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5 questions you need to answer before making a career choice

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If you are reading this chances are you are among the candidates who scored a C+ or above in the recently released KCSE results. Congratulations, it’s by no means an easy fete. Once the celebrations recede reality will set in, passing your 0-levels exams was the easiest part. Choosing the right career is a lot more difficult considering there are only a few slots available in our local universities which you have to fight for with thousands others who scored equally good grades. Family members and relatives may have been floating numerous suggestions to you. The following are 5 steps on making the right career choice from the long list of options you have.

1)    What are you passionate about?

In order to identify what you are most passionate about you need to ask yourself the following three important questions. What kind of job would you enjoy doing even without any monetary incentive? What do you feel is your purpose for living? What kind of activity would you engage in every minute you are awake without ever getting bored? There is a great probability you happen to have than one career in mind even after answering the above questions. Write the down and choose the three you are most passionate about.

2)    What is your Personality Type?

Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior. Take an online test to identify you personality from the four major classifications namely; Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic. Can you handle long working hours and stress? Are you patient, slow to anger and caring? Are you comfortable with the sight of blood and people in pure agony? If your answer to these questions is no then you shouldn’t consider pursuing a career in the medical field.

3)    What is the market saying?

Conduct a study of the uptake of your career choice in the market, both prevailing and upcoming trends elsewhere. For this, it’s advisable to enlist the help of a career counselor or a knowledgeable relative. Find out which careers among the three have the greatest future prospects. Remember it takes an average of 4 years to complete undergraduate studies. It will be very disappointing to pick a career that may be so popular right now only for the market to be saturated before you graduate.

If you happen to be a risk-taker, you can choose to pursue a business related course with the aim of going enterprise. If otherwise, pick a ‘grey field’ career. Grey field careers are those which have constant demand for new workforce like engineering and Military.

4)    Do you have a mentor?

Now that your choices have narrowed down further make a point of visiting workplaces that the practicing members are stationed. Interact with experienced personnel and ask questions. Would you enjoy working in such surroundings? Learn the challenges they face, how they mitigate them and the benefits accrued from practicing that profession. Seek their opinion on the most lucrative specializations and request one of them to be your mentor. Keep in touch with your new found mentor regularly updating him/her on your progress. This mentorship will be instrumental when you are seeking internship opportunities.

5)    What is the best institution for your course?

I believe by now you have a clear image on the career you wish to pursue. List down at least five institutions offering the course you want. Find out whether these institutions are recognized by the relevant government agencies and professional bodies. Talk to the alumni of each varsity and learn from their experiences. There are a few scholarships for undergraduate studies hence it’s advisable to choose the institution you can easily afford. Most times the cost of upkeep is higher than the tuition fee. Inquire whether accommodation is offered on campus so you can make your own arrangements if not.

Check whether you meet the minimum requirements for enrollment in these institutions before you send an application.

Don’t worry if the career you wish to pursue is not being offered by the local universities. In the next few weeks there will be myriad career exhibitions by universities from all over the world. Make an effort to attend these exhibitions and interact with the universities representatives. It’s in such forums that you can easily identify an institution abroad that offers what you wish to study at a reasonable cost.

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