Are you a college graduate who does not know what career to choose? Are you a working adult who wants to change their occupation? It is a blessing to have a career that you love, but how do you know which career to choose?
The following information will help you determine how to choose a career, find a career opportunity, and avoid common mistakes made during the hunt.
Jobs, Occupations, and Careers: What Are the Differences?
A job is a temporary step as you make your way towards your career—a “means to an end.” A series of jobs become your career. A job helps you gain knowledge, enhance your skills, and build your experience to land your career.
A career is a life-long journey that builds on your specific skill set, knowledge, and experience. A career brings a sense of achievement and accomplishment and is usually something you love to do.
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Get exclusive scholarships and prep courses
An occupation is your area of interest; it is a broad term that encompasses your employment sector or the job categories into which you best fit.
American Workforce Statistics
Did you know that more than 17 million American workers do not like their job? In 2020, only 20% of American employees felt enthusiastic about what they did for a living. Approximately 21% of employees wanted to change their careers, and 16% worked in low-skilled occupations.
In 2019, the top reasons American employees wanted to quit their jobs include:
- Salary (25%)
- Dissatisfaction with an employer (16%)
- Values discrepancy (14%)
- Relocation (11%)
When American employees search for a job opening, 42% say that opportunities to expand their skills are a top priority when choosing an employer. Skill enhancement comes second to health insurance, which 48% of American employees consider as the most important job benefit.
But what is like to work in the American job force?
Top 10 Career Fields
The top 10 career fields in the United States include:
- Information Technology
- Architecture and Engineering
- Advertising and Marketing
- Social Services
If the list above makes up the most desirable American career fields to work in, what specific careers are most desirable?
Top 10 US Careers
The top 10 careers in the United States include:
- Physical Therapists
- Nurse Practitioners
- Software Developers
- Financial Managers
- Registered Nurses
- Market Research Analysts
- Computer System Analysts
- Post-Secondary Teachers, Health Specialists
- Occupational Therapists
- Physician Assistants
But what happens if you do not have the education employers want? What do you do?
While having an education is an essential factor in landing your desirable career, employers want you to have a specific set of skills. Read on and see what skills you have and the ones you would like to learn.
Top Skills Employers Want
Employers want their employees to have communication skills and analytical, interpersonal, and soft skills.
What are Analytical, Interpersonal, and Soft Skills?
Analytical skills consist of the ability to break down information into smaller categories to make conclusions.
Interpersonal skills are traits you rely on during your interaction and communication with other people.
Soft skills include interpersonal attributes—personality, attitude, flexibility, motivation, and manners—that you need to succeed at your workplace as you work with and relate to others, thereby allowing you to fit in at your place of employment.
In addition to the skills above, employers desire their employees to have technical literacy skills as well.
Most employers want their employees to have management and leadership skills and to be useful planners. They want their employees to be able to reason and be creative. Employers want players on their teams to problem-solve and manage their time efficiently and effectively.
Top 10 Values Employers Look For
What are values? Values drive the attributes and behaviors that employers want to see within their teams.
The top ten values that employers look for are:
- Strong work principles
- Reliability and sense of duty
- Upbeat outlook
- Truthfulness and integrity
- Desire to grow and learn
- Strong self-confidence
Now that you know what an employer wants, you must ask yourself what you want. By asking yourself these critical questions, you will have a better chance of successfully choosing a career that you will not only love but one that you can be good at as well.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Ask yourself these crucial questions before trying to decide on a career.
- What salary do I need to maintain the lifestyle I want?
- Where do I want to live, and how far do I want to commute?
- How many hours per day do I want to work?
- Do I want to work on short-term or long-term projects?
- What are my strengths, skills, and talents?
- What do I love to do that makes me happy?
- What is meaningful and important to me, and what impact do I want to have on the world?
After you have reflected and honestly answered the questions above, it is time to start learning how to choose a career.
How to Choose a Career
There are steps you must take to carefully and wisely choose a career that you will love.
First, outline your career goals. Create a 5-year plan and a 10-year plan.
Second, determine and recognize the type of personality you have and then review your previous experience.
Next, compare the job requirements of the career you want with the education you have.
Assess your current skills and evaluate your interests. Identify your core values and consider how strong your desire to have a career with opportunities to grow.
How to Find a Career Opportunity
There are multiple ways to find a career opportunity in the US. You could find the career you want via:
- Professional Networking
- By referrals
- Job postings and career websites
- Going to job fairs
- Company Career Pages
- Cold calls
- Temping or internships
- Alternate tactics
But make sure not to make the most common mistakes people make while searching for their dream opportunity, as they will undoubtedly interrupt your plans and block your path moving forward.
Mistakes Made During the Job Hunt
First, try not to follow up with a recruiter too often. Wait for them to contact you.
Next, do not push your networking contacts too hard about an opportunity. Let them know you have an interest in an opportunity and then leave the ball in their court.
Improve your self-image and develop self-confidence. A lack of confidence is a big turnoff for employers.
Avoid applying for jobs when you have no qualifications for them. Also, do not fill out applications filled with cliches—employers dislike that.
Avoid spamming your LinkedIn contacts for opportunities.
Make sure to customize your resume or CV for each job posting you apply to, and if you land an interview, always make sure to prepare for it.
So, once you make a comprehensive list of the skills you have, the talents you possess, and the gifts you want to use, you will have a better chance of discovering the career you want and the steps you need to take to land it.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.