Man’s primary needs include food, shelter and clothing. Your career is, however, the bedrock of these three needs. There is no way you can sustain yourself and your family with these basic needs without a reliable career. Here is where the need to find and choose the right career arises.
Choosing and Building a Successful Career
A career is a lifelong occupation that every average Nigerian should aspire to have, regardless of the other income streams you may have. Because when all these streams of income fail you, what will you fall back on? Of course, that meticulously chosen career!
As you decide about the right career for you, be sure that it is something on which you can always rely. When choosing a career, be wise and very picky. Your future pays the price, once you pursue the wrong career based on a faulty decision.
Building a successful career requires a strategic decision-making process. To be safe, you must not omit any of these required processes. A lot of people live with an undesirable career path because they didn’t go through the right process to choose a career. Usually, they end up diversifying and trying many different things in an attempt to find the right career. These kinds of people may experience depression and discontentment which would not only affect their current career but also other aspects of their life.
To avoid these experiences, you mustn’t be ignorant of the process required to choose the right career for yourself. This article will be an eye-opener for you as you will learn some career discovery and selection steps, as well as, developing the right mindset during the process.
8 Major Steps to Choose the Right Career as a Nigerian
Carry out a self-assessment test
No one knows your capabilities better than you. That is if you spend ample time with yourself. If you haven’t been allocating time to yourself, then start now. Get a notepad dedicated to the process of choosing the right career. Study and analyze what your strengths and weaknesses are, and put them down in your notepad. You will need these specifications as you compare the requirements for a particular career path.
A self-assessment test shouldn’t necessarily take place online, though it can be a good place to start. You can test yourself perfectly by asking some direct and challenging questions. Some examples of these questions and their typical answers include:
- What are your interests? Sample Answer: Writing, technology, health, artworks, photography, teaching, catering.
- What are your hobbies? Sample Answer: Singing, designing, teaching, dancing, cooking.
- Which work environment do you prefer? Sample Answer: Office settlement, private shop, supermarket, outdoor, work-from-home.
- What values do you possess? Sample Answer: Independence, financial stability, accountability.
- What is your personality like? Sample Answer: Loyal, quiet, humble, outgoing, outspoken.
- Do you have any soft skills or technical skills? Sample Answer: Effective time management, problem-solving, planning, confidence, communication, public speaking, etc.
Make a list of jobs to explore
After carrying out a self-assessment test, the next step is making a list of jobs to explore. How do you do this?
Answering the questions above should have given you a sense of direction when you want to choose a career. From your skills, personality and interests, it’ll be easier to cancel out certain jobs because the responsibilities don’t resonate with you.
Your list might include a combination of unrelated job titles probably because what you studied in the university is different from the first job opportunity you had after school or the vocational skill you learnt is different from the technical skills that interest you. You could have graphics/fashion designer, lawyer, actor, and artist on the same list. That’s completely normal. If you follow this process to the end, you’ll learn how to narrow down to a specific path and pursue that career. Besides, you can also choose more than one line of job and make a career out of it.
Figure out the qualifications you need
After you’ve made the list, inspect your careers of interest and note down anything you need to learn or improve. At times, all you need is just a mentor to guide you with inside knowledge on your chosen career path. The fact that you did not enrol in a university doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer. It is a pity most Nigerians think this way. You don’t need university experience before you can have the desire to choose a career. You definitely don’t need a degree before you can choose the right career.
Formal education is a good foundation, but the absence of it is not the inability to improve one’s skills and learn something new.
Perhaps you intend to become a graphic designer, a graphic designer friend can put you through. You can also take some online courses related to the field and build on what your friend or mentor has provided. To pursue a career in law, you need to obtain at least a bachelor degree in law after high school. You can’t learn this from a friend. Careers like pharmacy, medical doctor, accountant, and a few others, also operate this way.
Bottom line is, figure out exactly what you need to succeed in that career and make a decision to acquire the necessities.
Get the necessary training and update your resumé
Once you’ve listed the required qualifications you need to pursue the career options you have, endeavour to get trained. You can get the training for most professional courses in colleges, polytechnics, or universities.
If you want to be a teacher, enrol in an institution that is strictly for education (college of education). You can as well start taking home lessons for a select number of students, depending on your level of education. If you’re looking to choose a career in the technical world, your best bet is online learning platforms. There’s a lot of courses available for different levels of learners.
The next step after getting some experience and possibly a certificate is to write your resumé or curriculum vitae (CV). Use an orderly, standard and professional format to write this as it will be the first impression of you when you start applying for jobs.
