Modern educational system is designed in a way, which supports early career planning. Children are encouraged to think about their future, while teenagers are often asked to choose individual pathways and focus more on the areas, which they would like to major in. In result, many students feel the pressure to know what they want to do with their lives very early on. How important is it to start planning your career as early as possible and how to avoid common mistakes when choosing your area of expertise?
First career choices
Making the first career decisions in high school has its advantages – it helps determine which academic fields will be most useful in achieving your goals and what you should major in. However, teenagers with no professional experience often fail to imagine what their future career will be like. The job they imagine to be exciting and challenging might turn out to be repetitive and boring, which is something they realize only when their get their first job.
Before you make any serious decisions regarding your future, such as choosing what you want to major in, it would be great if you could first check how working in that area of expertise looks like. If possible, try to find a summer job as a volunteer at a company with similar profile to your area of interest. Sometimes having a gap year is the best option, provided that you will focus on gaining new, professional experience. If you can’t find a job as a volunteer or don’t want to take a year off, try and talk to professionals representing the area of your interest to have a more accurate vision of what this kind of work entails.
Exploring your interests
Learning more about ourselves helps determine what we are really interested in. A direct transition from hobby to profession might not be that easy, however exploring your hobbies and interests should make it easier to decide on the most important features of your future job. For example, if you are a big fan of computer games, then working in IT department will probably suit you better than a career in medicine. It is also good to ask yourself a question what kind of skills will be required to do the job of your dreams and do you have these skills?
For example: is your dream job all about cooperating with other people or working on the project independently? Which types of job suit you more: the ones, where you need to manage people and take responsibility for the completion of a task, or jobs, which require close communication with the client? If you are not sure what kind of skills you already have, work on figuring it out first.
You can start planning or redesign your career at any point in your life. Starting earlier is not a guarantee of success – effective career planning is always based on the best possible choices, which are a result of understanding who you are and what kind of skills you already posses or can develop easily.
The article was provided by Irina Kovalyova – blogger, marketer and Internet lover who is now working on educational project iSingapore Math providing math help for kids.