Making a Sound Career Choice

Making decisions about your career doesn’t always have to be complicated. If you have spent time getting to know yourself and researching different opportunities, you should be able to make a sound decision. If you plan well, be rest assured that finding a good career, isn't an insurmountable task – even if you're starting from scratch. The steps below can help anyone make a good career choice.

1. Get to Know Yourself

It is virtually impossible to make a sound career choice if you have not done your self-assessment. You need to first know who you are and what you are expecting yourself to be. A self-assessment test needs to addresses your values, interests, skills and personality traits. This will help you to rule out some careers which do not suit your personality and get your career path more clearly and with appropriate career options.

2. Make a Potential Careers List

Once you know your personality through a career assessment you now have a preliminary list of jobs that match your values, interests and skill set. The task now is to narrow this long list of occupations to not more than ten. Work with the theory of elimination and delete those careers from the list that you are not interested in. For example if your career test indicates that you need to become a civil engineer but you have no interest in buildings and structures then strike out the civil engineering. Years ago I met a girl named Sharon who wanted to be a doctor but when we discussed further, I found out that her biggest fear was looking at blood. Most people can narrow their list down to five to ten potential careers simply by eliminating those occupations they know they're not interested in. Secondly put together the positives and negatives of each career and eliminate those which have the largest number of negatives and least number of positives.

3. Know More About Each Career on Your List

Now you need to explore each career in depth. For each career, you should review a job description, educational and training requirements, average earnings, job outlook, and advancement opportunities. Once you do that you might realize that there are some careers that no longer appeal to you. Becoming a journalist seemed like fun but now it seems they don’t make enough money to support the lifestyle you want. After considering becoming a CA you may decide that earning a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting just isn't meant for you. At the end of it, you should have a list of no more than three careers.

4. Meet Professionals in the Field

One of the best ways to figure out which of the careers left on your list is right for you is to meet the professionals working within each occupation. Talking to them will allow you to collect in-depth information that you can't get from any other source. Information you will receive from these sources will be first hand, current and reliable. Before meeting such people you need to have an exhaustive list of questions to ask them. This will ensure that all your doubts are clear and you have all the information you need. It also would show your seriousness about a career and help build a professional network over the years.

5. Narrow Your List to Just One Occupation

Follow this process and bring your career list down to one possible career option. List down the positives and negatives like Sharon did. She was scared of blood but loved kids and dogs. She wanted to be a Paediatrician or a Veterinarian. What she now realised was that it would not fit her style and she was not ready to work for long years. In her assessment it was also clear that she would do very well in designing and working with structures. Sharon recently passed out from the architectural college. So it is after thoroughly reviewing the pros and cons of each career, and carefully considering the information obtained that you should be able to decide on one occupation to pursue.

6. Set Career Goals

Now that you have decided on an occupation, you need to put a plan in place for your Career Goals. Realistic, achievable goals are essential for the career planning process. While goals must be realistic, they should also be flexible enough to accommodate change – which inevitably will occur.

7. Career Development Plan

This helps you get from where you're currently at to reach your Goals in phases. It is a career Path or a roadmap from choosing your first Job to the peak point in your career. The career development plan works well if you know the mantra of Plan-Sequence -Timing and Outcome. There needs to be a serious thought process involved into building your career path while continuously improving upon your transferable skills.

8. Train Yourself

The More you learn the more you earn. It’s true for long term career success. Most of the careers require a formal education, or skilled training at minimum. Over a lifetime most successful professionals will continue to gain more education and training as they advance in their careers.

The decisions you make now affect you later and can have a profound effect on your entire future and quality of life.  Making good choices regarding your career affects whether or not you will enjoy your work and be successful at your job.  It can affect how your life may turn out overall.  Therefore, be sure to make your sound career decisions based on the right choices.

