The pressure to find the right career path

One of the hardest things that college students must do is choose a career path. There are so many options, and there is a lot of pressure to ensure that you are making the right choice for you. Many people feel like this decision is something that they can’t go back on after a certain point, which is why choosing a career tends to make people so anxious. If you’re not sure which direction your career should go in, you’re thinking about making a career change, or you just want to feel more fulfilled in your career, these ten tips might help.

Ideally, everyone would know their true calling early in life and find happiness in their work, but it often doesn’t work that way. We all want to enjoy and like our careers. Perhaps the biggest sign you’re on the wrong path is if you dread talking about your job. While passion isn’t the only requirement for being content in your career, many would say it’s still essential, if only because passion is what keeps you going even through the tough times. Is there a job you would do the job for free?

Maybe you don’t feel that passionate about any specific career—or you love multiple areas and can’t decide on just one. Then it’s time to think about your personality and focus on the skills you have. Career assessment tests in college or even high school help narrow down a field but if it’s been a while since you took those tests, there are other kinds of assessment tests you can take.

If you have flexibility when it comes to salary, an internship could be a great way to test out an industry or type of career—and eventually get a full-time job (especially if you have no prior experience). Even if it doesn’t turn into a job or you find out it’s the wrong career for you, an internship can help build your network—from which you can get career and job advice.

If there’s a career you’re interested in, you might also check to see if any companies or people in that line of work would let you shadow them for a few days to see what it’s really like.Perhaps the best way to discover a new career is to ask other people about theirs—assuming you meet people who don’t all work in the same field. Your LinkedIn network (or other social media sites, but especially LinkedIn) might be a good place to start taking out information. Of course, all these plans and ideas are never set in stone. Your career is a long-winded road, not a short race and it can turn out to be a very zigzagging road indeed, woven together from all your experiences into, hopefully, a career worth having.