I don’t know what job I want?

Career planning plays a crucial part in one’s life as a career occupies a significant portion of a person’s adulthood and it is the main source of income for most people. Proper career planning will lead you in the right direction to achieve progress and fulfillment in your professional life. Some people are very sure of the career path they want to pursue from a young age, but many people are not sure about which job would suit them, especially given the huge variety of jobs in the 21st-century workforce. Furthermore, people who have degrees that can lead to multiple career paths would also find it difficult to narrow down on a job. These people should take a systematic approach and research different types of jobs so that they would find a job that suits their personality, moral values, and skillset. Let us know “I don’t know what job I want?”.

I don’t know what job I want?

Types Of Career Decision Making Methods

According to Michigan State University, there are two distinct methods of exploring careers. The two methods are explained in detail below.

The first method is called self-exploration. It involves just you and you need to think about your likes and dislikes, the moral values which are important to you, your goals in life, and your previous work experiences. This method might require you to take online personality tests and career suitability tests to assess yourself. This method will help you to identify the jobs where you will thrive and rule out the jobs which do not suit you. This will help you to narrow down your job search.

The second method is Environmental exploration. This method requires you to interact with working professionals and conduct research. You need to be proactive in researching the requirements and the duties of different jobs, companies, and fields. Furthermore, you will also need to do some internships and attend seminars, training, networking events, and career fairs to gain insights into various jobs. This will help you to obtain the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your career.

Steps To Find A Career That Suits You

Taking a systematic approach to finding a suitable career for you would prove to be beneficial in the long run both in terms of financial gains and fulfillment you derive from your career. As such you should follow the steps below one by one.

Step 1: Write down the skills and educational qualifications you have along with the issues you are passionate about, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Also, list any accomplishments or important work experiences you have.

This step is important as it allows you to reflect on your education, past experiences, and achievements and identify the areas your talents are in. You should write both your soft and hard skills. Soft skills are skills such as time-management, confidence, communication skills, leadership skills, and being responsible. Hard skills are technical skills such as programming skills, math skills, and computer skills. Furthermore, ensure that you state your proficiency level in the skills next to them.

Step 2: Based on your educational background, strengths, and past experiences, write down some job titles which you feel might suit you.

This step helps you to logically analyze and determine the career pathways that you qualify for. For example, if you have obtained a degree in English, you have several career paths open to you such as becoming a teacher, a writer, a professor, a reporter, and a communications officer. However, if you have obtained a degree in a specialized field such as Mechanical engineering, the number of career paths available to you might be smaller.

Furthermore, if you have done an internship and you felt that the job excites and fulfills you, then list that down to be explored further in the later steps. On top of that, you should list down jobs that utilize your strengths. For example, if you have been part of the event organization committee at your school and you were very good at it, then you should list down event planning as a possible career choice.

On top of that, you should factor in the issues you are passionate about. For example, if you are passionate about saving the environment, then you should consider a job that lets you contribute to that cause through your work.

Step 3: Based on your weaknesses and past experiences, rule out some career choices.

This step will help you to narrow down the number of career pathways. For example, you have previously done an internship at a law firm, and you had found the job to be too tedious and uninspiring. Then, you should rule out the career path of becoming a lawyer or job positions dealing with legal work in this step as you know from experience that you don’t enjoy this type of work.

Step 4: Assess yourself by taking some online career-aptitude tests and MBTI Profile test

This step will let you get a second opinion on the self-assessment you have done in the previous steps. There are several free online career-aptitude tests that you can take any time you want.  Some examples of these tests are Princeton Review Career Quiz, Truity Career tests, and Sokanu Career test. The results from these tests will provide you with a list of possible career choices suitable for you.

Furthermore, you can choose to take the MBTI test to determine which personality type best fits you out of 16 personality types. After completing the test, you will get your dominant personality profile as well as career recommendations for that personality type. Mark those jobs in the list that overlap with the potential jobs you have written down in the previous steps. These jobs have a strong potential for becoming your future career. Add any new jobs you have discovered through these tests that seem suitable for you. Eliminate the jobs in the list which you have previously ruled out in step 3.