Make a research on employers in your niche
Most employers in the same field usually tender the same specifications to get the services of employees. But it might be different in most cases, this is why you should be vast in making research. Some employers might require you to have some distinguished comportment or level of experience before they can consider you for a job. Now, how can you do your research?
Start by asking your senior colleagues who are already employed. Apply for an internship whether it’s paid or not. For instance, as an accounting student, start making research during your period in school. Once you identify a bank’s wants, you will be able to satisfy them with your resumé partially if not completely. Doing this will prepare you for your career since you’ll learn among professionals and become familiar with the working conditions.
Consider your location
A career that works well for an American might be otherwise for a Nigerian. It is therefore necessary to consider your location as you choose a career. Some careers in the health field, e.g. pharmacy, medicine, nursing; and commercial field, e.g. accounting, and business administration, are in high demand in all countries. Others have a higher demand in specific countries, like the need for technological skills is rising exponentially in Nigeria. Also, the extent to which you can practice would be limited to the resources in your location.
When you choose a career in any of these fields, make sure you have the right level of expectations or at least, have a plan to migrate when the opportunity presents itself. Make the necessary research to be aware of how your careers of interest work in your country.
Search and apply for jobs or create a job
One of the reasons behind every smile of a career man/woman is the avenue to do what he/she loves doing. Having carefully considered all the criteria and doing the necessary research to choose the right career path, applying for jobs is the next step. Even if your goal is to have an empire to your name, starting with a less-encompassing job is a good place to start.
For some careers, you may not need to apply for a job. We live in a job creation era. As a business administrator, a little capital can get you a job for a start. You can start small as a trader and before you know it, you are already running a large-scale business.
Keep learning to manage your career well
The fastest way to lose track of your career is to stop learning about it. Learning, they say, never ends. Hence, keep improving that knowledge you have in your field, and broaden your niche. You can even opt to study overseas to explore and learn new things. Another way to keep learning is to go get a masters degree or doctorate in your field.
Read also: Tips to choosing a new career path
Aside from all the highlighted steps you need to choose the right career, there are a few more things you’d need on this journey. Shall we?
5 Important Mindsets You Need for a Successful Career
Prioritize your passion
In everything you do, always let your passion come first. If you don’t like what you want to do, you don’t need to peep into the future before you know it won’t turn out well. There are some times when your career might exhaust you. So, what do you think can keep you back on track? Of course, your passion!
Most people are depressed nowadays not because they are not well-off but because they don’t love what they do. They probably chose their careers based on some speculations or people’s opinions and later realize the career isn’t meant for them. So, they ended up feeling depressed. I’m sure you won’t want to be in their shoes if you aim for success in your career. Thus, prioritize your passion, friend!
Believe that nothing is impossible
The belief that nothing is impossible is a growth mindset that you should try to imbibe. If you want to succeed as a career man or woman, you need something to keep you moving. That something is words of motivation, encouragement, and assurance. Once you have all these, you will find it easy to attain great heights and pursue your ambitions during your career journey. Hence, nothing is impossible is a primary mindset you should have as you choose a career.
Always show yourself some gratitude
One of the best ways to motivate yourself is by making yourself happy at times. Celebrate your little wins so you can be energized to win more.
Most people never show themselves gratitude after accomplishing a particular feat or task. Those people are the ones that are never satisfied with their abilities. Due to this, their career is likely to crumble. Therefore, emulate the attitude of appreciating yourself in everything you do. It is one of the mindsets that can help you sustain a strong career.
For every action or step, you take, be ready to face the consequences. Take responsibility for everything you do; this is accountability.
Accountability is not a form of self-cheat as some see it. It is a style of self-discipline. Being able to challenge yourself after you do something you shouldn’t have done, makes you more disciplined. It can contribute to your career success in a lot of ways.
For example, if you want to swap your career with something else at some point, it is only the accountability mindset that can help you. This means that irrespective of what the consequences of your actions are and what they might cost you, you are ready to face them.
In every step, you take towards the development of your career, say no to procrastination. You can always start anything at any time if you are the type that doesn’t procrastinate. The most successful career men in the world won’t find themselves where they are now if they allow the spirit of procrastination to take over.
Always remind yourself each day that, “the time is now.” You don’t need to postpone your Master’s degree till next year when you can do it this year. Those piled-up tasks, why not do it now? Scare off procrastination and embrace the bliss of your career.
Dear readers, how was the career expository piece? You can drop your thoughts in the comments section. Or if you’ll feel better discussing with a group of Nigerians in a similar stage as you on your career discovery journey, join the insights WhatsApp community to interact.