How to Conduct a Career Research

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Many people encounter difficulties in finding the right profession, therefore they spend many years of their lives permanently changing jobs that are not rewarding. Only 5% of people pick the right job on the first try, usually less innovative, creative and adventurous individuals who settle for a conventional path. If you are not one of those people, conducting a career research might be a good idea. Figure out what makes you tick, whether it’s your first job or you already work somewhere.

  • Step 1 – Reality check

The first thing you need to do when you start conducting a career research is to let go of all your preconceptions and confront reality. The media promotes hyped up jobs with people living exciting lives and earning a lot of money. For example, a job in law is considered safe, interesting and profitable, although most lawyers would not recommend their profession to other people, according to a survey conducted by he American Bar Association.

  • Step 2 – Discover your natural talents

Most people who are not sure about what they want to do in life do not take into account or are not aware of their skills and talents. Everybody has natural talents and can accomplish certain tasks with great ease, without considering it “hard work”. Brainstorm and make a list with all the qualities you can think of. A good idea is asking your friends and family for feedback, or consulting a career counselor for assessments. If you are still studying, visit the school’s career center. The employment office in a city may also have a career counseling department.

  • Step 3 – Make a list of occupations

Think about jobs that require those qualities and make a list. For each profession, add details such as educational requirements, earnings, the job description and job outlook. Narrow down the list to 5 or ten occupations, based on your findings, and write the remaining on a separate list. Circle the ones that you have previously thought about.

  • Step 4 – Explore

Gathering some in-depth information about the occupation is an important part of a career research, because it helps you understand it beyond the theoretical part. A good way to get some insights is to conduct informational interviews with professionals who have firsthand knowledge. Contact the people working in the field and ask them about what they do.

  • Step 5 – Try it

Before you truly commit to a profession, get some unpaid experience, such as an internship or volunteering. This will give you a chance to actually do the work and see if it something you can do long-term. Pick a lifestyle, not just a job, because some careers require commitment, including moving, traveling and taking major risks. If you will not be able to do it, it probably isn’t the right choice.

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