Top 7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Career

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Table of Contents

The answer – only 14 percent.

The question – how many people love their jobs and don’t want to change?

I’m guessing you weren’t expecting it to be that low. So, a follow-up question is – why are only a handful of people happy with their chosen careers?

Choosing a career feels like walking a tight-rope. One wrong decision, and you’ll be stuck with a job you despise for at least a few years. But when you have the right tools and resources, selecting the right career becomes easier.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Career

For the next 25-30 years, half of your life is going to be spent at work (excluding sleep). Depending on the career you choose, it could be as high as 75 percent!

It is amazing how many people fail to plan such an important decision. Approximately 9 out of 10 people regret rushing their career choices.

The consequences of choosing the wrong career path range from mental health problems to strained relationships, poor financial state, and general dissatisfaction with life.

If you want to be part of those who get it right, here are 7 factors to consider when choosing a career.

1. Personality

When trying to choose a career path, a good strategy is to start from the inside out rather than vice versa. In other words, start with what you desire, not what others (or society) want for you.

An excellent way to find out what you would excel at and enjoy is by taking a personality test.

People have been making a lot of fuss lately about the enneagram personality test and for a good reason. There have been dozens of studies over the years trying to find correlations between personality and career success. The results have been pretty convincing.

A personality test can help you understand who you are, how you work, and the careers that suit your temperament. The test provides a breakdown of your strengths, weaknesses, and ideal working conditions.

While this isn’t an absolute science, the tests can be remarkably accurate. You can then choose a career based on the many options provided. But before you do, check out the remaining six factors.

2. Passions

A powerful intersection for career success is your personality and your passions. You don’t need a test to tell you what you are passionate about. However, a test could tell you which of your passions will give you the greatest likelihood of success.

The reason behind it is simple: just because you are good at it doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it. When we fail to prioritize the factors on this list, we end up with jobs that suck the lives out of us. Choosing a job you dislike that pays you more might sound like a good idea, but it doesn’t do any good for your employer or yourself in the long-run.

When people are not passionate about their jobs, it is hard for them to be engaged at work. According to research by Gallup, a whopping 85% of staff are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work.

That’s a lot of people going to work each day, not really caring about what they are doing. Consequently, that has a negative impact on quality of life and even missed opportunities for financial and career growth.

This lack of engagements costs $7 trillion in lost revenue every year. Yikes!

3. Education and training

Now that you have evaluated yourself – your potential and your passions – it is time to look at the cold, hard facts. One of the things to consider is the degree you have chosen, and how it will impact your chances.

Every role has educational requirements. While some have strict requirements, such as law and medicine, others are more open and focus more on transferable skills than your degree. For example, careers in business, management, and finance have more flexible educational demands.

Depending on your level of schooling, you may or may not be able to apply for the careers you’ve been considering. If you aren’t, then you can go back to school and acquire the necessary qualifications.

If that is not an option due to the costs of schooling or other constraints, you may have to look away from the job you had in mind and consider others. The good thing is your personality prepares you for a wide range of things, so it is near impossible that you won’t have the education or training for any of them.

A great way to get the right training is with an internship. An internship can give you the opportunity to prove you can excel at a job, even though your educational requirements don’t match.

4. Experiences

Basing your career choice on your experiences is one of the easiest ways to go. The problem is most graduates don’t have any.

Getting an internship is an excellent way to get experience in the career path you are considering. And you know how it is – every company wants to hire people with experience, even if it is a graduate job!

How do they expect you to get the experience if everyone requires experience? But hey, c’est la vie.

Choosing the right career takes time and often experimentation. Interning with different companies in different fields will improve your chances of getting it right.

The first reason is that it gives you an idea of the kind of work you would like to do and where. The second benefit of experience, or an internship, in particular, is that it boosts your chances of getting hired.

Research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers offer a full-time job to 70.4 percent of their interns. That is much higher than the offer rate for co-ops, which is 50.2 percent.

5. Values

One crucial factor in choosing a career that often gets ignored is your value system. Values are simply things that are important to you, without which you won’t be ecstatic about work or your personal life.

Your values could be personal, such as spending time with your family; moral like being eco-conscious; or professional, such as being in an environment that uses positive reinforcement.

When companies are trying to recruit candidates, they always make a big deal about their core values, and so should you. It is not just about you being a good fit for them, but the firm also being a good fit for you.

What you value may not necessarily affect your career path, but it will help you choose the right firm. If you haven’t given much thought to this factor yet, check out some of the companies with the best core values.

If a company’s creed inspires you, chances are you will enjoy working in that environment and become part of the 14 percent of people that love their jobs and they for a long time.

6. Lifestyle & financial goals

Another important factor to consider when choosing a career path is your ideal or picturesque lifestyle. 

Most people want to be wealthy, live in a lovely house, drive an expensive car, buy designer clothes, or even a dream career etc. If this isn’t you, you could work anywhere and be fine.

But if this is you, then it is important to factor this in when choosing a career. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to work in an industry that pays a lot of money. What you should consider, however, is what you will be sacrificing for that income, and that is where your values come back in.

Do you want an active social life? Are you happy to work long hours? Are you willing to sacrifice happiness to be successful? 

There is no doubt that compensation affects productivity, but measure it against your lifestyle choices. If you are generally laid back or introverted, you might want to avoid a sales job that requires hundreds of client interactions a week.

Here is the great thing about careers and compensation: when you are great at what you do, you will soon earn as much as people in better-paying fields. When you do work you love, you will rise through the ranks quicker.

And of course, your pay will increase the higher up you go

7. Job market

The final factor to consider is the job market. While this is last on our list, it used to be the most important factor for a very long time. Some even considered it the only factor. After all, what’s the point of wanting a career in an oversaturated industry?

In that light, it makes sense to choose a career path from what is available. The only problem with that is the demand for jobs can be unpredictable.

Every year, countries release a list of the best jobs or most in-demand careers. Why do they make a new list every year? Because the job market is constantly changing.

So, making this the top-priority can be a critical miscalculation.

Therefore, an excellent way to utilize this is to first go through the other factors, make a list of career options, and see what the job market has to offer along these lines.

Let’s say, for example; you have narrowed down your career choices to finance and accounting. Based on your personality test, experiences, and values, etc., you have established that you are likely to excel at either of them. You can then research what job in these fields is most in-demand and will pay you a higher salary.

Right now, financial advisors are more in demand than accountants, and the entry-level salary is significantly higher.

Summary

There are many other factors to consider when choosing a career, but they will likely fall under one of these broad topics. There is no universal way to find the perfect job, but these elements will give you the highest chance of finding job satisfaction.

If you end up on a career path you don’t like, learn from there, grow and refine your strategy. Don’t worry, plenty of people change jobs often, and yet their careers get even better.

That brings us to the final factor: trial and error. If at first you don’t succeed, you know what to do.

Brandon Hill Photo

Author: Brandon Hill

Brandon is the creator of Bizness Professionals and author behind each post. He is currently a working professional, primarily in finance, and looks to provide resources to aspiring or current young professionals for well-rounded professional and personal development. Find out more on the About page.

There may be affiliate links on this page, which means I may receive a small commission for any purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Products that are linked are ones I highly recommend and have used/tested myself.

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