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How to Choose a Career: 10 Most Crucial Things to Consider

18 September,2023  |  By Brainwonders

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Selecting a career path can sometimes appear as a significant leap for prospective college students, potentially feeling intimidating and overwhelming. By addressing straightforward questions, students can determine the direction to pursue.

Now, let's examine the top 10 considerations to bear in mind when transitioning from college to the real world.

1. Your passion and skills

What are your passions? What activities bring you joy even when you're not compensated for them? Your eventual career might not align perfectly with these interests, but take a moment to imagine and record the primary motivations that make you excited to start your day. What ignites your inspiration? What fuels your determination? Once you've created this initial list, can you identify any common threads among them?

Additionally, set aside a moment to jot down your key skills, such as writing, mathematics, computer coding, and more. Do you notice any noticeable connections or overlaps between these skills and your earlier lists? If you do, you could be making significant strides toward defining your career path.

2. Your personality

Just as vital as understanding your passions and strengths is recognizing what defines your unique identity.

If you thrive on interpersonal interactions, managing a library might not be the best fit for you. Conversely, if you tend towards introversion, consider fields other than customer service or hospitality.

Besides documenting your primary personality traits, invest some time in exploring your personality further through the Interest Finder tool available on

3. Your goals

What are your foremost career priorities? Is a substantial income your primary driving force, or does achieving a harmonious work-life balance guide your decisions? Are you inclined towards global travel or prefer the convenience of remote work from your home? Do you envision residing in a bustling city apartment or a serene rural setting with ample land? How do you picture your life and career evolving in the next five, ten, or twenty years?

Prior to embarking on your quest for potential careers, it's essential to envision what your future might hold. Compile a list of your top priorities. Additionally, crafting a vision board could be a valuable tool in refining the foundational aspects of your prospective career.

4. Your values

What are your top priorities when it comes to selecting a career? As you contemplate your aspirations, it's equally crucial to identify the values that will drive you toward achieving them. It is beneficial to have your list of personality traits at hand during this process, as many of these traits may intertwine with your values.

Consider the type of work environment or leadership style in which you believe you would excel. Are there any non-negotiable aspects that align with your deeply held principles? While some of these answers may require time to unveil fully, others might be more apparent from the start.

5. Your options

Now that you have a clearer vision of your ideal job, it's time to explore the available occupations. A valuable starting point is the "Explore Occupations" section on the website. Here, you can explore nearly 800 different job titles. You can also browse through the fastest-growing careers in North Carolina or refine your search using various filters and sorting options. If you're not yet sure of a specific occupation, you can explore entire industry sectors by clicking on the "Career Cluster." Make a note of the job titles that capture your interest, and remember that you can save career clusters in your Account for future reference.

6. Your potential salary

You've compiled a list of potential careers, which is excellent! Now, it's time to gain an understanding of the salary ranges associated with those potential career paths because expenses like rent and bills require financial consideration. A useful starting point is to utilize the "Salary Range" filter located within the "Explore Occupations" section on

For a more comprehensive view of current and historical salaries for specific occupations, you can explore additional online resources like, Glassdoor, or PayScale. Record the salary ranges provided for each position and, if possible, filter them by your preferred location to gauge how certain professions align with the overall cost of living in that particular region of the country.

7. Your job prospects and outlooks

In addition to passion, it's crucial to consider practicality, including which professions are diminishing and which ones are expected to thrive to meet the evolving demands of our changing world.

While we can't predict the future of occupations a decade ahead with certainty, some tools can provide insights into the most rapidly expanding and essential careers. Among these resources is the Occupational Outlook Handbook provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which can also offer valuable guidance on salary projections.

8. Your educational costs and training

The educational and training requirements for various occupations vary significantly. Some necessitate graduate studies, while others may require internships or specific residency hours, such as in the case of becoming a doctor.

As you continue to narrow down your list of potential careers, it's essential to assess the amount of education and training necessary to enter a particular profession. This evaluation will assist you in forming a preliminary mental timeline for transitioning from a student to a practitioner. Moreover, it will enable you to estimate the potential costs associated with your educational path as you initiate your college planning and financial management. A valuable starting resource for this information is the "Field of Degree" page within the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

9. Your resources at home and school

It's also beneficial to consult with a traditional, face-to-face third-party advisor, such as a school counsellor. Apart from offering resources to guide you in choosing your next steps in higher education, a counsellor can assist you in visualizing your career trajectory. Additionally, many high schools in North Carolina provide access to NC Career Coaches, who act as liaisons to nearby community colleges, as well as College Advisors, who are part of the College Advising Corps.

Furthermore, consider having a conversation with a parent or family member, especially if they work in a field of interest to you. Even if their profession differs, they may have connections to individuals who can provide valuable insights, potentially facilitating an informational interview (as explained below).

10. Your learning opportunities

One of the most effective ways to gain insights into a specific occupation is to arrange an informational interview with someone working in that industry. You can reach out to them via email to schedule a 15-minute conversation, which can take place over the phone, via Zoom, or, if you're in the same area, in person over a coffee meeting.

Prepare a concise list of questions to guide your discussion, concluding with the inquiry, "How can I be of assistance to you?" Additionally, ask for recommendations on other individuals you should connect with in the field. Remember to follow up with a thank-you note. Through this process, you'll soon find yourself on the path to mastering the art of networking as you progress along your career journey.

Now that you've identified potential careers and majors of interest, you can initiate your search for colleges that offer programs aligning with your aspirations. Utilize the the College Search tool to compile a list of suitable institutions. After you've curated your list of schools, use the Application Hub to apply, send transcripts, and keep track of the status of your college applications.

Get the right Guidance to leap through your Career

Let the best team of psychologists and career counsellors help you achieve your dream career!

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