An important first step in determining what you want to do in life is to do an honest assessment of your talents, desires and abilities. Then figure out if that’s something you can do for the rest of your life. Let’s put it this way — you should want to enjoy your job, because if you start your career at age 22, it could mean that you spend 45-50 years in the workforce before retirement. That’s a long time to be doing something you aren’t passionate about.
While people change careers all the time, wouldn’t you want to start and finish your career in the same industry?
Here are at least 10 questions from BGCA’s CareerLaunch curriculum to think carefully about when it comes to assessing your future:
1. What is a career/field that interests me?
(Sample answer: “I love video games and I think I want to design them!”)
2. What appeals to me about this career?
(Will I make enough money? Will I be happy?)
3. What values of mine does this career support?
(I can see myself teaching because I love making a difference in the lives of others.)
4. What are the skills required for this career?
(STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — careers are hot, but these fields could involve a lot of time studying.)
5. What skills, strengths and abilities do I have already that relate to this career?
(I think I have strong speaking skills, so perhaps a career in sales or media would work!)
6. What are the skills I need to gain in order to work in this career?
(I want to be a multimedia journalist, so I need to learn more about writing, videos and photography!)
7. What experience do I have already that relates to this career?
(I worked with my dad during the summer in his heating and cooling business, so that’s a start toward becoming a technician.)
8. What internships or part-time jobs can give me experience for this career?
(Working at Macy’s can help me with people and administrative skills!)
9. What extracurricular activities can I do to gain experience related to this career?
(Being a member of newspaper can really help build my media skills!)
10. What other types of activities can help me prepare for this career?
(My debate coach always says that learning to research and make presentations can help me become a lawyer some day!)
If you answer each of these 10 questions honestly, you should be able to narrow your career choices.
Another good place to start is this career exploration page from the U.S. Department of Labor.