What To Expect At Your First Job

The career path for no two students is ever the same. Each one requires individualised Goal Mapping and Career Planning for his or her development and Growth. The need is for the advice and mentoring to reach their maximal potential, discover and develop their passion, and enjoy their journey through school and college with smart career options.
Finding a job is a job in itself, time consuming, stressful and a big task of demonstrating your skills and mettle to others. It’s not about just getting a job but to have a dream career path   which will make you happy and grow in life. Today there are so many career options and one could have a difficult time in deciding which one to take. The more effort you will put in to search for the right career the better result you will get out of it.  Except there are a few things that no one is going to tell you about starting out in the working world. What you need to know is what you are getting into.  So let’s talk about something about your first job to look forward to.

It’s no Longer enough to be just smart and having potential
It’s your job now and you are going to get paid for it. What will now matter is your actual results. Teachers in school favour the students who are the most respectful and seem to be working hard. This will be the real working world where reputations and careers are built on what you achieve. Just being smart won't work if you miss deadlines, aren't prepared for meetings or don’t meet your targets.

It’s your attitude that matters.
You can be great at work but you will find it hard to survive if you appear unfriendly, rude, disinterested in others or defensive. Being polite and cheerful isn't optional if you want to thrive in most workplaces. Negativity will only sometimes make you lose your job.

You won’t get a salary hike for at least one Year.
 It’s a common practice that you will not get a salary increase unless you have done a minimum of one year at the job. People new to the professional world do not always realize this and think they can negotiate a raise say, three or six months. This does not happen with most employers. 

What will matter the most is the errors you make.
In school an error you made in your class or test only affected your results. The late submission of your assignments only impacted your grades. But at work, your mistakes can have an impact on your boss, your co-workers and your company. Many a times people might end up staying late to fix your work miss their own deadlines or lose important business just because of an error you created and made a mess with the customer. 

It’s no more Holiday time
It's not like school, where you are used to week long holidays for every religious occasion and national events. Many work places open the next day after every such occasion and some even do not close. Long vacations are non-existent in the corporate world. Despite what school schedules might have led you to expect you will need to get used to the working life from day one.

You need to be polite and show your interest.
Yes, you might see seniors looking bored in meetings or checking on their phones while at work. Please do not follow their acts. As a fresher you are expected to look attentive and show your interest. There would always be eyes watching you. 

Just getting a task done is not considered great achievement.
Take the first step to do things in your department.  You might not get much done if you keep waiting for instructions from someone for every small task. Be creative and the sooner you get out of your school or college mode the better it would be for you. That said, you also need to know the parameters of where you can take initiative and where you can't, which isn't always spelled out explicitly and can be very confusing and frustrating. 

30 minutes. That’s your Lunch time.
In many workplaces, 30 minutes is the maximum lunch time and sometimes you don’t even get that and would have to rush to complete your tasks. Get away with the habit of the sound of the lunch hour break.

Get to the point with your boss.
In school, you might have learned to discuss every aspect and detail of the subject. But most managers want you to be to the point and then decide whether or not to ask for more background. This is true in face-to-face conversations, but it's especially true in writing. Few managers have the time or inclination to read multiple-page memos or lengthy emails. Short summaries with bullet points will be generally preferred.

You will make new friends
Fortunately, you are unlikely to be alone.  Either you will have co-workers at your level, or immediate supervisors who will empathise with you.  You are likely to work with these people for almost one or two years minimum and see them more than you see your friends or your family.  Almost inevitably, you will become friends with one or two of them and that will be one of the few bright spots during your first job. 

The key challenges at your first job will be the goals, performance assessment, relationships, the way of learning and the culture of the organization. Awareness of these changes can let you have realistic expectations from your work life.   Be prepared and expect to work hard by maintaining interest and enthusiasm at your first job to set yourself apart. 

