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BLOG POST (see all posts in 'Choosing Careers')

Solid Career Advice: The 3 Major Factors to Consider

When the time comes to start considering a career field and seeking career advice, recent and soon-to-be graduates need to be careful. Some of the advice they may get on choosing a major and selecting a college will wind up being pretty poor advice. Parents, friends, and counselors should be mindful to ensure they are not wrongfully guiding their students into a field doesn't match their unique individual circumstances. According to research, most college-bound students haven't selected a major and those that have will most likely change it at least once during their college years. When students don't have clear career goals in mind, the chances increase that they will just drop out of school altogether.

Careers Advice

So what should be considered when seeking (or providing) careers advice? Common advice such as "follow your passion" or "do what you love" just touch on one of the areas we have found to be critical in selecting a career. Here are 3 major factors to consider and weigh during this big decision:

This is where your passion comes into play. What types of activities do you like? What are you interested in learning more about? Do you want to work for an industry that helps people or gives back? What kind of difference do you want to make?

Here you should consider your "natural talents" and various personality traits. Figure out what your strengths are and consider/search for fields where they can be put to good use. Strengths in the areas of problem solving, leadership style, self-discipline, creativity, etc. will vary for each individual. Many scales/assessments can be used to help you advise you in this area, including our assessment at OP. You may also find a publication such as the popular StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath helpful.

Consider all the other career and job characteristics here. This includes how much education you will need, how much money you want to make, the job growth/availability, the typical hours worked, and the environment and location where the jobs will most likely be held.

Only through considering all of these factors will you truly be able to find the right job fit and career match for you. Sure you should network and seek advice and knowledge about careers from those in your circle, but just don't let one remark or person guide your way. Do your own research and be your own advocate. If you are unsure of the path suited for you or simply want to consider a couple of great alternatives, seek guidance from someone specifically trained to help students in this area. That is the best career advice we can give.

See our breakdown on the important criteria for career planning.

POSTED: 7-12-2015 at 2:51 PM (EDT)

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