Many parents assume that choosing a career for their kids is as simple as picking the course with the friendliest tuition money requirements and the best remuneration possibilities. But figuring out your absolute dream career isn’t as simple as that. Kids who follow that reasoning graduate college without a clear idea of what they want to do in life, or how they hope to impact the world. It is with the understanding of the daunting nature of career pathfinding that this article seeks to help you identify, prepare, land, and succeed in your dream career.
Step 1: Find the right career
It is okay to feel stuck or confused when choosing a career. These four tips will help reduce the confusion and discover a truly satisfying career:
i. Take a career personality test. There are online career assessment tools that can point you to the right path based on your personality. If you are an altruist, for example, a career personality test will point you to careers that require philanthropy and selflessness such as nursing and teaching.
ii. The personality test will give you tons of options. Make a list of all the options and check the viability of each. Parse out the courses that aren’t within your price range, careers that don’t have enough job openings in your country/labor market of choice, and options whose possible remuneration isn’t exactly appealing. Narrow your options down to about five.
iii. Check for options that are similar- options that you can combine and pursue simultaneously.
iv. Look for possible overlaps between the hobbies you love, available career options, and your pertinent beliefs (especially culture and religion). A career that aligns with your beliefs and hobbies can never be boring and you will always feel motivated to give your best and work as hard as you can.
Step 2: Find a good career mentor
Don’t underestimate the power of words of encouragement and advice from a professional you admire; someone who has seen it all in your career of choice, who probably came from beginnings similar to yours, and who shows faith in your ability. A mentor will push you to success especially when you feel inadequate. How do you find that “someone”? You can start by sending polite and formal emails to top professionals in your career of choice- you can find their emails on LinkedIn or their company websites. Introduce yourself and briefly explain what you need from them. Some will respond and others won’t (they are busy people, obviously), so your patience will be significantly tested. You can also find mentors from your social circles, neighborhood, church, or even among your parents’ friends. It will take time to find the best mentors, but you sure will find one if you look hard enough.
Step 3: Study and pass the necessary exams
To be a top professional in the future, you need to study in a top university/college. Research to find out the universities near you that are known for the course or program you want to join. For example, Harvard University and the University of Oxford are known to run the best medical schools in the world. If you want to pursue engineering, Tsinghua University (China), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University are among the best universities you can apply to. As for the best law schools, some of the best universities to apply to include The University of Melbourne, Harvard University, and the University of Oxford. You don’t necessarily have to join these universities, but studying with the crème de la crème will give you a good head start in your career.
Upon graduation, you might need to sit for certification exams to be accepted into your to-be profession. Nurses, for example, have to pass the USMLE Step 2 CK exam. The exam tests a candidate’s readiness and competence to serve in the medical field. Engineers, on the other hand, need to pass The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam to earn their license. Accountants sit The CPA Exam. Research to know which exams you need to prepare for in your career of choice.
Step 4: Network
Congratulations! Your professional credentials are in order. But will you have job opportunities lined up? Probably not! It is time to network, with the help of your career mentor, alumni association, and former classmates. Also, it helps to set up professionally-looking accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social platforms, and be sure to emphasize the skills that can earn you meaningful connections. You can also network through internships, job fairs, and career conferences.
Don’t encourage a scarcity mindset! There are tons of opportunities out there for you to discover, pursue, and consequently achieve your dream. And don’t worry about any qualification challenges because, when you put in the work, you will realize that you are more qualified than you’d imagine.