How to Choose a Career Area

Trying to decide on a career path? This list can help get you started. Understanding who you are, what motivates you, and the career areas that could fit your personality are some key aspects to consider what path best suits you. Time to brainstorm.

1. What are your interests?

Start by taking store of your interests. Ask yourself: what do you voluntarily spend time doing? Is this interest something you want as a career? Also consider whether you comfortable making this interest into an 8-hour per day commitment. Sometimes there is a difference between something you like as a hobby and something you would do as a profession.

2. Consider your personality

Flush out the details of your personality by asking a few questions, such as: Do you have an outstanding passion? What do you value? What do you excel at? Are you a “people person”? Do you prefer to work behind the scenes?

3. Consider your education, credentials, and experiences

Evaluate your past experiences. Tease out what aspects you liked and those you did not. What path does your education, credentials, and experiences lead you toward?

If you have a vague idea of where you are headed: what other qualifications do you need to acquire to get you where you want to go?

4. What do you want out of a career?

Ask yourself what you expect out of a job.

Do you long to set your own schedule or would you prefer the structured 9-to-5? Do you want a job that gives you upward mobility?

What types of people do you want to work with? Would you rather work alone or with a group?

What type of work do you find satisfying? What level of education are you willing to commit to? What are your salary expectations?

5. What have you been drawn to in the past?

Think about what you were drawn to as a child. More recently, what were your favorite aspects of past jobs?


The first step of finding a career area is realizing who you are. Imagine your possible lives – what are you doing? How clear is this image as your future reality? Visualization can help to sort out the rocks from the gems. Sitting down, asking yourself some personal questions, and giving honest answers can be a powerful tool for planning your next professional move. Happy brainstorming!

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