What's your passion? What are you competent in?
What do I want to be when I grow up? A question we always had an answer to as a child but may struggle with as we grow older.
There are an infinite number of career options open to us today.
In addition to the conventional roles, there are a number of unconventional opportunities also knocking at your door.
What is the optimal path for you? Should you start your own business or work in a professional set-up?
Is your skill set aligned with your dream career or do you need to work harder?
The first few years of your career lay a very important foundation. So much of our day is spent either at work, or travelling back and forth, or thinking about it.
Thus, if you are unhappy with your choices the repercussions can be detrimental.
Working at the right job which excites you, challenges you, motivates you will provide you the appropriate framework to grow both personally and professionally.
So how can you take the right steps towards a fulfilling career? Here are our top tips:
Perform a self evaluation
Before you even start exploring your options, it is necessary to take a step back and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Do an internal evaluation. Ask yourself questions to define your likes and passions.
Also, try to identify if a certain opportunity matches with your skill set or not. Ask questions like:
Am I comfortable making reports on Excel or presenting ideas to a large group of people?
Does my personal situation allow me to travel extensively?
What kind of role will interest me the most?
Do I want a role that allows me to be creative? Or do I want to be writing and contemplating algorithms?
Where do I see myself in 5 to 10 years? What goals do I wish to achieve?
Think about what excites you, but also keep in mind things that you are proficient in.
Identify appropriate skill sets
Any role and / or company have certain pre-requisites that needs to be met for a position.
These requirements evolve based on how you map your career trajectory, for example the skills expected from an analyst will be different to that of a partner.
When choosing your career path, take stock of both your academic and non-academic skills and how they match with your career aspirations.
Take a career test
Choosing your career stream can be an intimidating experience, given the overwhelming number of choices available.
To help you make that decision, career tests are designed such that you answer a series of questions based on your preferences, passions and interest and you receive a tailored profile that suggests areas of study or career that may be of interest of you.
Do your homework
Even though you believe you have the required skills, aptitude, and interest for a certain career path, dig deeper.
Research the careers that you are targeting, as each one has its own pros and cons.
Talk to people who are already walking on the path that you are interested in.
Get an internship
An internship could be a great way to test out an industry or type of career -- and eventually get a full-time job.
Even if it doesn't turn out to be your dream job or you find out it's the wrong career for you, an internship can help build your network, and help you realise your preferences and strengths.
If you are unable to intern due to education or full-time work commitments, find other ways to expose yourself to your desired area or industry. For example: If you are looking to work with Teach for India, then first volunteer with an NGO or if you are looking to start your own business, then be a consultant to a friend or family member’s business.
We all have those seniors, elder brothers or sisters, friends, acquaintances, who are our role models when it comes to choosing a career path.
Tap into your networks to find people.
Talk to them, ask them about their experiences, they will fill you with several do’s and don’ts which can be a great help to you.
Spend time at their place of work.
It makes good sense to learn from other people’s experiences and avoid making the same mistakes.
Your career is not a sprint; it is a marathon.
Deciding what to do is a time consuming process and plans and ideas are never set in stone.
So take your time in mapping your career stream, and be willing to take risks and try new things.
This article is written by Grishma Nanavaty, partner and lead counsellor at ReachIvy.com
Lead image -- a still from Notebook -- used for representational purposes only.