How can I know what career is right for me?

Whether you are just graduating high school or are ready for a change in your life, you’ve probably asked yourself, “how can I know what career is right for me?” With so many possibilities, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Think hard about your personality and the things you like to do. Many hobbies easily lend themselves to job opportunities, such as photography, cooking and writing. While you may not decide that owning your own restaurant is right for you, you could get training as a sous chef.

Do you have any natural talents that could drive your career choice? In which classes did you get the best grades? If English Literature was a personal favorite, consider going into the field of publishing and editing where the possibility of reading potential bestsellers is a daily perk. If you’ve always been fascinated by science and the natural world, consider a career in medicine or pharmaceuticals. Are you the one whom everyone calls when their computer breaks down? Plenty of career opportunities are available in the information technology field, whether you prefer dealing with hardware or software applications.

How do you work best? If you thrive in a slightly laid-back environment where you can take the time to be creative, you won’t be happy in a fast-paced, deadline-driven field. This is also a good time to consider whether you would be happiest working for yourself or for an employer. If you are self-motivated and like a less-structured environment, consider entering a field that welcomes freelancers, like graphic design or web development.

Do you want to work inside where the climate is always controlled, or does the outside beckon to you? If you find yourself staring out the window wistfully instead of working, perhaps you would be happiest as a park ranger or in the construction field. If you get bored staying in the same place and have a touch of the travel bug, consider a field or a job that offers travel opportunities, such as working for an airline.

Another important question to consider is whether you work best alone or as part of a team. If you enjoy having others around to bounce ideas off of, you won’t enjoy a job that keeps you tied to a desk in a quiet office. If you are naturally outgoing, a retail or other customer-service oriented position may be right for you.

Knowing yourself and being willing to answer these questions honestly will help you choose the career that will make you the most happy.

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