Career Options – How to Choose Your Ideal Career

By Lisa McGrimmon

When you know how to research your career options, you’ll be prepared to make smart career decisions for yourself. Once you have a few potential career choices in mind, the next step in the career decision making process is to learn about those careers in depth and look for similar or related careers that could also be a good match for your needs.

concept of choiceAs you research your career options, you should look for specific information about the major tasks involved in your careers of interest.

1. Determine how you would spend most of your time on the job.

For each career option, determine the major, day to day tasks. Ask yourself whether you could imagine spending a lot of time working on those types of tasks. Determine which job related tasks are most appealing to you.

2. Determine the starting, median and top salaries earned in the fields.

Compare the income you could reasonably expect to make immediately, and over the long term for each career option. Decide whether the salary ranges for each job in line with your needs and expectations.

3. Determine the qualifications required to get hired in each new career.

Honestly assess your current skills and experience and ask yourself whether you have the necessary skills to get hired in each field. If you are lacking important skills, education or experience, decide whether you are willing and able to get qualifications and skills required to be marketable in each new career.

4. If you have any health issues to consider, find information about the physical requirements of each job.

Understand what is required on the job from a physical point of view to ensure the job is a good fit with your own physical status and needs so you will be able to build a long and healthy career.

5. Find out how each of your potential career options fits in with your local labor market.

Determine whether you will be able to find a job locally, or whether you will need to commute or even move in order to realistically pursue each possible career.

6. Get information on the typical career path of someone working in each career.

Find out what kind of work are people doing ten years into their careers. Determine whether your potential career options provide opportunities for growth and advancement that fit with your own values, interests and needs.

As you research your career options, use sources that are as close to home as possible. While you can get some useful information from career descriptions that are based on a country other than your own, careers will vary across countries. You could find vastly different pay ranges, educational requirements, labor market outlooks and even job descriptions across countries. So, ideally, you should be looking for career and labor market information that is based on information gathered for the country in which you intend to work.

Now, finding all of this information may sound pretty daunting, but once you start searching, you will find plenty of great labor market information resources online and in your community. Choosing career options that meet all of your expectation and building a career that is a great match for you is rewarding and well worth the time it takes to do a little bit of research before you commit to your career choices.