Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

If only deciding your final career path were as simple as flipping a coin! Making a final decision about your career path is probably one of the most difficult and challenging decisions you will ever make. If your anything like me, you have many careers in mind that interest you or that you are passionate about. The self assessment and research aspects of career planning from the last two blogs should help narrow down your options to 1-3 broad areas or fields that you are passionate about. But now it's time to get more specific! Here are three steps to making this ever so difficult decision less daunting:

1. Discussing

  • Seek out people in the broad areas you defined through assessments and researching to speak with about their position; a great way to do this is through looking up organizations you are interested in and finding individuals who 'speak' to what you think you might like to do. And of course, don't forget to utilize Linkedin for this!
  • Once you find someone you'd like to reach out to, send them an e-mail requesting an opportunity to ask them questions about their field and explain your interests in the occupation to the individual briefly. 
  • The discussion doesn't have to be face to face; if the person you are interested in speaking with is not local, utilize Skype, e-mail, or the phone. 
  • Find out what they like and dislike about what they do, as well as what qualifications lead them to the career path they are currently on, or any other questions you feel are important to know.
  • Prepare your questions ahead of time! Not only will you be presenting yourself professionally, but you will also get all the questions answered that you are curious about without forgetting to ask something important!
2. Observing
  • After speaking with the professionals already in the fields you are interested in, the next step is to arrange a chance to observe them in action; if this is not possible, making a visit to the site which you would like to work at will give you a good idea of how things operate there and what you would be required to do.
  • When at the site, keep the atmosphere, morale, and of course yourself, in mind.
  • It's important to ask yourself questions like: Does this seem like a place you would want to come to everyday? Does everyone seem like they have too much/too little to do? Are the tasks they are completing of interest you? Do you picture yourself working here? 
3. Doing
  • Now comes the fun part! Once you have discussed and observed the occupations you are interested in, it's finally time to get out there and actually experience it for yourself!
  • Look up volunteer, internship, or co-op opportunities in the fields that interest you and dedicate some spare time to getting directly involved; this is the only way you will truly know whether or not the work involved is something you are passionate about and want to pursue seriously.
  • Think of it like a "try-out"; you don't know if you made the team yet, but you are learning about the team and the game itself by just being apart of the try out! 
  • This step will be crucial in making that final career decision! You truly don't know if something is for you until you try it out for yourself, so seek out the best opportunity for you to do so and get the most out of it as you can in order to make an educated and informed decision about your career path!
I hope these steps help you navigate your way to making a final career decision that works for you! And remember: As long as you have clearly defined goals and are utilizing steps to reach them, no difficult decision is ever too much to handle! Check out our past blog on goal setting here if you'd like more information on how to define and meet your goals successfully!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

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