Choosing the right career can be difficult, but having a defined career direction will help you with getting a job. But with a little hard work, some planning, and some serious self-reflection, you can set yourself on a path towards a fruitful, fulfilling career that can provide for you and your family.

Part 1 of 4:
Evaluating Your Interests

  1. 1
    Think about your dream career. There is an old saying that if you’re trying to choose a career, you should think about what you would do if you didn’t have to work. If you had a million dollars and you could do anything, what would you do? Your answer to that question, while maybe not literally the best career choice for you, may give you insight into what you should do.[1]
    • If you want to be a music star, consider going into audio engineering or music composition. These careers are easier to pursue and you will be much more likely to succeed and provide for yourself in the future.
    • For example, if you want to be an actor, consider going into media broadcasting. You can get a degree in communications or work your way up the chain of command in a local news or other television studio.
    • For instance, if you want to travel the world, consider becoming an airline steward or stewardess. This is a great way to make a living and pursue your dream of traveling the globe.
    • If you want to become a CTO, you have to earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant STEM field. It also requires a thorough understanding of all aspects of business.
  2. 2
    Assess your hobbies. It is very easy to turn your hobbies or something you love doing into a future career. Many hobbies correspond to real world needs and positions. Consider what you like to do and how that might fit into a career. Remain humble as you work toward your goal. You may want to work part-time as you get referrals and experience in your desired career.[2]
    • For example, if you like playing video games, consider becoming a video game designer, programmer, or QA specialist.
    • If you like drawing or art, consider becoming a graphic designer.
    • If you like sports, consider hosting a sports camp or becoming an assistant coach.
  3. 3
    Consider what you enjoy or enjoyed in school. Academic subjects translate well into future careers but may require more schooling than other types of careers. Your favorite class in high school could very well launch you into your future career but you have to be willing to work for it.[3]
    • For example, if you loved chemistry, you could look forward to a future career as a lab technician or a pharmacist.
    • If you liked English class, consider becoming an editor or a copywriter.
    • If you enjoyed math, consider becoming an actuary or an accountant.

Part 2 of 4:
Assessing Your Skills

  1. 1
    Think about what you are or were good at in school. Think about the subjects you excelled in in school. Though it may not be your favorite thing to do, choosing a career based on something you are skilled at can help you excel and provide yourself a secure future.[4]
    • Look at the examples from the previous step if you need ideas.
  2. 2
    Consider what skills you excel in. If you are particularly good at certain skills, such as fixing things or making things, this can provide you with a great future career. Schooling may or may not be necessary, but skilled labor is often in demand and you will find it fairly easy to find work.[5]
    • For example, carpentry, auto repair, construction, and electrical work all benefit from people who are good at fixing things or working with their hands. These also tend to be stable, well-paying jobs.
    • Other skills, such as a skill for cooking, can also be easily turned into a career.
  3. 3
    Assess your interpersonal skills. If your skills lie more in helping and communicating with other people, there are jobs for you as well. People who communicate and interact with others well can easily get careers as social workers or in marketing and similar business positions.[6]
    • If you’re more the type to take care of others, consider nursing or work as an administrative assistant or office manager.
  4. 4
    Ask someone if you don't know. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see the areas in life where we excel. If you don’t think you’re good at anything, ask your parents, other family members, friends, or teachers what they think you’d be good at. Their ideas might surprise you!
    • Your friends and family can also help you network and get you in touch with people in your chosen field. You can also join a MeetUp to meet others that are involved with the work you hope to do.

