There are so many exciting opportunities available in so many careers that many young women, and men too, end up going to college without a clear cut idea of what direction they will go in. This problem can cause them to waste valuable time, when they could be moving in a definite direction toward long term goals.
This is why a high school student or first year college student needs to learn to focus intently on finding an answer to the age old question: What do I want to do?
This is an exciting and critical choice, especially for young women, who today have unlimited choices regarding careers, many of which used to be dominated by men. More than ever, young women are capable of entering and excelling at anything they choose. This is why it is important to think about it ahead of time and get on the right path.
My best advice is to think big when it comes to a career choice. When you pick a type of career, make sure you don’t limit yourself to one thing. Pick something in which you will have some leadership and growth potential. You want a career that will help you be the very best, smartest, well-rounded person you can be. You want something that may not be easy, but has the potential to be amazing.
A study at the Pew Research Center showed that organizations with three or more women in top leadership roles have high scores for contributing to the overall effectiveness of companies.
I know how intimidating it is to try to make decisions when you don’t really know what a career will be like until you actually graduate and go to work. There are always some things that are impossible to know until you do them. But, there are a couple of things you can do that will help the process.
Fact is, if you are not able to figure out some basic things before you begin your education, you may spend a lot of money and invest a lot of time in a career in your life that may not be right for you at all. If you waste years doing something that doesn’t make you happy, you won’t be able to go back and start over again.
Statistics show that many college graduates often end up being employed in a completely different field than the first career they started out in. This happens quite a bit – because the world is changing at such a fast pace, it is hard to predict anything that is going to happen. Times are so different than say, 50 years ago, when most people worked one job their whole life. Today’s careers offer many more opportunities for personal development, especially for women because there are more opportunities available than ever before.
By spending time analyzing your personal needs before choosing a career, you are contributing to the process of developing a higher emotional IQ, which has been shown to be a contributing factor in 58% of variations in personal and professional success. A high percentage of employers today are placing increased value on a person’s emotional IQ, rather than a person’s IQ level alone, when seeking employees.
Here’s a shortlist of five easy steps to helping you decide on a career.
#1 Who Am I?
First of all, spend time doing some serious thinking about the kind of person you are and what sort of activities make you happy. Are you a people person, who needs constant interaction with those around you, or are you happiest working solo and accomplishing tasks on your own?
#2 What are My Goals?
Ask yourself what kind of goals you want to set in your career. Do you a job with the chance for numerous achievements, or would you be happier with a set of simpler smaller steps for personal development?
#3 What is Important to Me?
Find out the kind of things that really matter to you and the kind of topics you are interested in. I know this sounds ridiculously basic, but unless you can do this, you will have no idea what direction to start out in.
#4 Where do I Want to Live?
The place you want to live and work is ultimately the first thing you should know. This can help you narrow down the type of work you do because of the opportunities in your location.
#5 How Can I Make the World A Better Place?
Think about what kind of personal talents you have and any specific way you can use your individual talent to make a difference in the lives of others. Everyone has a unique set of talents/skills that can contribute to the wellbeing of other people. What is your thing? What are you really good at? What have you done in your life that made you the happiest?
When you look at these five basic questions and record your answers, you will have a basic outline of the kind of career choice you can make.
After you have answered the five questions, it’s time to dig deeper and find more information on the career you are interested in. Read, study, and explore many different types of careers and try to visualize yourself working in that type of a role. Talk to people who do different things. See what you can learn just by searching for information. Use the knowledge and input of everyone around you to help you in your search for what you want to do.
Consequently, after deciding what career you want, you can take the next step and investigate all the various schools that could provide you with that learning.
The important thing is to make sure you don’t limit yourself because of any fear you might have about reaching your goals. Truthfully, it is up to you, as far as you can go in any career, so don’t be afraid to reach higher and farther than anything you have ever done. Educational opportunities will lead you down a path to personal growth that will change your life forever in so many ways.
Set your goals high when considering a career direction, and then take the first step that will eventually get you a rewarding career, not just one that will pay the bills. A job needs to be more than that.
You need a job that involves doing something you will enjoy, but it should also be a job that will challenge your abilities and give you the satisfaction of doing something well and changing the world the way that only you can change it. Believe in yourself and you will get there.
This article was contributed by guest author Karen Bresnahan.