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How to choose a career path

By Emilly Parris

When it comes to choosing a career path, figuring out which direction to go in can be overwhelming—especially when everyone around you seems so certain about their future. Believe it or not, career indecision is quite common, particularly for people who have a wide range of interests, hobbies and enjoy pursuing many different things.

To help you decide, we’ve outlined some steps you can take to choose the right career path and feel confident in your career trajectory.

How to choose your career path 

  1. Spend some time with yourself.
  2. Write down a list of occupations that interest you. 
  3. Choose the option that best aligns your goals.
  4. Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. 

1. Spend some time with yourself.

Before you make any big decisions in life, it’s a good idea to spend some time reflecting on where you are and where you hope to be in the future. Ask yourself what you want for your career—whether it be financial stability, work-life balance, personal fulfilment or all of the above. What are your values, strengths, interests and aptitudes? What is your work style? How will your personality type steer you into a career that is right for you?

By doing this, you can create a list of occupations that reflect your interests and suit your personality. For example, if you know you enjoy helping people and prefer a more hands-on role rather than being at a desk all day some suitable options may include carer, disability worker or counsellor.

It’s important to have this conversation with yourself because it will make narrowing down your options much easier. If you’re still having trouble, it might be worth speaking to a career counsellor, coach or even a friend or family member who can ask you questions and guide you through the process.

2. Write down a list of occupations that interest you.

young man writing in journal

Now that you know yourself a little better, it’s time to start brainstorming some ideas. Make a list of all the occupations that you’re interested in, as well as the pathways to get there. Some occupations require skills you may not have yet, so you will need to invest in a course or training program before you can start looking for work.

This is an opportunity to browse courses and look at the type of content you’ll be learning. If you’re excited about the course content, this could be a good avenue to take.

Sometimes, an occupation sounds great on paper but when you look further into it, you quickly realise it’s not something that you want to do. Narrowing down your options in this way can help with the decision-making process.

3. Choose the option that best aligns with your goals.

Once you have a good list of occupations, you’re ready to choose the one that excites you the most. You probably have several great options, and a few that look a little more promising. Try to look at it from all angles—will this occupation fulfil my personal and professional needs? What is the job market like for this occupation? How quickly can I expect to progress in this career?

While well-meaning relatives may want to have a say in your career choice, it’s up to you to decide how much they can weigh in on the topic. Ultimately, it’s your pursuit so it’s important that you’re happy with it.

4. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time.

young woman working from home

Choosing a career for life is a thing of the past—these days it’s more common to change careers at least two, sometimes four times throughout your life. Your career will evolve over time to suit your age, lifestyle and goals. 

There are plenty of opportunities to shift gears and try something new without going all the way back to the drawing board. Whether that’s through completing a short course or jumping straight into an employee training program at a new company.

Looking for more guidance?

Upskilled offers a range of online courses in some of Australia’s leading industries. Have a chat to one of our education consultants for more information or browse our list of online courses and get inspired about what your future could look like.
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