Step 5: Talk with working professionals in the fields you have narrowed down by step 4.

This step will allow you to get valuable insider information on what the job is like, its advantages and disadvantages. This will help you make a better decision regarding your career because you are more informed. Additionally, this step would let you have a glimpse of the job without having to waste your time by trying an internship in that job position.

It would be best to ask professionals who are your family members or friends as they would be aware of your educational background, strengths, and weaknesses. As such, they can give you more relevant information and they are in a good position to comment on whether a job position and the culture of the company suits you or not. 

Based on the insights you have gained in this step, narrow the list of career possibilities further.

Step 6: Apply for internships and research on the chosen jobs

This step is crucial to nail down the job which is the best fit for you. As such, apply for internships for all the remaining job posts on your list. These internships would let you get a feel of how working in that position full time would feel like. If internships are not available for a job, then find courses and training related to the job and try them instead. Additionally, do research online about the advantages and disadvantages of each job and record them in a table format.

Based on the experiences from these internships and the findings from the research you have done, further, narrow down the list of jobs you have made.

Step 7: Research on the job requirements of the job posts left in your list

You should look through all job openings in these positions in the area you want to work in. Ensure that you possess all the skills that are required of you to get the job. If you need to master a weak skill or learn new skills, consider taking online courses or getting a relevant degree. 

If your current educational background does not allow you to qualify for the career pathway that is suitable for you, consider obtaining another degree that is relevant to the job. Don’t settle for a job you don’t like just because it is the only one that you currently qualify for. Try to upskill yourself so that you will be in a better position to get the job you want.

Reasons which you should not base your career decision upon

It is human nature to sometimes make hasty decisions. The following are some reasons you should not be used to support your career choice.

  1. My best friend is working in that job so I should also apply for a similar post so that we will work in the same field.

Just because you are best friends doesn’t mean you have the same personality types. Hence, a job which is suitable for your best friend might not suit you very well.

  1. The job has a high salary, and it offers good incentives, security, and respect in society.

You should not choose a job just based on the salary and the perks it offers because a job is more than just about earning money. Keep in mind that you must work in that job for the entire contract period you sign at the start. So, if you do not enjoy the work, you will have a tough and miserable work life. No number of perks and respect you get will keep you happy if you hate the job. This will affect your personal life negatively too, which is not worth the high salary you get. As such, you should put more emphasis on whether you like the job rather than the salary and benefits offered.

  1. My close family members strongly feel that this job will suit me.

Though your family members know you to an extent and they can offer you valuable career advice if they are working professionals, they might not be the best judge of what job suits you. You are the best judge of a good job for you because you know yourself well and you are the one who will be doing the job. As such, don’t choose a job solely based on the opinions of your family members.

  1. The job seems easy, and I don’t mind doing it.

Initially, it may seem great to do a job that feels easy to you. However, there is a big possibility of you getting bored of the job as time progresses because it is not challenging and stimulating you. This is especially the case for dead-end jobs with no career progression and growth. After some time, you might regret joining such a job because there is no room for you to learn something new and achieve progress in your job. As such do not pick a job just because it seems easy to do.

How To Search For Jobs To Switch Careers If You are Unhappy With Your Current Job?

It might be daunting to switch to a different career when you have worked in your current job for a few years. Although switching careers is a tedious process, it has been done by many people. As such, you should not give up by thinking about the difficulty and instead work towards it gradually. You can do this by following the following steps.

Step 1: Use either or both methods of career decision-making to identify potential job fields to switch to.

Since switching your career is not an easy task, you must carefully decide on which career you want to shift to from your current job.  Also, find out the required skills for the job.

Step 2: Learn or improve on the skills identifies in step 1.

Your chances of landing a job in the career you want to shift to will increase significantly if you can show employers that you are proficient in the skills they are looking for.

