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Deciding on a career is one of the toughest and most important decisions we all have to make, and with so many choices these days it’s becoming difficult to know which one is right for you. Here are a few tips on how you can go about choosing a career that you will enjoy and use your many talents at the same time:

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
In one of philosopher Alan Watts’ famous speeches he poses the questions, “What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of situation would you like?” These are important questions you should ask yourself before choosing a career. If you’re doing something you’re not interested in, you’re going to end up very miserable at work. It doesn’t mean you’re going to love every single moment of your working life, but liking what you do will help a great deal. So make a list of everything you’re passionate about, then start there.

What are your hobbies?
Sometimes it’s difficult for us to pinpoint exactly what it is that we’re passionate about. If this is the case, then make a list of your hobbies. Your hobbies can say a great deal about what interests you, because you do it in your spare time and usually just for yourself, and not for money.

List your skills
What are you good at? Are you good at working with your hands, building things, fixing things, or do you have a knack for numbers and Pi means more to you than just what you’re having after dinner. We all have a unique set of skills, so make a list of yours and don’t be shy about what you’re good at, because it’s not about bragging, it’s about having confidence in your own ability.

Think about your personality
What kind of person are you? Are you an extravert who likes nothing more than being surrounded by lots of people, chatting away and having a good time? Or are you more a pizza on the couch with a movie kind of person? No matter what kind of person you are, certain careers are more suited to certain kinds of personalities. For example, if you have a big personality who simply can’t sit still or go for long periods of time without having people around you, then becoming a writer is probably not for you.

How well did you do at school?
While it’s not the begin-all and end-all, doing well in certain subjects at school will give you a good indication of what you’re good at, regardless of whether you were top of your class or not. Make a list of subjects you enjoyed and/or did well at school, then look at what fields you can study at a university or college.

Talk to someone
The best career for you might be right under your nose, but you’re looking so hard in other places that you maybe fail to see it. If your friends tell you you’d be great at sales or finance it’s worth considering, because they know you and your personality and often see your potential where you might not.

Eye on the prize
Choose something related to what you think might be your dream career so you can build skills and gain experience. Even if it’s not directly what you want to do, study or do something that will eventually lead there. If you want to run a hotel one day, start working at a bar or restaurant, or dry cleaning business, anything to do with hotels, as long as you’re working your way towards achieving your dream career, do that. Choose something related to your career to build the skills necessary.

Be realistic
Finally, be realistic in your expectations of a career. While there’s nothing stopping you from becoming the commander of the first manned mission to Mars, if you suffer from motion sickness every time you get into a taxi, an astronaut is probably a career choice you should scratch off your list.

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