How to choose a career

Article reading time: 4 min. | 21. Aug 2023, written by Kobi Cohen
Tags CareerAdvice Career CareerPath CareerChoice CareerOptions JobSelection ChoosingACareer CareerPathway CareerDecisions CareerPlanning
How to choose a career

How to Choose a Career: A Comprehensive Guide to Career Success

How to choose a career – for many, it’s a big and scary question. 

Deciding on the right career path is one of the most important decisions you'll make in your life. It can shape your future, enhance personal growth, and have major effects on your long-term happiness.  

But with endless career options available, making the right choice and finding your dream career can be overwhelming.  

But don't worry - you're not alone. We're here to guide you.  

In this article, we'll take you through a comprehensive journey, to help you discover a career that aligns perfectly with your: 

  • Passions 
  • Skills 
  • Values 
  • Goals 

Plus, we'll show you how education - and online learning, specifically - can help you achieve your career aspirations by equipping you with the knowledge, skills, and credentials you need. 

Ready? Let’s get started with our guide on how to choose a career. 

Factors to consider

5 factors to consider when choosing a career

A young professional woman writing on a white board and smiling at work

1. Interests and passions

To start, consider what you naturally enjoy doing, and what brings you happiness. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What topics or activities do you naturally gravitate towards? 
  • What do you enjoy learning about? 
  • What activities bring you the most satisfaction and happiness? 
  • What do you find yourself thinking about or talking about most often? 

If you love technology, a career in software development or cyber security might be your jam. If you're good with numbers, finance or accounting could be your calling.  

Have you heard of the Strong Interest Inventory test? It’s a self-assessment test used by many young professionals who are asking themselves how to find the right career for me. 

Take the test to get a strong indication of where your interests and passions really lie, and you’ll have a better idea of how to choose the right career for yourself. 

Follow your passions, and you'll find success in whatever you do. 

Man sitting in front of laptop at work choosing a career based on skills and strengths

2. Skills and strengths

Next, reflect on your skills and strengths. Determine what tasks and activities come easily and what you excel at. To help you understand your strong suits, consider the following questions: 

  • What tasks or activities do you find easy and enjoyable? 
  • What are you particularly knowledgeable about? 
  • What past accomplishments are you most proud? 
  • In what situations have you received positive feedback from others? 

Struggling to answer these questions? Consider taking a personality test, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test.  

In this test, you’ll answer a series of questions about yourself, to see which one of the 16 possible personality types you match. 

Your MBTI result, which is often used by hiring managers assessing candidates for a role, will give you a strong indication of the type of personality you have, and which occupations match it best. 

For instance, if you're an expert at problem-solving, data science or engineering could be an excellent choice for you. If you have a way with words, marketing or content creation might be where you’ll shine. 

A teaching smiling at her students at a school working on arts and crafts

3. Values and beliefs

Values and beliefs are another key factor to consider during your career exploration. It's essential to think about what's important to you, and find a job that aligns with your beliefs.  

Ask yourself questions like: 

  • What causes or issues do you care about most? 
  • What do you believe is most important in life? Job titles and a high salary, or a job that makes you feel fulfilled
  • What motivates you? 
  • What makes you happy and satisfied? 

For example, if you believe in equal opportunities to all, you might want to look into careers in non-profit or human rights organisations, or government agencies.  

If you care about the environment, you might want to consider jobs in sustainability, renewable energy, or environmental law. 

And if you’re passionate about helping others and supporting your community, a career in healthcare management - or even workplace psychology - might be your calling.  

A young professional conducting research

4. Job market research and future outlook

Of course, we can't forget to mention the actual state of the job market – now and in the years to come. 

It is essential for you to research the trends and demand for your chosen career field. To avoid investing in a career that may not be in demand in the future, consider things like: 

  • Which industries are growing? Which are declining? 
  • What are the future job growth prospects for the careers you are considering? 
  • What skills and qualifications are in high demand and what are the upcoming trends

One way to ensure the career you’re planning on has a viable future, is to focus on digital skills and IT/tech professions – especially those who are expected to grow in demand over the next decade. 