Get smart on career options

It is hard to find what you are looking for if you don't know what you are looking for!
Today’s youngsters do their best and provide a meaningful, substantial contribution to the society when their activities are aligned with their passions and when they are encouraged, trained and provided with outlets to pursue their dreams. An education and a career that will deepen the understanding of the practicality of the world around them and allow to discover where they want to make a difference.
Traditional careers are considered respectable and more acceptable by the society. But today students have much more challenging and lucrative choices ahead of them. Youngsters today are more open to take up alternate careers or thrilling jobs. There may be less competition when one takes up a field they are interested in and a greater chance of getting recognized and being able to make a difference. Some of the careers which are considered as smart options are
Wine taster is a highly trained and knowledgeable professional who specializes in all aspects of wine service. What it demands is hospitality and communication skill to deal with people.  Love for travel and ready to work for long hours
News reader is a person who presents news on television. May also be a working as journalist, assisting in the collection of news material.  Needs to be knowledgeable, courageous, presentable, self-confident. Should be able to convince people with their high communication skills.
Food stylist makes the food look attractive in the finished photograph. Visual know-how is also a requirement, as is the knowledge of how to translate the perception of taste, aroma and appeal that one gets from an actual dish, to a two-dimensional photograph. Experimental and stylish, should have good colour sense and be aware of the food concepts.
Photo journalist is a person who collects edits and presents the news material for publication or broadcast, which employs images in order to tell a news story. This job is for people high on intuition and love for stories. Should be able to work with compassion, confidence and patience.
Graphic designer is a professional who assembles together images, or motion graphics to create a piece of design. One needs to be imaginative, motivated, honest, passionate, good at time management and should love taking challenges.
Quality analyst is responsible for applying the principles and practices of software quality assurance throughout the software development life cycle. Needs to be business oriented, inquisitive, critical thinker with good process knowledge.
App developer researches, designs, implements and tests the mobile app. One needs to be good at logical skills, being flexible, curious, innovative, and quality conscious.
Ethical hacker is someone who can breach the security of computer systems and get paid for it. Needs to be computer savvy with a good knowledge of coding in different programming languages. High on motivation, dedication, analytical thinking, initiative, problem solving ability and investigative nature. A formal training in ethical hacking is must with honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. 
Web designer encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites with the awareness of usability and web accessibility guidelines. Someone with good communication, creativity and vision and high on technical skills with added artistic ability could take up this career.
Event manager is someone who uses the application of project management to the creation and development of large scale events such as festivals, conferences, ceremonies, formal parties, concerts, or conventions. A person needs to be strong on will, time management energy and passion with great attention to detail.
Holiday consultant is a person who customizes the travel plans for his or her clients to make it memorable for them. This is suitable for someone with high organizational, sales and customer service skills. An interest in travel, good listener, confident with high understanding of  job, patience and flexibility.
Tea taster is someone who not only tastes the tea but also gives advice, does branding, and has a good knowledge of cultivation and manufacturing. Though not a very well-known career option, jobs in this area can be interesting.  One need’s to have patience and good taste buds and more importantly love for drinking tea. What could be better than tasting awesome teas and getting paid for it?
Radio jockeys are those who anchor music programmes on radio and entertain the listeners by playing music or conveying messages in a most attractive and sophisticated way. This is a profession which requires a lot of hard work and presence of mind. A RJ needs to have a style of communicating , a good voice, should be warm, friendly, spontaneous, dynamic and must possess good communication skills packed with energy.
Image consultant is someone who advises individuals, on all aspects of personal appearance, presentation and public speaking. Evaluate a client's overall appearance and determine how best to achieve a look that will reflect his/her best attributes - both personally and professionally. An ability to connect with people, to instil confidence in them and have a natural flair for style and colour, good communication skills, tact and good listening skills.
Food critic needs to have a good taste bud and the ability to convert these taste experiences to words. Exploring restaurants and then publishing the results of their findings in newspapers and magazines. Extreme knowledge about every aspect of food with professional integrity is very important for food critics.

