Planning a career can be the single-most impactful series of decisions you make – charting a course for your personal and financial future. If that sounds scary, it shouldn’t. What no one tells you is that the decision you make isn’t permanent. You aren’t signing your life away on a contract, and there is room for change and even failure along the way.
All you’re doing when you plan a career is making the best possible guess as to what job you’ll enjoy the most – the one that best suits your talents, lifestyle and personality. Whether you’re 16-years-old or 60, planning a career is essential to working the job you want.
Do it your way. Rather than follow career placement tests or be influenced by external pressure, follow your heart and take the necessary steps to actualize your plans. Here’s how to do it!
Evaluate Your Options
The first step in the process is to evaluate your options. This involves listing your talents, proficiencies, wants, needs, personality type and work style and figuring out which jobs suit you the best. To structure this part of the process, use the BLIP method:
- Brainstorm: start by listing all the potential careers you’d like to pursue. Shoot for the moon here. Brainstorm all jobs you want to try, based on nothing more than your in-the-moment excitement. You will be using this brainstorm a little later.
- List: List all of your natural talents (i.e. musical ability, writing ability, math proficiency, etc.) List all of your real-world skills (ability to code, fluency with administrative software, etc.) Finally, be honest and list your personality type. Do you work best solo, or with others? Do you prefer physical labor or mental work?
- Identify: Identify which jobs in your initial brainstorm match your list of talents, skills and personality traits.
- Prioritize: Prioritize those jobs based on which ones fit you the best.
Following these steps should give you a shortlist of jobs, from which you can ultimately pick your perfect career.
Ensure You Have the Necessary Credits to Pursue Your Career
From the initial ideation stage, next you have to plan how to make that career a possibility. That often means pursuing an education. Look up courses geared toward your chosen career and ensure that you have the proper prerequisites. If you don’t, you can still get those prerequisites – just take your classes online through a school authorized by the Ministry of Education to grant credits.
Through an online school, you can work at your own pace over 12 months to obtain the necessary credit, during which time you can also…
Shadow, Intern or Volunteer
Besides your school education, you can also prepare for your chosen career by shadowing, interning and/or volunteering. Seek out organizations that offer your preferred career path. Solicit mentorship, apply for internships or – if your career is in the non-profit sector – sign up to volunteer.
That’s all there is to it: three easy steps. Narrow your options, pursue an education and gain real-world experience. Before long, you’ll be on track to working a career you love.