“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Many of us are well into adulthood and still have no idea. Figuring out the perfect career for you takes a lot more than an aptitude test. A career is an investment in yourself; the career path you choose will influence the rest of your life in countless ways.

Whether you’re just entering the workforce or are looking for a change, here are four tips to help you find what you were truly meant to do.

Follow Your Passions

They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Write down a list of your favorite hobbies. What could you do for hours and hours on end without getting bored? Turning to your interests can be a big source of inspiration when it comes to choosing a career.

For example, if you love reading, why not consider jobs in writing or the publishing industry? There are far more options out there besides just penning a novel and hoping it becomes a bestseller. You could become a ghostwriter, content writer or journalist, just to name a few.

Consider Your Education

Not everyone has the time or money to go to college. Some people just don’t want to spend four or more years earning a degree. You don’t need a degree to make a decent living, but you should pick a field and earn some type of certification to boost your credentials.

There are many career qualifications you can earn in less than two years, such as a licensed nurse practitioner (LPN). Explore all of your options. Check out the programs at your local vocational schools, community colleges and online programs to get a better understanding of what’s out there.

Check Local Job Listings

You have no idea what you want to do, so why not look at what’s currently available? Look for job postings on sites like Monster or LinkedIn to see what opportunities are available in your area. Reading job descriptions, responsibilities and requirements can help you understand what you do and don’t want to do for a living. You may find that one particular title or company catches your attention and start building your skills and resume from there.

Apply for Internships

Internships in fields you’re interested in are a great way to get a feel for a certain career path without a long-term commitment. You aren’t trapped in a job you hate with an internship, but you always walk away with valuable experience and references that can help you later.

It’s natural to want to ask others what the right job for us would be, but it’s important to leave the final decision to you and you alone. It doesn’t matter what your parents, friends or anyone else wants you to be. You have to work in your chosen industry for the rest of your life, so make sure it’s something you actually want to be doing. Explore the medical field. Go to accounting school. Follow your dream to become a teacher. Do what feels right for you!

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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