal jobs, regardless of what can be achieved. Narrow these down to the more realistic careers and search for similarities. Do they all involve working with your hands? Do they all involve a lot of travel? Once you’ve taken the time to consider what you truly want from your career, you’ll be ready to go out and find it.

Talk to People in the Industry

Sometimes a particular job or career path might seem incredibly appealing from the perspective of an outsider looking in. However, before you throw yourself into the lengthy preparation, education, and commitment that comes with dedicating yourself to a new career seek out the opinions and advice of people already in the industry. Talk to lawyers or judges before committing yourself to a career in law. Ask what life is like as a business owner before investing in your own company. It’s risky to assume you know enough about your chosen career before even speaking to people who have already experienced it. This is also an efficient way of telling you whether or not you truly want this job after all. Do the negatives outweigh the positives or the other way around? Use what you learn to your advantage and don’t be afraid to change your mind about a career before you begin.

Give Yourself New Opportunities

Perhaps you’ve been working in all kinds of jobs throughout your life so far. Perhaps you’ve recently left education or a long-term career that didn’t satisfy you. It’s natural to desire change in life and a new career path is an exciting and potentially life-changing way of finding it. To get started on your chosen path, first research the kind of qualifications you might require. Even if they aren’t necessarily essential to landing your dream job, they might come in handy to impress interviewers or enhance your expertise on a subject that will serve you well in your job. For example, a BBA degree is an excellent way to kick-start a career that could lead you to your ideal lifestyle. You can study it online and it only takes 6 weeks! Maybe attending some networking events will introduce you to the first of many vital contacts. Create opportunities for yourself by focusing closely on the elements that will make you the perfect candidate for your perfect job.

Don’t Hide Your Ambitions

Sometimes the hunger for an exciting new career journey can become so intense and important to you that you refuse to share it with anyone as if the very act of articulating it might destroy your chances. Keeping certain parts to yourself may be wise in particular circumstances, but overall it is good to share your ambitions with the people around you. Even with a relatively small network of seemingly unconnected people can bring surprising results once those people know about your goals. Perhaps a friend or family member used to work with someone in the business you’re hoping to break into. Don’t be afraid to let people know that you’re seeking a career in a particular field or industry – they might just be the people who alert you to the perfect job posting.

Examine Your Reasons

What is it about this precise career path that appeals to you? Is it the income? The associated lifestyle? The respect given to the profession? Give yourself time to ask these questions and reflect on your own answers. If the only reason you want to become a surgeon is for the money, you will most likely lack the motivation and determination to break into such a skilled and stressful career. You also need to be passionate about what you will be doing. Find something that lights a fire inside you instead of opting for a career path that only has a few surface aspects of appeal. You will be better equipped to manage any future setbacks and push forward to achieve your dream.

Create Attainable Goals

Like anything in life, setting clear and achievable goals is vital to moving forward. It might seem simple at first, but knowing exactly what you want can be more difficult than it first appears. Outline the steps you will need to take in order to put yourself on the career path you want. Will you need to revisit education? Meet with a particular group of people? Move to a certain part of the world? Break each step into actionable chunks and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll see yourself moving onwards and upwards.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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