Though offbeat, these careers may give great satisfaction, flexibility of work, opportunity to prove oneself and handsome pay package. The most important aspect being able to do what you really love and at the same time make money out of it.

What's Your Career Goal ?

What is more important to you? Planning your next vacation or your career?  

If you want to be satisfied in life it is important to take a step towards defining your career Goals. Planning Career Goals is like building bridges. Without them you may not be able to cross the rivers or may fall back and stop short of your journey. With bridges there is a safety and direction and not forgetting the ease and quick access across a big obstacle.
Career planning is an ever- changing and evolving process involving real choices, decisions and plans. In career planning “Goal Setting " can mean many things. But the Goals which you can actually achieve are the ones which are feasible or realistic goals and those are the ones to be planned.  Today youngsters fall short of energy, aptitude and interest to develop career paths due to lack of time which is constant. You feel discouraged with so much to do and yet not being able to achieve it just because you haven't set practicable targets for yourself.

Barriers to Career: In order to keep your career vision simple, you need to free yourself from career barriers. Procrastination, Pressure Prompted, Apathy, Low Motivation, Laziness is all personal career barriers. Then there are pressures from the family, your friends. Expectations to follow a certain path or to take up the family business. Sometimes a barrier is a mind-set where you want to avoid taking up a career path which you feel is below your status or stature.
Do you know yourself: You need to make an honest assessment of your aspirations? A good idea is to share your dreams with family and friends who know you well. It’s true that no one knows you better than yourself, but it’s always advisable to have an outside perspective on such an important decision. A career assessment done with a professional career councillor could really work for you. As you plan your career path it is important to understand your personality, your aptitude, and your interest areas while working on your “transferable skills”.  There is no good or bad personality. According to studies you could be grouped into sixteen different types of personalities. Are you an extravert or an introvert? Do you like thinking or doing? Do you like routines or change? Do you like to plan or u act on impulse? A good way to understand you is to get a personality assessment done.  
Questions for Career Goal Setting: There are a few questions that you would always need to answer while planning your career for realistic goals. What is the time frame available with you? Are you willing to commit yourself to your career path that you have set for yourself for that whole duration? Does your current education level and the courses you are pursuing in line with your path? If you are too young and yet to choose these paths are you willing to learn these? Who is going to provide you with the funding of your career goals? Do you have the resources available? Will the achievement of these goals make you a much happier person and will it enhance your personality? What are the key characteristics of the lifestyle that you hope to have? Is money important, then how much money you are able to make? Do your goals conflict or complement one another? How big is the market for your chosen field? Do you want to stay close to your home or willing to move out anywhere geographically?
While you need to find the answers to these questions, you need to work on your natural talents which are the key to your transferable skills required for any job. 
Analysing yourself: You would need to analyse your likes and dislikes. What kind of activities both at work and play do you enjoy and what are the activities you tend to avoid. Make a list of both types of activities. Reflect on the times and situations in which you feel most passionate, most energetic, most engaged - and see if you can develop a common profile of these situations. Develop a list of your passions and analyse them. What does success mean to you? Is it power, control, money or just being happy? A realistic self-assessment is looking at your key strengths and weaknesses. Be good at praising yourself (“I am Great at maths and physics “) but don’t forget your humility (“I am really not good at working with people”).

The time is now: A career plan in short term ranges from the coming year to the next few years depending upon what you seek to achieve. The key to your being successful on your career path would be developing realistic Goals and objectives that you could accomplish in the near future.  It’s never too soon (or too late) to start planning. Whether you are in school and trying to figure out what stream or courses you should take or you are in college and looking forward to get your first job, a professional seeking advancement in the career path or someone who wants to change careers.  We all have different ambitions and targets. The road can be sometimes tough and long .It’s all about focusing on your Goals and moving in the right direction since “If you do not know where to go, any road will take you there”. 


