Figuring out what career is right for you can be challenging. There are always plenty of friends and family members that are sure they have the answer. But it’s easy for them (and you) to get caught up in the trap of what you wish that you could do and what’s really right for your skill set. The right career should be one that works to your strengths and engages your passion.
At least since the 90s, it’s been believed that people have different styles in which they learn best: some people learn better visually, some through listening, and others physically. This was believed to explain at least some difficulties in learning, and teachers have been encouraged to change their teaching methods for different students to help those who weren’t keeping up.
Since that time, there have been studies saying that there is no evidence that this is true. However, it’s important to remember that there may have been flaws in the study or that the way a study must be organised means that it is more difficult to research some theories than others. A problem with scientific studies is that they must be set up in a relatively rigid way in order to be able to properly extrapolate results; not all questions can be answered that way.
Despite these contrary studies, most teachers and institutions are still using the concept of different learning styles in their approach to education. Chances are that you know what works best for you personally. Whether your mind truly absorbs material better visually than by listening, if you enjoy one more than the other, you will probably engage more in your classes and get more out of them that allow you to learn that way.
There are a number of different tests you can take to learn more about your personality. Your psychological make-up is a good thing to consider when choosing a career as well, and there are a number of assessment tools which can help you narrow that down. Here are some of the most commonly used personality tests.
From the results of personality tests, you can then take those into consideration when looking at possible careers. For example, if you are an extrovert, you probably don’t want to be stuck in a cubicle by yourself all day. Conversely, if you’re more introverted, you may well prefer a job where you can work on your own, with minimal interaction with others. Choosing a path that fits with your personality is going to ensure that you end up in a situation that suits you.
Other self-assessment tools, such as the Strong Inventory helps you take a look at your interests. This can assist you in further refining the type of education that you want to pursue. It can be easy to go in a certain direction because you’re good at something, but ideally, you want to enjoy it as well.
Choosing your career
Once you’ve determined your learning style and your personality type, you can look at some careers that take those and your interests into consideration. If you’re an introvert that learns visually, then a graphic designer is one option. But if you hate working on a computer or have no artistic ability, then that may not be your best choice.
Of course, it’s also ideal if there is job availability in that career. If you are artistically inclined and equally good with a brush, pencil, or computer, there are going to be more job options in the digital design world than in fine arts. That said, if you love painting, you can also consider majoring in digital design and minoring in fine arts so that you have more flexibility and are still able to follow your passion.
Whether you’re looking at going to college for the first time – or going back to school for a career change– take some time to figure out what fits you. Even if you already have a pretty good idea, it can’t hurt to take advantage of some self-assessment tools to make sure you’re on track. Doing so can help you make the most of your time and money.
Jason Smith did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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