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Starting / Choosing a career

Making the right career choice

Making the right career choice can be a difficult process. By focusing first on what we value in life rather than on job specifications, our career choice will become much clearer.

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Many people make the mistake of thinking that there is only one perfect job for them. They imagine that this job fits in all the right ways, ticks all the boxes and fulfils every need and desire.

However, the trend these days is for people to have multiple careers over their lifetime and each career can be completely different from the previous one. If that is true, how should we approach the search for work?

All work has specific characteristics or elements and each person has a preference for which ones they prefer. By understanding what these elements are and knowing your own preferences, you can evaluate any role in terms of its fit.

Below is a list of elements to consider when looking at your career choice:

Control: Do you want to be in charge or do you prefer to follow?

"The trend these days is for people to have multiple careers over their lifetime and each career can be completely different from the previous one."

Time: How many hours are you happy devoting to your work?

Creativity: Do you like following the rules or do you want to colour outside the lines?

Managing: Do you enjoy looking after people and making things happen through them?

Want more articles like this? Check out the choosing a career section.

Location: Where do you want to live and work – the suburbs, city or country?

Responsibility: Do you want to be making the big decisions?

Specialisation: Do you want to be a specialist in a given field and be respected for that? Or do you want to be a generalist?

Flexibility: Do you require a 9 to 5 role or are you happy putting the hours in and taking them back as and when it suits?

Company: Do you want to associate with one company or with several types of companies? Or do you want to be a competely free agent?

Skills: Do you want to use your current skills or do you want to develop skills in a new area?

Belonging: Do you need to belong to a group and make connections with people? Or are you happy moving from project to project making little emotional attachment with the people and companies you work for?

Once you have answered these questions for yourself, some roles, industries and companies will be immediately ruled in or out.

Now take this one step further and rank the elements in order of priority for you. You are now in a powerful position, where you are only prepared to consider roles that meet your top five most important elements.

Choosing or changing careers is a significant decision and one that requires reflection. This simple exercise will help you with making the right career choice by focusing on what’s really important to you.

Megan Tough

runs Complete Potential, a company that helps businesses solve their strategy and people problems. She loves being a solopreneur, and when she doesn't have her nose to the grindstone, is fulfilling her other passion of fitness and health.

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