Are you starting on your career path? So you believe that your qualifications will be the biggest things that will count. Certainly, there is no denial that a good degree or diplomas can open doors to prestigious jobs. But it is not knowledge alone that will help you along in your career. Look through job advertisements and just what proportion of each job description refers to knowledge and qualifications and how much is devoted to other skills. You could be in for a surprise. Your specialised knowledge may get you a position, but it is those important skills we tend to overlook which will enable you to do your job successfully.
These are the times of high employee turnover and mobility. How good are you to put over your point of view effectively? Would you be able to explain a technical point to someone with only Basic English skills? Can you figure out complex financial reports? How would you react if you were asked to lead a team?  Employers today are looking not as much for bright young sparks, but for people who can function effectively in the workplace.
The Skills which will ensure your marketability, increase your professional competitive advantage and ease the transition into any new role are your “Transferable Skills”.  These skills are the assets that help you transition and excel into a new role. They ensure your professional resilience and the robustness and longevity of your career .These are the skills that every employer looks for and are transferable across workplaces. While highly specialized skills may be essential to building your own personal competitive advantage and ensuring success in a particular role or organization, it is the transferable skills that ensure you do not become professionally redundant or obsolete over the long term.
Thus it becomes essential that you start working on them early and cultivate them, add on to them and be much more confident when you face the real world after school and college. These are certain core skills which we often overlook but which apply to a wide range of situations and jobs. The more you will move up the career ladder the more you will discover that it is the little things that count. While some of these skills can be taught, most are gained through experience. If you wish to have a great career path, these are the skills that are well worth cultivating and deploying on a daily basis in order to succeed in your chosen career.

The Key Transferable skills that you should develop in your career progression are:
Soft Skills: Also known as interpersonal or people skills, these are the set of skills that allow you to positively relate to, communicate with, influence and inspire others.  Delegating, Coaching, Listening, Presenting, Co-operation and Communication Skills.
A lot of people fail when it comes to communicating with other people. They give explanations but leave out essential details; they write reports which are badly structured, contain grammar errors, punctuation and spelling mistakes; they adopt the wrong tone when addressing people because they fail to take into consideration their level of sophistication or competence.
Analytical skills:  You need to identify and analyse problems by being more innovative and creative. Research, Data gathering, Data analysis, Creativity, Risk analysis are a few skills that you need to develop. 
Leadership and Management Skills: You are a good leader if you can direct and motivate others to achieve individual, team and organizational roles. What you need to develop is the art of managing groups and delegating responsibilities by planning and coordinating tasks. Solving problems and managing conflict and implementing decisions.
Technical Skills: These are the practical hands-on skills like computer proficiency, ability to work with specific machinery, software or hardware, ability to build or repair.  
Planning and Research Skills:   You should know how to set goals and identify course of action by gathering relevant information and evaluation of results. Forecasting situations by analysing, interpreting and disseminating information. Understanding financial matters and budgets for dealing with clients and people in the organization.
Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills:  These skills are about how you interact and relate with others to achieve a common goal. Sharing credit and accepting responsibility while contributing and encouraging the ideas of others. Developing a strong rapport with others while respecting other opinions. Mastering the art of negotiation and an ability to get along well with others. 
Self-Management Skills: It is about how you direct your own activities toward the achievement of objectives. These are the set of skills to do with workplace character, Integrity, Punctuality, Diligence, and Reliability.  Working well under pressure and accepting responsibility, Self-evaluation and decision making ability.
Developing Transferable Skills
Some courses have a strong practical component and deal with some of these skills. Business studies courses sometimes offer mock sessions of meetings and interviews and also interactive sessions with the industry. But, not everybody emerges from university or college fully equipped to take on the world. From now on you may have to take responsibility for your own development and move on your chosen career path. However, you probably have quite a number of useful skills already. If you don't practise these skills, you will get rusty. If you don't currently have a chance to use them, why not explore other places where you could use them? Lifelong learning is an important part of your career, so developing your transferable skills is a strategy that will make other people aware of what you are capable of.