Part 3 of 4:
Considering Your Current State

  1. 1
    Explore yourself. Figuring out what you should do with your life may sometimes require you to get to know yourself better. If you want a career that will really make you happy, you have to have a very good understanding of what you want and what you enjoy. For some people, this means taking some time off to decide what’s important to them.
    • There is nothing wrong with this, so don’t feel bad. It’s more important that you figure your life out as early as possible, rather than getting knee deep in a career which makes you hate your life.
  2. 2
    Consider your financial situation. Your ability to pursue or change careers may hinge on your financial situation. Some career paths require special schooling and this is sometimes expensive. However, you should not feel that being poor restricts you from getting the education you want.
    • There are lots of government programs to help you pay for schools, as well as scholarships, grants, and apprenticeship programs.
  3. 3
    Think about the education you will have as you enter a career. It is important to consider what education you already have or will have as you begin pursuing a career. If finances may prevent you from pursuing more schooling, you may need to consider what you already have. It may also be necessary to stick with your existing high school or college degree if there are time limitations or other restrictions.[7]
    • If you find that you are limited to jobs relating to the degree you already have, consult with a career counselor to find out what options are available to you.
  4. 4
    Determine if you want to go to school. If restrictions do not bar you from pursuing more schooling, you may want to consider this option. Not everybody excels in school or needs a traditional college education, but most career paths have associated training which you can do and will help you advance more quickly.[8]
    • Technical colleges, for example, may be a good option for those who would prefer not to pursue a traditional education.
  5. 5
    Do more research. If you're still confused, consider doing more research on this topic. You can find more helpful information here or consult with your adviser or college of choice.

Part 4 of 4:
Contemplating Your Future

  1. 1
    Consider the careers you have easy access to. Consider what career options are available for you to easily move into. These would be careers in which you have both the necessary skills and an “in.”
    • Examples would be working for the same company as one of your parents, working for a family business, or working for a friend. If your options are limited, choosing a career in which you can quickly enter may be your best option.
  2. 2
    Examine your future financial security. One of the most important things to consider is if the career path you’re choosing will provide you with an acceptable level of financial security. In other words, will you be able to make enough money to support yourself and your family?
    • Do the math to figure out what your take-home salary needs to be. Take into account your health insurance and retirement options as well. You may want to see a financial advisor before making any decisions.
    • Remember, this doesn’t have to be a lot of money or enough money by somebody else’s standards. All that matters is that it’s enough for you and what you want for your life.
  3. 3
    Scrutinize your future job stability. Job markets fluctuate as society needs different things at different times. Certain jobs are also always in demand or frequently unstable. You will need to consider if the career you choose is stable enough for you and your desires for the future.[9]
    • For example, many people recently went into law school and racked up often in excess of $100,000 in school debt because they thought they’d be making a very high wage in the future. However, law positions are not in demand as much the last few years and now those people have huge debts and no way to pay them.
    • Another example is working as a writer or any career based on freelance work. You may sometimes have plenty of work but there may be years when you have almost nothing. Working in this way requires a certain level of determination and discipline and is not for everybody.
  4. 4
    Look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook. One way for you to gauge if a career option is a good idea is to look it up in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a guide, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which looks at what kind of education is required for different jobs, how much people in those careers make on average, and how much the demand for that job is likely to increase or decrease.[10]
  5. 5
    Make a dream board. A dream board is a wonderful tool for organizing your aspirations. It can also help you hold yourself accountable as you work toward reaching your goals. Find pictures online or in magazines and paste them onto poster board. Choose inspiring quotes and add trinkets as well, if desired.

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Expert Advice

When you're considering a career change, ask yourself questions like...

  • What salary do I need to maintain the lifestyle that I want?
  • Where do I want to live, and what type of commute works for me?
  • How many hours do I want to work?
  • Do I want to work on short-term or long-term projects?
  • What are my strengths, skills, and gifts?
  • What do I love to do? What brings me joy?
  • What's meaningful and important to me, and what impact do I want to have on the world?
Certified Career Coach

