One of the questions that every high school or college going student often faces is mostly about their career aspirations. In most cases, a student feels uncomfortable by this question as they are not really sure how to answer this. The lack of awareness happens to be one of the major causes that students are unsure about their career aspirations.
Our career choices have far-reaching implications on our happiness, health, and financial status. This process is important but daunting for students, some students try to reach out for help, and some hesitate and end up struggling for the initial years of their career journey. In some cases, peer influence tends to cloud their judgement, which is certainly not the best way to go. Just because a friend of mine has decided to be a doctor and pursue a career path to specialize as a surgeon, does not indicate that I should follow a similar trajectory. I might be capable enough to become a surgeon, but if it isn’t my true calling, it just might not be the right course of action.
There is no guarantee or a deliberate approach to setting our career aspirations, but there is certainly a way to explore, learn and realize about your goals and ambitions.
Here are a few steps to help you identify and set your career aspirations:
1. Start with Self
If we need to set out to align our career objectives, it has to start with self-awareness, which can only happen through self-assessment. A SWOT analysis would be a great way to assess our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (areas of improvement in this case), and Threats (areas of concern in this case). Psychometric assessment goes a long way in discovering our interests, aptitude, and other crucial areas of our profile. Journaling is also a recognized and proven method of self-reflection, which allows an individual to identify their strengths and interest areas.
Recommended Read: What are Career Assessments?
2. Brainstorm and Explore
In the age driven by data, we have resources in abundance on several careers and opportunities available globally. Students need to make the most of the available information and expose themselves to different choices that exist. It is better to be confused and be spoilt for choice, rather than being sure about an option just because you are unaware about alternative career avenues.
Research can seem daunting for students, but efficient research is the only way forward. Look for reliable resources before you start exploring different career avenues. Look for the right keywords and narrow down your search to get the best possible results. Don’t forget to be curious and patient!
Some pointers to support you through your research:
- Deep dive into career profiles
- Talk to professionals from the career domain of your interest
- Structure your research and narrow it down
Resources: Career Library
4. Job Shadowing/Internship/Volunteering
Once you get started with your research, and find yourself intrigued to know more about the respective career domain, after reading about it and speaking with professionals in that sector, try to look for a job shadow. Shadowing will allow you to observe the work and sample the work environment. Spending time in the work environment can give you a sense of whether the role might be a good fit for you.
Internships are another way of getting that practical exposure in the field that you are interested in. It is important for you to note that internships are available for high school students as well, you just have to be diligent enough to reach out to the right people and look out for the right resources. Internships are a great source to gain work experience, make connections, and get an insight into the job role. If in case you struggle to find an internship, volunteering is always an option as well to get that experience which is essential in your career decision-making journey.
5. Get down to decision making
What’s next you ask?
It is time for the decision-making process!
By now you should be geared up to make that impending informed decision. Now that you have explored various career domains, try to list down the pros and cons for each remaining choice. Ideally create an excel sheet, as that would allow you to easily study the comparison, and if you are still unsure, you know it’s time to reach out to a career counselor or a coach to help you through this process.
If you are able to make a decision, then that is amazing, but there is no harm in taking a professional opinion or guidance to be sure before you plan for the next steps. Career Coaches are trained professionals who can add in additional perspective and help you create a viable roadmap.
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6. Rethink and reevaluate your choices
Now that you have made a decision, your journey doesn’t end here. It is crucial for you to understand that we are living in a dynamic world, where change is the only constant. Careers and professions are evolving more rapidly than ever. It is our responsibility to ensure that we stay up to date with the changing trends in the concerned industry, and try and match our fitment with the same. Just like we go to a physician for a regular health checkup, it is essential to do a frequent checkup for our career as well, or just reach out to a career coach to ensure we are in line with our career aspirations.
Are you prepared now to discover your career aspirations?
If you are still unsure about how to get started, don’t you worry, Mindler is there to support you in your career journey. Our team of expert career coaches will be able to help you through this dilemma and guide you every step of the way.