Choosing a Career Path

Today, people do not choose one career. It is becoming important to have a career path well defined . The Process for this should start early , when you are in 9th or 10th . “If you do not know where to go , any road will take you there” . One needs to choose a career path that can twist and turn to meet the changing economy.
Building career paths and practicing the art of personal marketing will be an invaluable tool in choosing flexible career options in the 21st Century. In addition, becoming a generalist in one’s field, keeping a flexible outlook regarding the workplace, and taking advantage of the continuing learning opportunities will be critical to one’s survival in the workforce.
Students today have a common barrier , that is not being aware of his or her own strengths and abilities that translate into marketable skills. The key to a successful career is to be able to communicate the transferable skills developed through college courses, internships, professional organizations, work study programs, and part-time jobs to the employers .  Expressing his or her skills in terms of specific achievements, makes a person more credible in moving along the chosen career path .  Today the need is for graduates who have the knowledge, skills, abilities and values necessary for continuous problem solving and lifelong learning, not people trained for a particular job.
When looking into career choices, one must realize that he or she spends more time at work than at home. Personal identity, competency, status, and self esteem are all tied into the type of work a person does. An individual’s career is the totality of his or her life’s work. If one chooses the right career path, it can be creative, fun, challenging, lucrative, and a source of great pleasure and accomplishment.

Steps to our Dream Career

What will make you Happy
Explore the different career options associated with the lines of work you find yourself most interested in pursuing .Think about the aspects of different types of professions that you find most personally rewarding and fulfilling. If caring for other makes you happy , or have an aptitude for science, you may be drawn to the medical profession, and you may find your place in nursing, medicine or physical therapy. If you think you might be like the field of journalism, related fields to consider include editing, reporting, writing, public relations and marketing career options. Decide what type of income level you want to make. This factor can help you narrow the focus of your career path. Money is important , but how much is the bigger question

Finding your Potential
Research professions of interest to learn the necessary skills and educational requirements for each career path. Narrow the field to those options that best reflect your aptitude and preference. Obtain the training and education you need to pursue your chosen career goals. Some professions require specialized training or certification while others need a specific college degree
When choosing a career path that makes you happy make sure that you're good at it too. The probability of something that you're not good at to create stress in your life is very high.

Career Aptitude
Having a potential is good , what you need to find is your aptitude on the skills required for your career path . These tests can and should be taken at an early stage . The results from the tests would help you to improve on your abilities and close the gaps in your chosen career path

Internship :
You need to actually do it to see whether you enjoy it or not . You can always apply for an internship in a company or a field that you think you will enjoy working for. This can be done when you have passed school or are into college . In a worst case you might find out that you are not too keen on continuing in the same sector. The advantages of interning are far greater.

Shadowing or Seeking Advice 
The best way to prepare for a career is to talk to as many people as one can in the profession. In career counselling, this process is called "shadowing." When a prospective job seeker shadows a person in the field of his choice , he or she spends an entire day or more with that person at the work site, and observes the day to day activities associated with the job . Shadowing is also helpful to explore salary ranges and the potential for growth and advancement.

Have a Mentor
In order to be successful in your field you will need someone from the same field as a mentor to guide you towards making the right decisions in the career of your choice. Once you have a mentor you are sure to get career advice along with steps of how to achieve the things you'd like to.

Make your 10 year Plan .
It’s not just the next year that you need to focus on , On a career path you must constantly look at your next ten years , and you need to be working on that plan . It is as difficult to continue towards the making the career growth in the right path as it is to choose one. Make sure that you are sure of what you wish to achieve and in what time period. 

While having a plan and asking for advice is important along with having the passion to work in it, there will be no substitute for hard work and intelligent work. 

Making a Sound Career Choice

Making decisions about your career doesn’t always have to be complicated . If you have spent time getting to know yourself and researchi...

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