5 Questions to Clarify Your Career

career1Figuring out the career path you want to take can be a challenge for the college student or recent graduate who has little work experience. Sometimes it is hard to correlate your abstract thoughts about ideal work conditions with actual interests and your practical ability to be competent in the tasks you need to do to complete a job. To help you gain some clarity about your career, here are a few questions to ask yourself.

  1. If You Could Have Any Job, What Would It Be?
    Take a minute to be honest with yourself. If there were no restrictions or objections to your choice, ask yourself what your dream job would be. While your dream job at the moment may not be the dream job you will want five years from now, knowing this information can give you a direction in which to start working. A dream job can indicate a variety of important factors when deciding your career path like your field of interest, the work situation you find attractive, and/or your ambitions.
  2. What Interests You?Knowing what interests you is one way to find your career. Whether you know what field you want to work in or not, learning to follow your interests can be one way for you to build a career. If you are not interested in the work you will be doing 40 plus hours a week, your job satisfaction is unlikely to be high.
  3. What Are You Good at Doing?Combining your talents with your interests can insure that you get into a career that will not only keep you interested but hopeful keep you employed. Take a minute to make a list of all the things you are good at doing. Start with general talents (I am a great writer) and get more specific (I can quickly write good academic papers).
  4. Where Do You Want To Work?While this question can mean a specific place or company for individuals who have a clearer idea of their career, it is meant to help you figure out the ideal work environment for you. Are you going to be happy sitting in a cubicle five days a week or will you be better in the outdoors? Also, consider with whom you would be interacting in this environment. Are you going to be working alone or on a team? Only you can determine what the right work environment is for you.
  5. How Will Your Career and Personal Life Interact With Each Other?Knowing how your personal relationships will be affected by your career can help you make key decisions. For example, if you want to have children and be able to pick them up after school, you are going to want to consider careers that are going to have more flexible work schedules.

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