The most popular ways of choosing a career are often the most unsuccessful in achieving success. So how do most people choose a career? Here is a list of the most common ways that people approach it.
How to Choose a Career – Why the 7 Most Commonly Used Approaches are Often Unsuccessful
1. Choosing Careers That Are Closely Aligned to the Last Job You Did
When going through the process of how to choose a career, most people who have a previous employment history select a career that is similar to their previous employment.
The main problem with this approach is that the last job a person did usually includes all the key elements of a career they did not like
So if the new career choice is based on experience in that job, they are only heading for more of the same.
2. Trying to Match a Career With the Subjects You Were Good at in School or College
This is one of the most popular methods of choosing careers and sometimes it can work quite well.
However more often it does not.
The problem with this method of how to choose a
With an unending list of careers on offer, you will miss assessing many possible career possibilities if you just look at what you were good at in school.
If we have been particularly passionate about a subject at school, this certainly can provide some nice clues when choosing careers.
But only that, some nice clues.
3. Responding to the Market and the Current Needs of Employers
It is good practice to pay attention to what the market is doing when addressing the issue of how to choose a career.
By this I mean, being aware of what careers and industries are expanding and in growth mode and which ones are dying out.
However, some people’s process of choosing careers is based purely on what today’s ten hottest careers might be.
But using this type of criteria for choosing careers, you will be totally ignoring the foundation of good career selection, that is, who am I and what am I good at.
4. Choosing a Career That is Safe and Secure
Is there really such a thing as a safe and secure career.
I’m not sure safe and secure is very often good criteria for choosing careers. Anyone who ever left their mark on the world was very rarely safe.
I know that we live in uncertain economic times, but it is during these very difficult times that a person most needs to be doing the job they love to do and are good at.
Because when you are doing a job that you love to do and are good at, you will probably be in a much more secure job.
This is because the people that lose their jobs first during economic uncertainty are those who are not the top performers.
If I am an employer and I need to lay off 20% of my staff.
Guess who goes first.
Those who are best at their job will be the last to go.
And those who are not very good at their job are usually in this position because their job is mismatched with their natural abilities.
This is not always the case, but more often than not. Looking through a list of careers can be a common way of choosing careers.
Although it can be helpful to see if anything on the careers list has initial appeal, lists usually provide only a portion of the available career options.
As mentioned above, it really is starting in the wrong place for someone wanting to know how to choose a career with a long term focus. The best method of choosing careers always begins by looking inside the individual, rather than looking at the job.
6. Selecting The Best Paying Careers
Of course, the money will always come into the mix when considering how to choose a career.
But if you are going to be choosing careers based primarily on the best-paying careers, research tells us that you will not experience long-term job satisfaction.
This reminds me of a situation when I was about 20 years old.
A friend of mine who was an intelligent and likable fellow decided to adopt the ‘find the best paying career’ approach when deciding on how to choose a career.
He concluded that he wanted to get a job at the meat processing plant. My immediate thoughts were “what a ghastly job”.
So I quizzed him on why he wanted a job like that.
His response was that this was one of the best paying careers that he knew about.
Now let’s face it if you can secure a job that rates as one of the best paying careers, it can be very enticing.
And of course, there is nothing wrong with seeking employment in a job like this if it is part of a longer career plan to find your dream career.
Of course, there will be some people to whom working in a meatworks will be a very fulfilling job.
But I’m talking about taking a job purely for the money where you otherwise have no desire for that type of work.
And my friend didn’t really want to work in the meatworks.
He was enticed entirely by the fact that it was one of the best paying careers in his area.
7. Visit a Career Counselor for Advice
This is a great first step when choosing careers, either prior to beginning your work life or seeking career change advice further down the track.
Somebody who is trained in unraveling the mystery of our uniqueness in relation to the world of work can definitely help us decide how to choose a career.
But as with any professional group, there are good career counselors and not so good ones.
So you will need to do your homework before choosing a career counselor to visit.
The best piece of advice I could give somebody prior to going to see a career counselor is to realize that a career counselor cannot tell you what to do.
In fact, a good career counselor will definitely not want to tell you what to do.
Her job is to help you unravel your deepest motivations and desires and show you how they connect with the process of how to choose a career.
A process that is primarily directed by you and only aided by the career counselor.
8. Taking an Online Career Test and Choosing a Job from the Results
I don’t really recommend this when choosing careers
There are problems on a number of fronts when taking an online career quiz or one of the many types of career tests.
They are frequently counter-productive because they often do not identify some of the very good fit career choices that should be known to an individual.
9. Following in Their Parents Footsteps
This method of how to choose a career is probably not as common as it used to be a generation or two ago.
But there are expectations from some parents for their kids to carry on in the family business or simply to do a job that they think is a good career choice.
This can also come from well-meaning friends.
It is always good to listen to what others think you are good at. Sometimes they do have your best interests at heart.
But other times they may not. Listen carefully to the reasons behind their suggestions.
What is the Best Advice on How to Choose a Career?
Socrates dictum ‘Know Thyself’ is always a good place to start
You and I are incredibly unique individuals and are born with different gifts and abilities that must be taken into account when we are deciding how to choose a career.
The problem has always been how to find out what those genuine inborn job skills are. For reasons I’m unsure about, some people know instinctively how to choose a career from a very young age.
These people make up a very small percentage of the population, but they can be frequently found in the top of their field.
You probably know one. My twelve-year-old son fits this criterion.
Recognizing Inborn Abilities at a Young Age
At 12 years old, you don’t have a career development plan, so the only way a person of that age could be so sure of what he wants to do would be from some intuitive knowing.
My twelve-year-old son has already chosen a career instinctively.
From a very early age, he has always had a fascination with aeroplanes.
His passion never wavered, and now at the age of 12, he has already commenced his private pilot’s license training and is a member of the local aero club.
At no point during his childhood, did we or anyone else suggest to him that flying aeroplanes would be a good career or in any way give him any advice on how to choose a career?
Recently on his birthday, I took a short trip to Christchurch International Airport (which is at the end of our street) to sit with him and watch the planes take off and land.
We sat there for quite some time until it was dark.
In the distant night sky, I spotted the headlights of an aeroplane making its landing approach.
Then my 12-year-old son said to me, “Yeah, that’s an Airbus A320.” I looked at him, thinking that there was no way he could tell what type of plane that was in the dark from such a distance, as all I could see was one white light in the sky.
Then he went on to explain to me that he could just make out the flashing sequences of the small lights on the wings.
And from that, he knew that it was an Airbus A320.
He used to sit in his bedroom at night, and when the wind was coming from the Northwest, all the airplanes flew over his bedroom window at about 150 meters above.
He would write down the plane types in a book including the airline and the estimated arrival time which he obtained from the Internet.
He got to know all the plane types, and he could tell you remarkable details about the planes, just from his prolonged observations.
Finding Your Dream Career
That’s an example of somebody for whom choosing careers seems to happen without even thinking about it.
Unfortunately, most people don’t possess that innate ability.
And if you are not one of those people who know what work you were born for intuitively, there is still hope, a lot of hope.
There are some very tangible things you can do that will greatly enhance your ability to know how to choose a career that’s right for you.
A lot of people have some insight into their deepest passions and inborn skills.
But this needs to be probed quite deeply to establish confidence when choosing careers.
I have developed the Dream Career Finder to accomplish exactly that.
It is a tool that will make it very clear to you, what type of work you should be doing so that you can experience that magnificent sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes with doing a job that you were made to do.
Learn more about how the Dream Career Finder can help you.