5 questions to ask when choosing your future career path

You’ve just finished school, and your future is full of possibilities. So many paths lie ahead; so many careers you could pursue. How do you determine what to do?

It is important to choose wisely, as your career will likely be a fundamental part of your identity, as well as a major factor that will affect your lifestyle and livelihood.

As such, here are five questions to take into account so you can make the best possible decision for yourself.

1. What do I like to do?

You don’t have to be completely in love with your job, but you should at least choose a career that you can imagine yourself doing every day. You wouldn’t want to be the type of person who gets depressed on Sunday night because of the prospect of being back in the workplace on Monday.

Find a line of work that you can see yourself doing for most of your life. Do you like expressing yourself creatively? Do you enjoy helping others? Are you fascinated by machines, or people’s behaviour, or the mysteries of time and space? Defining your interests can point you in the right direction.

2. Can this job support the lifestyle I want?

It’s all very well to do something you love, but does it pay your bills? Some jobs may be fun and exciting but come with low salaries.

If you truly want to join a particular field that might not pay as much as you’d like, here are a couple of options:

  • reduce your expenses and live happily on a lower salary; or
  • pursue this as a hobby or side venture, with a day job as your main source of income.

3. How does my career fit in with my personality?

While discovering what you like is good for finding a general area of work, examining your personality will help you specialise.

You might be interested in art, for example, but would you prefer to be an artist, an art lecturer, an art dealer, a gallery owner, an arts writer, or an art-supplies salesman?

Some useful questions to ask about your personality include:

  • are you the type who prefers to work alone or in groups?
  • do you like to travel?
  • do you like numbers and data, analysing and strategising?
  • do you enjoy selling things and dealing with customers?
  • are you a leader or do you prefer to follow?

4. What are the drawbacks of the job?

No job is perfect. Some are very technical or require a lot of effort and learning; others might demand long hours, or call for you to work in unpleasant conditions.

No matter what you take up, you will likely have to make sacrifices of one kind or another. What are the difficult parts of your potential occupation, and are you willing to deal with these challenges.

5. Do I know enough about my chosen career path?

Certain fields – such as law and medicine – are very different from how they are portrayed on popular media! If you are interested in a particular career, research it. Talk to people in the industry and learn as much as you can about their work. Apply for internships or apprenticeships, where possible.

And also, remember: it’s never too late to change.

So, if you discover your chosen career is not a good fit despite all your research and preparation, don’t despair.

According to research by Apollo Technical, most people have an average of 12 jobs throughout their lifetimes. About 29% also completely change their field when starting their first job after university.

Renowned designer Vera Wang, for example, was a professional figure skater and magazine editor before transitioning to fashion design at the age of 40.

Yes, it will take some effort (and money), and you might need to go back to school or pick up some new skills. But it is never too late to find a career that suits you – one that will offer you a life that makes you feel fulfilled.

Good luck in your career search! If you need major help, ReSkills is always here to help you reskill or upskill yourself to assist you in the career of your dreams.

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