Community Q&A

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  • Question
    What should I do when I'm confused between whether to be a doctor or work in an administrative profession? It's clear that I like science more than social interactions.
    Abayomi Estwick
    Abayomi Estwick
    Certified Life Coach
    Abayomi Estwick is a Certified Life Coach in Maryland. She received her Life Coach Certification in 2017.
    Abayomi Estwick
    Certified Life Coach
    Expert Answer
    Perhaps you may combine the two. Consider becoming an office manager at a medical practice. It will allow you to interact with doctors on a more intimate level and learn the medicinal approach within the practice while finding a balance with administrative work. Should you wish to convert your career into a solely medical position, the best place for mentoring would be in the very practice you are already a part of. You can also consider becoming a medical assistant. There is some admin work along with medical duties.
  • Question
    I like making new things with materials in my home, what career should I choose?
    Abayomi Estwick
    Abayomi Estwick
    Certified Life Coach
    Abayomi Estwick is a Certified Life Coach in Maryland. She received her Life Coach Certification in 2017.
    Abayomi Estwick
    Certified Life Coach
    Expert Answer
    Contracting for home improvement sounds like a career that is up your alley. You can work with a company and learn how to do remodeling work, renovations, etc. If you instead prefer to create on your own, you can become a vendor at craft fairs and as demand for your pieces increase you may be able to develop partnerships with retailers and sell your pieces within their stores. Typically these would be independently owned furniture stores. You may also create a store online, so long as you build a great reputation, no matter which option you choose, more opportunities will come.
  • Question
    How can I select a branch of engineering?
    Abayomi Estwick
    Abayomi Estwick
    Certified Life Coach
    Abayomi Estwick is a Certified Life Coach in Maryland. She received her Life Coach Certification in 2017.
    Abayomi Estwick
    Certified Life Coach
    Expert Answer
    It's a good idea to research all of the different areas of engineering and determine which is of interest to you. Then you can search for the universities that have great engineering programs and look into enrollment based on the area of engineering that you choose.
  • Question
    What if you are a talkative girl and need a job?
    Community Answer
    Try for a job as a telemarketer, lecturer or teacher, or become a VJ or RJ.
  • Question
    What do I do if I really love a career like medicine, but I don't like chemIstry and physics and I have to attend those classes because I am a science student?
    Community Answer
    if you love medicine, that means you are into biology. And in biology you need chemistry to understand the effects of drugs or organics. And you need physics too because you need to know about X-rays, microwaves , and other machines. Try reading interesting books in chemistry and physics, as you may find the textbooks a bit dry and need something more visually appealing. However, do your best as if you want to be a doctor or a medical researcher, you must have all these subjects in your background.
  • Question
    My mother wants me to become doctor, but I would like to become dancer. What do I do?
    Community Answer
    It's your life, and you get to choose what you do with it. However, you should be realistic. Dance and other artistic careers are often tough to find work in and support yourself on. If you're really passionate about it, good at it, and willing to work very hard for it, you might have a chance. But you should have a backup plan in case it doesn't work out. There's no need to do what your parents want you to do, you just need to have a realistic plan for how you will support yourself.
  • Question
    I love singing as well as being an airline pilot but I couldn't decide one? Doing both could be difficult? Please help, I'm confused!
    Community Answer
    Becoming an airline pilot is considerably more expensive than becoming a singer but you are far more likely to find regular, lucrative and ongoing work as a pilot than as a singer. If you are good at flying, your services will be in demand and you can command a good salary or run your own flying business. Everyone wants to be a singer and the world has more than its fair share of people thinking that singing is a meal ticket. The reality is that being a pilot is far more likely to provide you with a solid career unless you're the one-in-a-million amazing singer. You could always try singing to your passengers on the airplane...
  • Question
    Which career should I choose if I like science and sports?
    Community Answer
    You can consider a job related to sports science. Sports science is a discipline that studies how the healthy human body works during exercise, and how sport and physical activity promote health from cellular to whole body perspectives. You could also get into sports medicine and help athletes reach their highest potential.
  • Question
    What if I enjoy history, politics, and languages?
    Community Answer
    You could become a lecturer, an analyst, an interpreter/translator, a tour guide, a writer, a business owner, and much more. Talk to your careers guidance counselor for more ideas.
  • Question
    What if I like baking, designing, creating, and reading?
    Community Answer
    You could open a specialty bakery where you design and create unique cakes, pastries, cookies, etc.
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      • People rarely know right away what career they should be in and it takes most people several years to settle into the path they will follow. Don’t feel like you’re behind!
      • If you don’t like your career, change it! Sometimes it takes more work, especially if you’re older, but it’s possible for anyone.
      • It’s not the end of the world if you choose a career that isn’t something you dreamed of doing ever since you were little. If you have a job that doesn’t make you miserable but which securely provides for your and your family’s future, you will be surprised how happy you feel about your life and career.
      • Listen to your heart.
      • You never know what you are good at! Just spend more time with yourself and get to know about yourself.
      • The better you know yourself, the better the choice.