These include artificial intelligence (and applied artificial intelligence) and robotics, among others. 

To help you understand more about 3 of the most in-demand digital professions - according to a 2020 Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum - we’ve prepared detailed career roadmap guides for each: 

A young professional woman smiling and standing crossed-armed with confidence in her career choice

5. Financial stability and earning potential

Finally, we can't ignore financial stability and earning potential when considering how to choose a career. We all want to make a living doing what we love, but we also need to pay the bills.  

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • What is the average salary for the careers you are considering (Glassdoor is a great tool for this purpose)? 
  • How does the salary compare to the cost of living in your area? 
  • Are there opportunities for professional growth and career advancement in the careers you are considering? 
  • Are there benefits and other forms of compensation that can improve your financial situation? 

If you're interested in computer science, software development is a highly paid and in-demand field. If you're into business, a management career can provide you with a high salary and opportunities for advancement. 

Discover our degree programmes.

IU International University of Applied Sciences offers 50+ career-transforming Bachelor's, Master's and MBA degrees in IT, business, marketing, social & healthcare and psychology.

Learn More

Are you still wondering how to choose a career that perfectly aligns with your interests? Our dedicated video guide may hold the answers. Gain insights on self-assessment, the value of internships, and practical steps to choosing the right career for you. Watch on for practical advice and industry secrets.

Fundamental steps

How to choose a career: 5 fundamental steps

Now that you have a better understanding of your motivations and goals, it's time to get down to business. Here is a practical guide on how to choose a career path:

1. Research

Utilize online resources – websites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn, career centres, and professional organisations - to gather information about different career ideas. Attend job fairs and career talks, and seek networking opportunities to learn about various industries, job titles and job opportunities.

2. Explore educational options

Research educational requirements for various careers and determine if additional education or certifications are necessary. Consider online or traditional universities that offer the necessary programme or certification.

3. Gain experience

Look for opportunities to gain hands-on experience in your desired field through internships, volunteer work, or entry-level positions. This will help you get a better understanding of the job and its responsibilities. 

4. Network

Connect with individuals who are currently working in your desired field through professional organizations, industry events, and social media networking opportunities. Seek their advice and learn about their experiences to gain insights and make informed decisions about your chosen career path.

5. Create a plan

After exploring your options and gaining some experience, it's time to create a plan. Develop a step-by-step career plan with goals, timelines, and specific actions to achieve your desired career. Identify the education or training you need, create a list of potential employers through LinkedIn, and develop your job search strategies. 

Considering a career change at 40? Discover our expert advice and explore the best job opportunities!

Maximize your career potential

Maximizing Your Career Potential with Online Learning

How to pick a career is no doubt a critical decision that can impact the course of your life. The decision process involves looking inward, evaluating your interests and skills, and analysing the job market to make an informed decision.  

This process can be challenging, particularly if you face time or financial constraints. 

Here´s where online universities come into play. The beauty of online education is that it offers a world of advantages, including flexibility, affordability, and accessibility.  

With a plethora of online courses, certifications, and degree programmes available, you can explore various career paths and develop valuable skills that can propel you towards success. And the best part? You can do it all at your own pace, on your own schedule. 

Not only does online learning offer a better work-life balance, but it also opens endless opportunities for career development. You can take the courses you need to advance in your current job - or learn new skills to transition to an entirely new career.  

And with the added benefit of being able to work while you learn, you can start applying what you have learned in real-time, giving you a competitive edge in the job market. 

In short, online education allows you to take control of your own career development and maximise your potential. Whether you're looking to earn a degree, enhance your skills, or make a significant career change, online learning has everything you need to achieve your goals.  

So, what are you waiting for?

Start exploring your options today and take the first step towards a brighter future. 

And if you’re looking for an online education provider that offers flexible degrees in the most sought-after hard skills, plus career guidance and career counselling, leave your details in the form above and we’ll get back to with details about how IU can help you build your dream career.

Discover how IU can help you build the career you dream of

Leave your details to get more info about the university and our degree programmes 

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