How To Choose a Career in 10 Steps

A career is a path we take in life and how we define success. But how do you choose a career? Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you can make. It can be both thrilling and intimidating for those just beginning to figure out what type of job path they would like to take -after all, the industry you choose affects everything from your financial security and overall happiness to potential opportunities throughout your future. Whether you’re choosing a new career, mid-career, or starting fresh right out of college, it pays to take some time to research thoroughly. This means understanding the different options available before committing yourself completely. To help you start this career journey, we’ve put together 10 steps to walk you through how to choose a successful career.

Learn how to choose a career in 10 steps!

What are 10 factors to consider when choosing a career?

Oftentimes, people find themselves in a job they hate and wonder how they got there. If you’re feeling unfulfilled or uncomfortable in your current position, it may be time to choose a new career. Follow these 10 steps and you will better understand how to choose the right career for you.

1. Take an inventory of your skills, interests, and values

Before you can choose a career path, it’s important to take an inventory of yourself and what makes you unique. Are you seeking a way to contribute your time and energy in a meaningful manner? Answering these questions surrounding your passions, values, interests, and traits can guide you. We’re not telling you to “follow your passion” – that’s both deceptive and perplexing. Rather we want you to be strongly motivated by the activities that comprise most of your daily life. Contemplate the following queries:

Interest-based questions: 

What types of activities and topics have my attention? What type of tasks interest me most?

Value-based questions: 

Do I prefer to work in a structured or unstructured environment?

How important is money to me?

Trait-based questions: 

Do I prefer solitary work or working with others?

Am I comfortable managing people and teams or do I prefer to work alone?

2. Start with a master list of Job titles

Before diving deep into any job search, list all the careers that may be of your interest. This will give you a high-level overview of the job possibilities, so you can pick and choose what best fits your interests.

Here are some examples of career choices you never thought of, but may be worth considering: Project Management, Business Development, and Human Resources. Use this list as a starting point, but feel free to add your own ideas. Put together at least 10–20 job titles on your Master List, giving you plenty of options to explore.

3. Investigate Job descriptions and responsibilities

Now that you have a list of potential job titles, it’s time to start researching what each role entails. Read through each career title’s job description, and learn how the job will fit into your daily work life.

Look for job descriptions that match up with your interests, values, and how you want to spend your time. Take notes on the job role, responsibilities, and how it matches what you’re looking for.

4. Explore Job outlooks

The job outlook is how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts how much a certain job will grow or shrink in the upcoming years. Knowing how much a job is set to grow can give you an idea of how successful and lucrative a specific career path may be.

For example, the BLS predicts that project management positions will grow by 8% over the next 10 years—which is higher than the average job growth. Look at how much the job you are researching is set to grow, and how it may affect your future career path.

5. Conduct Informational Interviews

One of the best ways to learn more about a job and how it fits your life is to conduct informational interviews with people currently in the field. Reach out to family members, friends, or even professionals you’re interested in, and ask how they got to where they are.

Take notes on how the job aligns with their interests, how their work environment is structured, and how they are able to gain the necessary skills. In addition, ask how they would approach job searching for that particular job.

6. Get training and update your resume

Once you have narrowed down the job titles you are interested in, it’s time to acquire additional training and skills. While some companies offer in-house training, some employers look for those already possessing the qualifications. Utilize online resources such as or Udemy to learn how the job works, and how you will fit into it. Determine how many extra skills you need, and how best to acquire them. Consider how you can build a toolkit of skills that will help bolster your career. From taking professional development courses to gaining experience through internships and volunteering, there are many ways to start building the skillset you’ll need to move forward and pursue your dream job. Update your resume with the new qualifications and any relevant work experience.

how to choose a career

7. Reflect on your motivations

After you’ve taken stock of yourself, explore your reasons for wanting to work. You may like an occupation that has a more attractive starting salary than the average job or one that provides greater flexibility so you can operate remotely. Remember, not all professions will fulfill all your desires. Hence, it is essential to be aware of what matters most to you first.

What drives you to choose a particular career? It may be the salary, how much responsibility you will have, and how meaningful you believe the work to be. Whichever it is, think about how much weight each motivation carries for you, and what you’re willing to give up for them.

8. Research potential careers

Once you’ve identified how to choose a career that aligns with your needs and interests, research potential job titles, career paths, and the average salaries to get a better idea of how different occupations measure up, as well as how they can fit into your life. Use websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn to get more information on career paths and job titles. Additionally, The Occupational Outlook Handbook provides tons of helpful information on how to choose a career.

9. Take a career quiz

A fun way to start your search for how to choose a career is by taking an online assessment or career quiz. These quizzes ask questions related to your interests and values and how you perceive yourself in a working environment. The results highlight what job roles and industries you should explore further.

10. Make a list of jobs to explore

Once you’ve identified how to choose a career that fits your life, make a master list of job titles and potential employers to explore. This will help you stay focused and organized as you search for openings and opportunities that align with your goals. From there, create a short list of jobs that sound interesting to you and make sure they fit your criteria.

Keep in mind that the job description may not necessarily reflect the exact position of an employer in all respects. While the title may not appear attractive, job descriptions could suit you well.

A word from SublimePeople

So, there you have it—10 actionable steps to help you choose the right career. Just remember to stay patient throughout the process, do your research, and be willing to experiment until you find something that clicks. And if you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for guidance.

You may also be interested in How Do I Find a Rewarding Career