When choosing a career, most people do not already have their lifestyle established. They graduate from high school and either begin a job based on vocational school courses they took while earning their diploma, or they start college. They get to choose their dream job and build their lifestyle around it. Adults who want to change careers though need to build their careers to suit their lifestyle.
A Career to Suit Your Lifestyle
What does that mean? The spouse of an individual in the military frequently relocates due to military assignments, so they need a career that works around the military reassignments. A single parent of small children might want to work from home until their children enter school, so their career would need to suit it. Your career also needs to suit your personality, so if you detest spending time with other people, forget working as a teacher or a caregiver.
Take a Career Test
The military offers the ASVAB in high schools across the U.S. It helps people determine which military career best suits them. Many civilian online career tests abound, too. These tests help to hone down the choices based on your personality, interests, and talents.
Tests like the ASVAB reveal hand-eye coordination, among other important factors. Taking it lets a person know if they might qualify to join the workforce of 8.5% of the U.S., its 12.5 million manufacturing workers. Online tests do not provide these types of hands-on tests, but area vocational schools do.
Research the Short List of Potential Careers and Industries
Because the career tests include your likes and dislikes, your results will probably include things that you would enjoy doing. For instance, those who enjoy spending time outdoors and gardening might join the more than 381,044 U.S. individuals Zippia reports work as landscapers. This choice might not suit a need for working from home though. Research on the educational requirements, weekly schedule, work conditions, etc. of a landscaper might reveal that starting a small plant nursery would better suit your lifestyle needs.
Not all things you enjoy doing could provide a career. Although the world provides diversity, the career a person chooses must be in demand or they won’t earn money. By studying job descriptions on sites like Monster and Indeed, find the jobs that employers offer that best suit your desires for a career and lifestyle.
Examine Job Descriptions Within Each Industry
These career tests often reveal industries in which a person might want to work. For example, the construction industry employs about 7.8 million people as of January 2023, according to Zippia, but that 2.9% of the U.S. workforce consists of many different jobs. Read the job descriptions of plumbers, masons, electricians, welders, etc. to find out which jobs appeal most to you. These job descriptions also include lists of special skills needed and daily duties.
Analyze Your Data and Yourself
Perhaps the career test revealed that you would excel as a dental assistant or in advertising sales. If you reflect on the items the tests say you would do well, but you detest those careers, then they don’t suit you. Avoid choosing something that conflicts with your personality or happiness. If you consider yourself a people person, take a job that lets you spend time with people, not one that places you in solitude. Even if you disliked prior jobs you held, consider what you did like about each.
Make a list of your passions. How do you spend your free time? Note if you adore travel, working in an office, working alone or as a group. Your career choice should dovetail with your likes, not conflict with them.
Choose a Career Mentor
Locate a successful individual in your desired field or at your school who agrees to help you develop yourself and your career. This person might serve as the school guidance counselor or a respected teacher. This person only offers advice, they do not do the work for you. They simply tell you the steps to take and, in some cases, sign off on required paperwork, such as permission slips for an ACT or SAT prep class.
Narrow the Options
Create a list of final choices for your potential career. Research the educational path for each and consider each. Would you willingly attend the 10 years of college to become a doctor, or would the less than two-year program to become an emergency medical technician (EMT) better suit you? Narrowing your choice means considering the work it takes to earn the right to do the work, too.
Network with Career People
Attend career fairs, chamber of commerce meetings, and other events at which you can interact with people of various careers. Ask each person who has a job on your list about what they do. Find out what their real day-to-day job entails.
Complete an Internship
Getting a job as an intern lets you learn the business while working at it. Internships typically last one semester or summer, so they require a tiny time commitment but let you learn about the careers that interest you. Internships also provide insight into how a typical office in the industry functions.
Choose Your Career
Taking a skills assessment test starts you on your way to finding your career. Research helps you hone your choices, while a mentor assists you in general career development. Obtain the necessary education and complete an internship to round out your choice.