Step 3: Ensure that you have enough money saved up to fund your transition.

Since you would potentially shift to an entry-level job in the field you desire that would pay you a lower salary than your current job, you need to have enough money for emergencies and other unexpected expenses. Do not quit your current job until you have saved enough money for your transition.

Step 4: Be active on networking sites online and attend physical networking events

Networking is a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry you are trying to get into because you get to interact with recruiters and other important professionals in networking events. Furthermore, a strong recommendation would put you ahead of your competitors for the job.

High Paying Jobs Which Do Not Require A Specific Degree

Jobs that do not require a specific degree are jobs you can pursue if you don’t want to pursue the jobs related to the degree you have obtained. These jobs are also easy to switch to if you are interested in switching from an existing career. Examples of these types of jobs are listed below.

  1. Computer Security Analyst

You can qualify for this job with any technical degree. You just need to master skills such as computer and programming skills to make your application stronger.

  1. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

This job involves you taking ultrasound images of patients under the supervision of a physician. Although traditionally this job requires a degree in Sonography, nowadays you just need a one-year certified course to qualify for this job.

  1. Service Delivery Analyst

In this job, you are responsible for ensuring that the customer service is great. Your work would involve analyzing the quality of delivery of goods and services to customers and coming up with ways to improve it. This job does not require a four-year degree and you can easily qualify for this job by taking some online courses and mastering computer skills.

  1. Computer Programmer

As a computer programmer, your responsibilities would be to write and test computer codes in computer languages such as C programming and Java. You only need a degree in any technical field to qualify for this job in most companies. Additionally, some companies even offer this job to people without a degree if they have certifications in programming skills and they have previous relevant work experience.

  1. Database Manager

As a database manager, your job involves storing and organizing the company’s information using data systems. Database managers are required in many fields as such the number of job openings for this role is high. You can qualify for this job if you are proficient in database languages such as Structures Query Language (SQL).

Career Goals

Career goals are the things you would like to achieve in your professional capacity in the future. An example of a career goal is to get a promotion in the next six months. However, if you are asked about your career goals in a job interview, you should ensure that the goals you talk about meet the following criteria.

  • Your career goals should match the company’s vision and goals.
  • The scope of the job you are applying for should enable you to achieve your career goals

An example of a career goal for a job in Civil Engineering: As a student, I enjoyed designing buildings plans which are aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound at the same time. I would like to use these skills in this job to create building plans while working at this construction company. Furthermore, I was a student leader at my university, and I would like to further develop my leadership skills at this job and eventually be able to lead a team at this company.

This is a good example that matches the criteria above as the person clearly shows how the skills he or she has learned can be transferred to this job and how he or she plans to achieve the career goals in the company.


In a nutshell, deciding on a career path is a crucial life decision that should be carefully done using an orderly approach rather than rushing it or deciding randomly. You should not despair because you are unsure about what job you want to do whereas some of your friends have known what their career would be since they were children. You should instead believe in yourself and spend time researching and completing the necessary steps to successfully decide on a good job position for yourself. This will help you to lead a meaningful and fulfilled professional life.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What can I do as a high school student to plan my career for the future?

It is good to start thinking about your career options while you are in high school so that you can pick the right degree and internships to pursue. As a high school student, there are several things you can do to identify potential careers.  You can attend career talks at your school where different working professionals come to talk about their jobs. You can also take online courses and internships during your holidays to get a feel of how the job would be like. 

Once you have identified some jobs that interest you, you should find out the educational qualifications required for them. You should then find out which subjects you need to take at school to pursue the required degrees from your teachers.

  1. Is salary an important factor in deciding on a career?

Salary is undoubtedly an important part of a job. A high salary will allow you and your family to live comfortably and have sufficient savings for the future. A high salary would also make your educational qualifications and your work worth it. However, many working adults feel that job satisfaction is a bigger factor than the salary of the job. As such you should choose a job which can balance your expectations both in terms of salary and fulfillment in the job.

I don’t know what job I want?

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