      • Don’t get pulled into a Ponzi scheme or any other similar con. These can land you in debt or even prison.
      • Be wary of jobs offered overseas. Thoroughly research any company before traveling to take a job. At best you can get worst, dead.
      • Be wary of any job which promises easy money. There is rarely any such thing.

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      About This Article

      Meredith Walters, MBA
      Co-authored by
      Certified Career Coach
      This article was co-authored by Meredith Walters, MBA. Meredith Walters is a Certified Career Coach who helps people develop the skills they need to find meaningful, fulfilling work. Meredith has over eight years of career and life coaching experience, including conducting training at Emory University's Goizueta School of Business and the US Peace Corps. She is a former Member of the Board of Directors of ICF-Georgia. She earned her coaching credentials from New Ventures West and a Master of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco. This article has been viewed 862,643 times.
      8 votes - 100%
      Co-authors: 64
      Updated: April 12, 2020
      Views: 862,643
      Categories: Career Planning
      Article SummaryX

      If you’re trying to choose the right career, start by making lists of the things you like to do and the things you’re good at doing. Try asking family and friends if you need help identifying your strengths, since they can sometimes be more objective. Then, come up with jobs that match your skills, like being a graphic designer if you like art, for example. Looking for career ideas? You can go online and check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook to read about different jobs. For more suggestions on choosing the right career, including how to get the education you'll need, read on!

      Did this summary help you?

      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 862,643 times.

      Reader Success Stories

      • SK

        Shailendra Khare

        Sep 4, 2017

        "It's Amazing! I read it for my daughter who is class eight, however, it is really great for me as well and I regret not reading it or something similar when I was in class eight. Seems a chapter from "How To Enjoy Your Life and Your Job." Thank you so much!"..." more
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        Farzana Nur

        Dec 27, 2017

        "Thank you for helping me. I'm actually going to take an important exam in high school in Malaysian that is called SPM. I don't know what career path I want. After seeing your tips, I can be more certain about my future career path. Thank you."..." more
      • BB

        Besarda Brati

        May 11, 2018

        "All these questions had to do with our careers in the future. Made me understand that choosing the right career is an important step.The best way to discover your dream career is to ask yourself what you would do if money weren't an object. "..." more
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        Patricia Grace

        Jan 13, 2017

        "It is a really helpful website. It would be nice if you can add the various careers available today and give details on them, like the job outlook of each."..." more
      • Botlhale

        Sep 18, 2017

        "I didn't know that you can choose a career from your interest, hobby, skills and what you like to do and enjoy most! So thanks to wikiHow."..." more
      • SG

        Subham Gope

        Sep 25, 2016

        "Helped me to research my past, to see which fields I am good at and how I can choose my career."
      • NS

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        Sep 30, 2019

        "This article has helped me a lot. Now I know what I really want to do with my life."
      • KP

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        Mar 8, 2016

        "Good compilation of suggestions and ideas for choosing the right path. Helpful."
      • PS

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        Dec 23, 2017

        "This is an good advising site for career choosers. Just read one time."
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        Jul 7, 2017

        "Yes, this helped. I agreed with the article & the way of explanation. "
      • CA

        Carrol Annah

        Jan 10, 2017

        "This page helps lot of students to choose their careers."
      • HR

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        May 26, 2017

        "Some of the answers are extremely helpful!"
      • SR

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        Jul 21, 2016

        "This helped a lot, thank you very much."
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        Sep 23, 2016

        "Helped me think about the future."
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