Career Corner: Choosing a path
Graduation season is once again upon us and congratulations are in order for the Graduating Class of 2018. Well done!
When I began writing this column, one of the first things I discussed was life after graduation and things new graduates could do before gaining employment (I’ve finished My Degree…Now What?). Of equal importance and in need of consideration is also the step before pursuing a degree…which career path one should take, and what degree (s) one should pursue to allow them to embark upon that career. For some persons, the decision isn’t always an easy one. In some instances, because of interest in several areas, some people find it challenging to choose a programme of study and to focus on just one area. In other instances, some persons find it difficult to choose a career because they do not have sufficient knowledge about the different career paths that are available to them.
If you are trying to choose your career path (or thinking of changing careers)- I suggest the following:
- Self-examination…generally speaking we all have an idea of the things that interest us and what we like to do..but think even further and ask yourself if you would be interested in doing these things long term, on a daily basis. Ask yourself if you’re good at the things that interest you. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Think about your temperament and personality… All these factors will help to determine the type of career you should choose.
- Interview people…one of the best ways to learn about a job is to speak to persons in the job. Speak with different people in different types of careers…ask them what they do, ask them to describe their jobs, discuss their day-to-day activities, ask them how they got into the field and what degree was required to prepare them for entry into that field.
- Attend career fairs…each year different universities host career fairs and companies have booths with team members who can provide information on the organization, the industry they operate in and the different jobs that are found in the industry. Attend the fairs and speak with the company representatives. If you can, speak with someone from the Human Resources Department as well, as they can give you information on the skills and competencies needed for a wide range of jobs in that industry.
- Take a career quiz…a career quiz helps you to identify your interests, and once identified, can match your interests with different careers that are best suited for you.
- Internship…if possible work in different fields before settling on one career. Apply to companies that have internships and take part in job rotations that will allow you to work for short stints in different areas of the business. If you are currently employed, discuss job rotation opportunities with your HR team.
Social media and traditional media outlets can also aid in your career search. In addition to the steps above, I encourage you to also listen to career programs on radio and TV to get additional information on the various fields and job opportunities that are available. Although we can embark upon new careers at any time, it certainly is a more fulfilling work experience if we enjoy the work that we do. As such, I hope you will give sufficient thought to the different areas you would like to work in…and that you enjoy your chosen profession.
Malaika Edwards is a Human Resources consultant and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. She is also a PhD scholar at the Louisiana State University (LSU) where she specializes in Human Resources and Workforce Development. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/malaika-edwards.