“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s a tough question to answer — at any age. In fact, most people change their minds over time. Research says the average American will switch jobs 12 times over the course of their career.
Fortunately, the process for choosing a new career is roughly the same whether you’re just starting your journey or reevaluating the path you’re currently on.
It all starts with a look inward.
Get to know yourself
To make sure you choose the right path, reconnect with who you are and what that means in any professional environment. Your values, interests and skills are all unique to you. Identifying them is the first step to finding the right career. Be honest and remember: There are a lot of different ways to be successful.
Feel like you’ve hit a wall, and you just don’t know if your list of values, interests and skills makes sense as a starting point for a career? Try taking an online assessment quiz or two, and use the results to provide greater clarity. Also, it’s a good idea to check back in from time to time; your values, interests and skills can change with experience.
Investigate a range of options
Now that you’ve done an honest self-assessment, it’s time to figure out what career options are the best match for somebody with your values, interests and skills.
Make a decision
Now that you’ve compiled and narrowed a list of options based on an understanding of each job’s requirements, you should be left with a few good choices — and a big decision to make. If you haven’t spoken directly to somebody involved in each of the remaining careers, now’s a great time to start.
If you’re having a difficult time deciding on which option is best, try creating a list of pros and cons for each, and ask for advice from people who have direct experience.
Remember to set your sights high and aim for roles and positions that you can grow into over time. If each of the steps you’ll need to take to get to the position you’re interested in sounds as fascinating to you as the results, you’ve found a good direction.
Build a plan
A solid career plan breaks long-term goals into manageable short- and medium-term tasks. That way you’ll continuously make measurable progress to avoid feeling discouraged, while at the same time reminding yourself of the larger purpose of each step you take.
Learn more: Aerotek's Guide to Career Planning
Sample the opportunities
Still not sure which is the best option, or don’t feel like you have enough information? There are several opportunities to get your feet wet without jumping into the deep end. For instance, contract labor and internships are great ways to test the waters. Think of these as “try before you buy” options.
And if you’re looking for advice from someone with knowledge about a range of occupations, you can always reach out to Aerotek.
Aerotek recruiters are dedicated to specific industries so that they can guide people just like you through their career. To connect with a recruiter and truly identify your ideal career, create a free career account and reach out.