How to choose your career (and leave yourself room to change later on)

If you're trying to decide on your dream career, you probably fall into one of two camps:

1) You want to find a perfect career that will last you a lifetime.

2) You want to fill your life with things you love and experience as much of life as you can.

If you're in camp 1, your process to deciding your dream career will be a little different to camp 2. You'll want to spend as much time as possible researching careers and the opportunities they offer for development.

You don't just want to be considering the first job you're going to do, but also what you can be doing in that field in 30 years time. You'll want to test out those roles that lie further down the line before you make the commitment (especially if they require a big investment to get qualified.)

On the other hand, if you're in camp 2 you'll want your next job to be one that paves the way for an exciting and varied career.

You'll need to focus on finding jobs that allow you to both use your strengths everyday AND give you the opportunity to develop  transferable skills for future roles.

Doing this will help you in two ways:

1) You'll get invaluable experience using your strengths (which is perfect because you should always choose a job that uses them.)

2) You'll have a strong set of transferable  skills to take with you to your next role. This will give you a versatile starting ground for your career. It'll make it easier for you to change careers and between industries when you want to.

Here are some essential transferable skills that you'll want to develop:

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Written communication
  • Presentation skills
  • Negotiation
  • Problem solving
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Time management

To get an idea of which ones you need to focus on, rate yourself out of 5 for each. 1 means you find it hard, 5 means you're great at it. Then focus on developing the ones with the lowest ratings.

So there you go!  If you're looking for a versatile and effective place to start your dream career (with room to change later on) look for a job that:

  • Uses your strengths
  • Allows you to develop transferable skills