If you’re just starting your career search, you might be wondering, “what career is right for me?” It’s a complicated question. The “right” career for you can be right in lots of different ways: the right everyday tasks, the right fit for your personality (check out our personality career quiz), the right one for your strengths (check out our career aptitude test), the right work environment.
So, how do you know what career is right for you? We’ve designed a “what career is right for me?” quiz that measures what kind of work tasks you’re suited for, what work environment you prefer, and what fits your unique personality and strengths.
What to Do With My “What Career Is Right for Me?” Quiz Results
Congratulations, you finished your quiz! That’s the first step in answering “What career is right for me?” Now, it’s time to examine your results and take some next steps.
1. Consider How You Feel About Your Results
It may sound a little odd, but consider how you feel about your results. Were they what you expected? Are you put off or surprised? Why?
“Students need to really be honest with themselves in their career exploration process,” says Jamie Guilford, associate director of employer relations and center for career development at York College of Pennsylvania. “They need to develop strong self-awareness by getting clear on their interests, values, personality, and skills (both strengths and areas of challenge).”
A career quiz is a great first step to understanding all of these variables — your interests, values, personality, and skills — but it’s not the final answer. It’s important to consider how these results match up with your preconceptions about yourself and what careers you thought you were suited for.
If it’s what you expected, great! That’s confirmation that the careers you initially thought about might be a good fit. If it’s not, that’s OK too — maybe there’s a career path you’d love but you’d never thought of before.
“[The biggest mistake I see students make in the job search] is choosing a path that others want for you or that you feel is expected of someone in your situation,” says J.R. Lowry, founder of PathWise.io, a career coaching company. “Just because you’re good at biology doesn’t mean that you should be a doctor. And just because everyone else is choosing jobs in consulting firms doesn’t mean that you should too. It’s your career, so make your own choices.”
2. Do Your Research
Now that you’ve sat with your results, it’s time to start doing your research. Start by getting a general understanding of some of the career paths, either by reading blog articles or looking at job descriptions of roles in the industry. You should aim to answer:
- What do people in these career paths do every day?
- What kinds of companies do they work for?
- Who do they work with?
- What are the goals they work toward?
- What kind of work life do they have?
3. Try It Out
Reading more about career paths can be helpful to understand them, but one of the best ways to know if a career is right for you is to actually try it out. Forage job simulations are a free and low-pressure way to dive into different roles and get real-world experience working at a top company.
For example, let’s say you want to try out software engineering. You could try out security engineering and work as a governance analyst in Goldman Sachs’ Software Engineering program. Or, maybe you’re suited for a career in marketing. You could try out digital marketing to help promote a new product in lululemon’s Omnichannel Marketing program.
4. Don’t Do It Alone
Networking is your best friend when it comes to understanding what career is right for you. It can be scary, but talking to real professionals is a great way to learn the gritty details about what certain jobs are like — and the different career journeys people take to land them!
“Talk to multiple people who, through informational interviews, can provide insight into particular career fields and/or jobs,” Guilford says.
These networking connections don’t need to be CEOs at top companies or complete strangers. “Talk with trusted adults about your interests as well as your future goals, including lifestyle aspirations,” Ann Runkle, certified career coach, says. “Those trusted adults might be a school counselor or favorite teacher, a coach, a parent, an extended family member such as an aunt or cousin, or even the parent of one of their friends.”
Runkle recommends asking your network questions like:
- What is your everyday work life like?
- What do you love about your career (or business)?
- What advice do you have for a student getting into your field?
- What do you wish you had known when you were just getting started?
The Bottom Line
If you’re having trouble answering “what career is right for me?” you’re not alone. Finding the right career for you requires self-awareness, exploration, research, networking, and even some trial and error. But with the right dedication and openness to trying new things, you can find a career path that feels right for you.
And even though job search anxiety is normal, it’s important to remember that the right career for you now doesn’t have to be the right career for you forever.
“Don’t view your initial choice as a life decision,” Lowry says. “Your generation will reinvent what it means to work. You’ll likely work for a number of employers and have 2-3 different ‘careers,’ if not more. Choose what’s best for you now, embrace it for a few years, and then consider, ‘Where next?'”
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