How To Find the Right Career Path

Written by: Ayo Adeogun

Ayo is the founder of the Adulting Pod 101 podcast where she discusses all the challenges of being a young adult, dealing with issues such as financial goals, personal development and even ISAs. Available on Spotify & Apple Music. She also covers her own personal road to employment on her YoutTube channel.

Finding the right role or career path can be a daunting task and there is no set way to figure out the role of your dreams. Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do from when they were kids, others go through life never really knowing what they want or settling with whatever works. For me, finding the right role took 3 years after university. I had to try out a few different roles and have conversations with several people to figure out the type of role that made sense for me. At the time I had no confidence I would ever find a fulfilling role but here I am finally doing something which I enjoy but also harnesses my strengths.

Having been through the process of finding the right career for me, I can reflect on the things I could’ve done that may have aided the process of finding the right career path. Here are my 5 steps to help you find the right role or career.

1. Reflect on what you enjoy doing//Draw out the topics you enjoyed in school 

This process is key. I find reflection is important for setting any type of goal or aspiration as it’s important to understand your journey thus far to figure out where you want to be in the future. Think really hard about what you enjoy doing or the industry areas you like the idea of. At this stage don’t feel like you have to make a solid, firm decision. Instead, strip back the pressure of decision making and really consider what you love to do. For me, I realised that being a company secretary made sense as I loved the idea of an executive assistant type of role but with prospects of progression and also being a source of advice to high level managers/directors.

Another thought to reflect on may be considering the things you enjoyed in school/university. Say you really enjoyed languages. Perhaps you could consider a role abroad or in linguistics? Maybe if you liked maths & equations, you could consider something in data analysis or an actuarial type of role. School subjects can really frame the jobs we may enjoy in the future and remember a decision doesn’t have to made immediately! Use it as a source of inspiration. 

2. Ask your friends and family what you’re good at

Sometimes your friends know you better than you do or can see things in you that are hard to see in yourself. Have you ever thought about asking them what they see you as? They may point out an area of your personality that you didn’t think of for your career. For example your friend may tell you that you’re really good at problem solving or organising squad holidays. Perhaps from that, you may realise that event planning or management may be a good career path to explore in the future . On the flip side, your friends may also highlight the things you are sure you don’t want to do.  Some of my friends were convinced  I’d do something in music which made sense at the time because I was really passionate about it. But I began to realise that my shy personality wouldn’t work in the areas of music I was interested in  and I really wanted to keep music as something I didn’t have to do to make money. So at the time,I decided not to pursue it and I may not have realised it then, but figuring what I didn’t want to do helped the process of deciding what I do want to do.

3. Look at the skills you’ve acquired through your degree/education

This can be really good source of inspiration especially if you don’t want to go into the exact industry you studied. Take me for example, I studied law and the more I studied it, the more I realised I did not want to be a lawyer .(lol) I wasn’t convinced I had the right personality to pursue the career but there were aspects of it that I wanted to take into whatever role I did choose. I know I wanted to give advice or be a source of information and I knew I was happy to pursue further study in order to progress. So here again I knew that being a company secretary made sense to me. Perhaps you’re good at essay writing; this could translate into a role with report writing in it. Perhaps you enjoyed presentations; this could translate into an account manager or marketing role. Really reflect on the aspects of uni you liked (even the social aspects) and use that to figure out what you could do in your day to day role.

4. Be realistic on the sort of work lifestyle/salary you want for yourself and make sure your aspirations line up to it 

Let’s be honest, some jobs and industries pay more than others. You need to weigh up what kind of salary prospects and work/life balance you want and choose wisely. Money isn’t everything but for some people, reaching certain goals will be dependent on salary and room for growth,. Be honest with yourself but also recognise that in the beginning stages of your career, you may need to put in a few extra hours (in moderation) no matter what industry you are in.

5. Don’t be afraid to try out things 

Throughout my 3 years of trying to find the right career path for myself, I didn’t realise I was actually trying out things. I felt like I was failing and giving up on every job I had. I always wonder if I had been way more intentional about trying out things, would I have gotten here faster? See this time as a journey for you to enjoy. Look for roles that seem enjoyable and try it out! In the early stages of your career, you can afford to dedicate time to finding the perfect fit for yourself.

To wrap up, I’d encourage you to remember that  everyone’s path is different. Don’t get too caught up in having the perfect role now. Enjoy trying out new things, exploring new industries and learning new skills. The chances are after all your experience, you’ll feel way more affirmed in your choice by the time you decide to pursue your chosen career path.

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