Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Every professional has their own idea of what constitutes a successful career. Many people see career success as a way to combine making a living with doing something they love.
To be happy, there must be harmony between these two elements. While some people have no trouble articulating their wants and needs, others find it difficult.
Why you should build a career?
This is perfectly natural, and self-reflection is essential to defining what constitutes a successful professional path for you.
Nobody else has the right to decide how your career develops or whether you’ve achieved success. What constitutes “good” in this context is highly subjective and individual.
Why do you need a career path?
A career path is a surefire way to get where you want to go in terms of education, experience, and doing work that you enjoy. Choosing a career that’s a good fit for you can significantly improve your quality of life.
Choosing a vocation that will have a net positive effect on your health, happiness, and quality of life is surprisingly simple. Learn more about career paths and how to select one that’s right for you.
What is a career path?
A career path is a plan of action for professional growth or a sequence of employment that, taken together, should help you reach your long- and short-term goals.
The path you chose can be either linear, consisting of a series of employment in the same sector, or nonlinear, requiring periodic changes in occupation in order to acquire the necessary skills and experience to achieve the desired professional or personal outcomes.
A career path may represent upward mobility to higher-level positions or horizontal mobility within a single or several industries. A career path is the series of positions you hold within an industry or at one company that ultimately lead you to your ultimate goal position.
How to choose a career path
Having a clear idea of where you want your career to go can help you avoid making hasty decisions and give you the confidence to take advantage of new chances and hone your abilities at the right times. Following this procedure will help you choose your career path at any age:
1. Take an honest look at oneself
Understanding who you are as a person is the first step toward finding a fulfilling profession. Personality, values, beliefs, soft skills, aptitudes, and hobbies can all be uncovered in this manner. What you learn about yourself will help you decide which careers are a good fit and which aren’t.
Make use of the many available aptitude tests and other methods of self-evaluation. If you feel lost when trying to evaluate your own professional potential, you may want to seek the assistance of a career development specialist or a career counselor.
2. Make a list of potential careers you’re interested in.
Based on the numerous desirable traits you discovered about yourself in the first stage, you undoubtedly have several ideas of where you’d like to work.
Put them all together into one master list for easy reference. Review your list for jobs that you’ve included more than once and jot down the new entries on a separate page. Then designate them as occupations you’d like to explore.
Then, pick out the professions that really grab your attention from the list. It’s possible that these are the professions about which you know a little bit and would like to learn more. Put in there the ones you’re not very well versed in but are interested in learning more about nevertheless.
3. Look into the professions you listed.
When you reach this point, you’ll be relieved to have cut your options down to a manageable number. It’s time to start looking into each of the careers.
Get started by researching the position’s required education and experience. Find out more about the different vocations’ promotion possibilities. Finally, investigate government-produced labor information on the pay and general job forecast of each career.
4. Create a shortlist
Collect as much data as possible, then use that data to narrow down your options for careers. The first step in this approach is to cross off all the professions that you have absolutely no interest in pursuing. You can create a shortlist of the top four or five careers you’re considering pursuing.
It’s time to start crossing off the jobs that don’t make the cut. Reduce the workforce by removing people who have poor job prospects. Be sure to weed out anyone whose specific learning needs you can’t or won’t fulfill.
5. Conduct interviews to get relevant information.
When you’re down to a select few careers, this process will become simpler. Inquiring more deeply about what it’s like to work in such fields is a good place to start. Seek out people who have held these positions for some time and can provide reliable insight.
You’ll get information straight from the horses’ mouths about what it’s really like to work in those fields, so you can decide for yourself if it’s a path you want to go down. You should look in your professional and social circles for such people.
6. Decide on a profession.
You’ve done your homework and are now prepared to choose a profession that will put your unique set of abilities and attributes to good use. Choose the option that gives you the best shot at achieving the level of job satisfaction you require.
You can always switch careers if you decide you don’t like the one you’ve chosen. Throughout your life, you might even switch occupations several times.
7. Emphasize your objectives
After deciding on a profession, it’s important to make sure it fits in with your short- and long-term objectives.
This can give you a better idea of how and when you can expect to find work in the field. Your short-term objectives can be completed in six months to three years, while your long-term objectives can be completed in three to five years.
Your aspirations ought to be shaped by the findings of your investigation on the typical educational and other prerequisites for various occupations.
You could, for instance, set a long-term objective of completing your education and training, with intermediate steps including submitting applications to relevant training programs.
8. Make a plan for your professional future.
An action plan for your career is a written document that details the steps you need to take to reach your objectives. The document serves as a guide that can be followed to reach the desired location.
You should detail both your immediate and distant objectives in your plan. In addition, you should document the challenges you anticipate encountering and the steps you will take to overcome them.
How to build a career
If you know how to construct a successful career, you can realize your aspirations even as you work in a field that excites and fulfills you.
For many people, advancing in one’s profession is an enriching and empowering experience. Each of these measures can be understood in many ways depending on the individual’s view of success.
