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Find out how to choose the right career for the right reasons, what interests, talents and skills you have, or can develop.

What Career Is Right For Me?

Considering the opportunities available in this economy, the title of this page is exactly the right question you should ask.  By asking, "What career is right for me?" you rule out most of the careers people choose, because they ask the wrong questions, like income and benefits.  This way, you focus on who you are and what you want, rather than who they are and what they want.  This is very important when choosing or changing your career because you're looking for something you can stay in long-term.  Often, changing from the wrong career in mid life can be difficult. 

How To Choose The Wrong Career:  Choosing the wrong career is easy, that's why the vast majority of people do it.  All you have to do to find the wrong career is listen to any of the other people who are trying to tell you.  Parents will try to focus you on a big company with stability and benefits. Friends will lead you toward what they find exciting or toward high pay to buy al the things they want.   Unfortunately, since most people landed in their careers by chance and are "trapped" by the pay and benefits, their advice is worthless.  Even professional people who are paid to give you career guidance can steer you way wrong. 

The common problem with guidance counselors is, they follow trends.  They hear about nursing shortages or new exciting careers in computer engineering and they tend to steer everyone in that direction.  By the time you get the training to minimally qualify, you discover there are enough opportunities for about 10% of those with your qualifications.  I've always felt a good question to ask guidance counselors is, "Is this the career you always dreamed of having?"  If not, maybe your own counsel is the best. 

What Interests And Motivates Me?  I followed the advice of others and worked for about 18 years in fields I hated, until, finally, I started looking at who I am and what interests me. Instead of looking at all the careers out there and deciding what ones will take you, find out who you are and what turns you on.  The existing jobs or businesses have  nothing to do with who you are.  To find out who you are, make a list of what already interests you (hobbies, favorite school subjects, recreation) and set out to learn and experience as many different things as possible. 

As you find new things, add them to your list.  Watch the news and documentaries, do volunteer work, learn about things you never experienced and see what gets a positive emotional reaction.  If you're already working somewhere, you may need to keep the income going for a couple years while you learn who you are for your career.  It makes sense to spend time choosing what you love to do if you'll be doing it most of your life.  Once you have, say, 10-20 interesting subjects, put them in order of interest, greatest to least.  If you do this part right, you'll have no trouble doing what it takes to pursue a good career.  Usually, career trouble comes from doing what isn't interesting, so you can't get motivated to do what it takes.     

What Are My Gifts, Talents and Weaknesses?  Here, you're going to need some help from people who know and care you.  First, make a list of what comes natural, or easiest to you, what you think you're talented at.  Then, make a list of things you have the most trouble with.  Now, ask each of 5 friends or loved ones to make a list of several things they think are your strengths and another list of weaknesses. Make sure they know this is important to you.  Finally, get the book Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer.  Take the test and study the meaning of the results.  This is going to give you a complete list of gifts, talents and weaknesses.  The weaknesses are not things to be avoided, but things to work on and develop, to help you qualify to do what you're interested in.

What Skills Can I Develop?  Some talents are natural and can be improved.  Others require development because they start as weaknesses.  One of my weaknesses was fear of people...sounds strange now, but I had to train myself past this so I could pursue my greatest love...helping people.  Compare the skills and training needed to do the things that top your interest list, compare that with your list of strengths and weaknesses, and determine what skills and strengths need to be developed to pursue a career in one or more of your top interests.  Only rule out an interest if it's impossible for you to develop the needed skills.  For instance, if you were born with one hand, you most likely won't develop the skills to be a surgeon.  Still, if helping people with their health is a major interest of yours, you'll probably find a number of medical fields you can do quite well with one hand. 

What Careers Match My Interests, Talents And Skills?  Finally, we're at a point where we can begin to answer the question, "What career is right for me?"  Find careers at the top of your interest list that make the best use of the talents and skills you have or can develop.  The more interests you can satisfy, the better the career will fit you long term.  Once you've chosen the field(s) that are the best fits, you can weigh the opportunities, pay, benefits, training requirements and begin preparing for your new career.  This part is last on purpose!

The perfect career is the one you're designed for.  Sometimes you need help to know what you should be doing from the one who designed you.  Help like that comes from God.  If you'd like God's help in your career search, just click on help me God.

How did you choose your career?

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