How to choose a profession: Expert Advice

If you’re reading this article, it means that you’ve been faced with one of the most frequent questions in everyone’s life - how to choose a profession? What if you do not really want anything? Or the other way round maybe, you know exactly what you want to become, but you doubt whether it is really your true call? Will your profession be highly paid and in demand? The world is changing rapidly, and so is the need for specialists. In such a fast pace world, it is only natural that some professions become obsolete and others come to take their place.

For many years, the definitive factor focused on while choosing a specific field was the prestige of the profession. As a result, the labor market was oversaturated by 'prestigious' specialists and the payment for their hard work and skills naturally decreased. To avoid mistake of this scenario, how must one choose a profession and what prerequisite knowledge does one need to have to make the right choice? The final call is yours - you can become whoever you want! This is absolutely true and very much possible, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But be warned that you will be faced with many hurdles along your path to success. Imagine yourself, successful in whatever field you wish to pursue. The first hurdle that you face is the most frequent question asked - Do you really want this? What do you know about this profession? Are you sure this lifestyle and job suites you, as a person, perfectly? Are you aware about the hard work needed, time spent, responsibilities undertaken, and training required for this job? If you are well aware about all this, and are willing to pursue it, then maybe you are on the right track. But there is still an element of uncertainty, because this is only a small part of what the profession really is. Therefore, the right move to do here, is to research about the chosen profession. For this purpose, you may opt to go for master classes or volunteer in organizations of the same field. You can also get a 'job' during the holidays in your dream company. Of course, you will not get the position you want right away. But working as an assistant can also help you find what your true speciality is.

If you still have not found your 'ideal' profession and are on the run to find it, then here are a few ways to discover it yourself:

Start searching for your 'profession' in advance, and give this a year and a half at least. In this time span, you will be able to assess and evaluate yourself - your character, spheres of interests and hobbies, determine how much effort you are willing to put into building your career. One thing you should focus on, is the effort and the results you wish to obtain. Never focus only on the financial aspects. Take, for example, the richest people in the world, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. You will understand that they love their profession, have made enormous efforts, spent about 10,000 hours practicing in their professional fields before becoming famous and rich. The theory of 10,000 hours is a separate topic, so let's return to more understandable terms.

The important question to ask yourself is - what appeals to you? Your mind will be filled with many ideas and thoughts, starting from your first dream back in first grade to your latest one recommended and influenced by friends and family. STOP! The question was about YOUR interests! It's up to you to decide who you want to be! The choice of profession is only your business! Therefore, be sure to consider the rules for choosing a profession:

a) Relax and think about what you did last time with excitement and enthusiasm; something that added to your knowledge/skills.

b) If it is difficult to remember such an event, you will have to turn to a limited path (limited to school subjects). Look at your school activities and think about those subjects you were most interested in. In some cases, interest in the subject and academic performance may not coincide.

On the basis of the subjects most interesting to you (or areas of interest), work out a possible list of professions reflecting this knowledge and skills. For example:

  1. You are wondering how different devices work and you periodically disassemble gadgets, only to see and understand how they work - you can consider Engineering.
  2. You like biology, as well as the working of atoms and molecules - add Natural Sciences to the list.
  3. You are inquisitive, sociable, and like to be in the spotlight - Perhaps you are created for the Media industry.
  4. You are a creative person and you love to style/design. You constantly help the class in designing projects and presentations and/or you can draw well - pay attention to the profession in the field of Design.
  5. In the circle of friends you are a "techno-pro" and you are approached when needed help in installing new games and/or you are proficient in computer science. You believe that the digital era is our future - Information Technologies may be the right choice.
  6. Math is your subject and calculator is your friend. The world of numbers is the language in which you are an expert - you have great opportunities and many areas to choose from, including Finance, Accounting, Audit and Business.
  7. You are merciful, you are always approached by those who need moral support. Patience and empathy are your virtues, you like to use these qualities to make the world a better place - Maybe you can be a good Psychologist.

Pay attention to the application and demand for professions, although this is not a main factor. It is better to be proficient in what your ideal profession demands, rather than having knowledge in top-rated professions (you will have much more chances and opportunities to develop yourself in your field of choice than in the mainstream ones).

Another important detail is the location you wish to live in and work. Market demands and the highly paid professions vary from country to country. For example, the most popular and highly paid specialists in Russia in 2018 are IT professionals, engineers,  lawyers, health workers. At the same time in the US in 2018, this listing is lead by the orthodontist. Therefore, this aspect must also be taken into account while determining a profession for yourself.

Have you made a mistake?

If you do not see the importance in bookish knowledge, you barely pass exams, and you have no subject that interests you, then the specialty needs to be changed. It becomes clear to you within the first year of studies. More than 10% of students are either expelled or change their specialisation during the first year. If studies don’t make you happy and does not aid your self-realisation motive, you must make a decision and change your course of flow.

Note for parents!

The main thing that parents need to focus on is, do not try to force your own dreams upon your child.

The main task of parents is to discover and understand abilities of a child, to reveal his/her natural talents and help them find a field where their abilities could be realised and utilised to its maximum potential. 

A profession is not only about education, but also about certain personal qualities. Take a look at the profession first as a whole, and finally end up on the specific functions of the profession. Pay attention to working conditions too. If you believe that these factors are not acceptable/adaptable, your child would feel the disparity between the job demands and own character, leading to stress at work. There are many tests that can help identify your child's interests and inclinations.

Here are a few examples highlighting the scope of activities in accordance with the nature and interests:

  1. Man-nature. The objects of labor are living organisms, plants, animals and biological processes.
  2. Man-technician. The object of labor are technical systems, machines, apparatus and installations, materials and energy.
  3. Man-man. The object of labor in this group of professions is people, groups, collectives.
  4. Man-sign system. Objects are conditional signs, ciphers, codes, tables.
  5. Man-artistic image. The object of work here is artistic images, their roles, elements and features.

Choosing a profession is not an easy task, but it is your decision that will determine your professional career! Approach the choice responsibly and spare enough time and effort to test and experiment with different professions. If you have already decided where to go, you have our sincere wishes to fulfil your dreams and become successful in life.

The right choice of profession is your first and the most important step!

We wish you sincere success in your endeavours!