1. Figure out what you want to accomplish and what you’re truly passionate about.
Career aspirations become a reality when they are aligned with clearly defined passions. While some people have no trouble pinpointing their interests, others struggle mightily to do so.
Think about what it is that you enjoy doing, whether at work or in your spare time. Identifying these areas of interest is a big step in the right direction.
Once you’ve figured out what drives you, it’s time to start making plans for how to put those passions to use in your professional life.
You may also make a mind map of all the career-related ideas you have. Think about how your career aspirations relate to your personal ones. The aspirations you once had for your career may shift as you progress through your professional life.
This happens naturally and routinely. Make sure the SMART framework is used to guide your professional goals. Meaning that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based).
2. Recognize your virtues
When trying to figure out what you like, it’s useful to make a list of your accomplishments. One source of happiness for individuals is in doing what they excel at.
Even better, recognizing your talents means that you may adapt your job search according to your specific skills. This increases confidence in the early stages of your career as you begin to align what you’re strong at with what you want to do.
Gaining an understanding of oneself is essential for career success. If you lack a key ability that is essential to the position you seek, you can plan for professional growth by setting new career goals.
To become a technical lead, for instance, a program engineer will need to hone their leadership abilities. Recognizing your own areas of improvement is empowering.
3. Clear your vision
A common snag that occurs when people begin the process of figuring out what they want out of life is becoming bogged down in the specifics of their eventual destination. Your vision must be crisp before you can make an effective strategy.
Envision a future, based on the above principles, that provide your life direction. Until you have a clear picture of success, it will be impossible to devise the complex strategies that will be required to achieve it.
4. Figure out what you want to do
Having a concrete plan to guide your career development will help you maintain focus on the things that matter most. Since there will always be factors beyond your control, it’s crucial to keep some wiggle room in your schedule.
Realizing your goals may require more time or effort than you anticipated, or you may face obstacles along the road. Keeping this in mind will help you develop a realistic, time-based plan that can handle any eventuality. Ensure your strategy takes into consideration your current capabilities.
5. Write a solid resume
If you want to succeed in your chosen field, you’ll need to acquire the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience. When you do decide to apply for the position, your resume will seem much better if you have done some of the many relevant things out there.
Take a look at some postings in your desired field, and see any commonalities you can spot. Then, begin to create your resume by acquiring appropriate certifications and work experience.
Now that you have a list of your qualifications, you may use it to strengthen your resume and cover letter.
6. Stay adaptable.
You can find work in many fields, and chances are good that at least some of them will appeal to you. Your plans for the future are solid, but you should still be willing to try new things and have an open mind.
You can decide that you prefer working for a nonprofit after taking a university elective that focuses on a niche within your subject of interest. Being adaptable guarantees forward progress when plans must be altered.
7. Modify as required
Try to take stock of your development regularly, regardless of whether you’ve uncovered a new interest or skill. Therefore, you will be more aware of the here and now and prepared to embrace future possibilities.
Plan periodic check-ins with yourself to evaluate your development and make necessary modifications. You need to be truthful with yourself and acknowledge that it’s natural to seek novelty from time to time.
Regular reviews provide an opportunity to refine the strategy and zero in on the most important details.
8. Make good use of your networks
The ability to network with industry insiders can open doors to new job opportunities and help you showcase your skills to prospective employers.
Being aware of others in your area also allows you to benefit from the knowledge and insights of your peers. There are many opportunities to connect with others who share your interests and ambitions.
When it comes to networking, social media has the widest reach. People from all across the world can be contacted and potentially shared opportunities or ideas.
By putting their talents to good use, you may build strong bonds with them while accomplishing important goals. As long as you both want similar things out of your careers, then it makes sense to network with each other.
9. Maintain an optimistic outlook.
Realizing that you’ll have to adapt to new situations and circumstances as you establish your career is crucial to keeping a positive attitude. Maintain self-assurance and an optimistic outlook at all times.
Keep in mind that every successful professional you encounter had to start from the bottom up. By regularly substituting optimistic ideas for pessimistic ones, you can learn to control your anxiety and stress levels in the future.
Assimilate with like-minded individuals to solidify your way of thinking. By keeping your spirits up and your mind open to possibilities, positive thinking ensures that you can keep working productively.
10. Find Help
Your self-assurance may take a hit when you encounter unexpected difficulties or disappointments. Keep in mind that you are not alone in facing this difficulty, and seek the help of others around you.
When you lose sight of what’s truly important, your mentors, friends, and coworkers can help you see the value in continuing on. These people are eager to share their insights with those who are seeking them because they recognize how important it is to help others.
11. Maintain a growth mindset
In order to advance in your chosen field, you must continually invest time and energy into expanding your knowledge and improving your skills. One of the benefits of adopting a development mindset is that it encourages you to find creative solutions to problems.
Developing perseverance is an asset in many fields, so it makes sense to hone this trait while you work toward your goals. Provide detailed responses concerning your proposed solutions and the prerequisite knowledge and abilities.