7. Are there jobs available?
It’s important to research the labor market for careers you’re considering. You can research the labor market both globally (the number of jobs anywhere) and locally (the number of jobs where you live or intend to live). While the labor market shouldn’t definitively determine your direction, it’s important to know your prospects before entering a profession. Nobody wants to go through years of school only to find out there’s no job waiting for them on the other end!
8. What are your salary needs?
Salary doesn’t have to be the first consideration when selecting a career, but it should be a factor. If making a lot of money is important to you, your options will be more limited (plus, you’ll likely need more qualifications for higher-paying jobs). Some of the professions you’re interested in may involve very limited financial reward. It’s good to know that going in so you can make an informed decision.
9. Where do you want to live?
The labor market for particular occupations varies depending on location. For example, if you want to be a park ranger or agriculturalist, you’ll probably need to live in a rural area. But if you want to go into finance or law, you’ll probably need to live in an urban center. Telecommuting jobs can allow you to live virtually anywhere. Other jobs may demand that you spend a lot of time traveling. It’s important to be happy with where you live and have a lifestyle that works for you, so give some thought to your future location.
10. Are there opportunities for advancement?
Some jobs offer more upward mobility than others. That means there are opportunities to be promoted or take on additional responsibilities (and make more money). We all know people who seem to be stuck in a rut, their professional lives stalled by a lack of opportunity. It’s often hard in these situations to muster a lot of enthusiasm for work. If you’re someone who’s motivated to grow and challenge yourself, you’ll want a career that allows you to do so.
As you go through these questions, get help from others. Talk to parents, teachers, a guidance counselor if available, or other important adults in your life. Think about the big picture – no single question on this list should determine your choice. Here’s to your career success!