The biggest dilemma faced by students and fresh graduates in this current economy is what career path to choose. Rightfully so, because this one decision you make influences how successful you are in your career.. While it is true that what career path you choose largely influences your professional future, the decision-making process is not as difficult as it is made out to be.
If you are currently struggling to decide which direction to head in, know that you are not alone. There are a lot of factors that can be taken into consideration when making such a huge decision, regardless of where you already are in your career. To help make things easy for you, here are some initial steps you need to take.
The Hedgehog Principle
Jim Collins, an American Author and an expert in business management, company sustainability and growth, came up with a very simple process that should help you determine which career is right for you. This principle is called the Hedgehog principle. Here’s how it works.
This structure states that when you consider the above three influencing factors while choosing a career, it can help you find a path that is emotionally and financially rewarding for you. Let’s understand these prime factors in detail.
- What you are good at
This is the first thing you should consider when choosing the right career for you. Using your skills and talents to your advantage will not only help you land the right job for you, but it will also ensure a lot of growth in a shorter amount of time as compared to if you constantly need to be trained for it.
- What you enjoy
When selecting a career path, it is important to pick something that you would enjoy doing in the long term because it is likely that you would want to work and grow in the same field.. There is no point in choosing a career because it pays well, and being miserable because you would rather spend your time doing something you truly enjoy.
- What pays well
Most students who are wondering how to choose a career are mainly looking for a career that pays them well for the work they do. Sometimes, it may even be your first priority followed by whether or not it is something you enjoy or it is something you are qualified for. If certain short courses or certifications will help you get a higher salary, then pursue them! Your ideal career should not only compensate you well for your time and skills but should also offer opportunities to keep growing your earning potential as you gain more experience.
Steps to be taken to find out what field is right for you
Now that we know what to look for when researching job profiles and career paths, let’s take a look at some actionable steps that you can take to help you have more clarity on your skills and weaknesses and lead you to the right resources and opportunities.
Find out what field EXCITES you the most
While it can be quite tempting to look at the most well-paying job options in your specific field and start venturing towards that career path, it will not always be rewarding for you. The right choice of profession should always be something that you truly enjoy doing. Not something that pays well, not something that everyone else expects you to do. Because while the latter might help you make a safe choice and keep you getting a normal paycheck every month, it is quite likely that you’ll be bored of it at the end of a month or a year if you don’t enjoy it. So sit down and make a list of things that you truly enjoy doing and what you would love to do every single day without it becoming a chore.
Take Aptitude Tests
Due to a variety of trending professions and career options these days, most of us tend to get swayed into a direction that might not be right for us. Luckily for you, many students are stuck in the same situation. So to help you narrow down your options, there are many aptitude tests and career counselling workshops that you can take to help you understand your area of interest and specialisation. For example, if you are a commerce graduate and you are interested in accounting as well as finance, an aptitude test can help you understand what you are more likely to succeed at based on your skills. Then, when your test analysis shows that your skills lean more towards Finance, you can start exploring options like CFA or FRM.
Sort out your prioritiesThe process of choosing a career path varies from person to person because each individual wants something different from their job. For example, if you choose to work in the field of Finance and you chose to pursue CFA, there are several career paths such as Financial Management, Investment banking, and Hedge Fund Management for you to choose from. However, when you have decided that you want to earn a higher salary as compared to a regular finance graduate, you will be easily able to decide that pursuing an additional course such as an MBA might be better suited to your priorities. If your priority is to be able to work in the field of accounting in other countries aside from India, then you will know that ACCA or US CPA is a better option as compared to the Indian CA. Be sure to check out our US CPA course if you are interested.
Research and learn about your choices
Once you have sorted out your priorities, it’s time to fire up that computer and start researching. The biggest mistake students do in such situations is relying on what their friends are doing or what their parents are advising them to do. While these suggestions might be great, it is better to do your research and have some statistics to back up your final decision. Look at all the available career options based on your priorities, find out what skills are needed and what is something that you still need to work on to be eligible for your dream career. It also helps to look at other successful people in the same field as you and understand their journey and timeline. Nowadays, it has become very easy to reach out to mentors and leaders with the help of platforms like LinkedIn. Use these platforms, talk to experts and make sure you have all the information on what you need to be truly ready.
Your work experience matters too
You have heard it many times before, but let us say it again for good measure. While it is crucial to do well in your academics to secure a successful career, it is equally important to have some hands-on experience in the field you plan to work in. Nothing beats a resume with significant time spent doing internships and the necessary leg-work. Make a point to find GOOD and VALUABLE internship opportunities while you are still studying and don’t be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS. Let’s use our previous example of working in finance. No matter how well you do in your academics or how much you scored in your CFA exams, the best and most effective way to understand the financial markets is to work among other finance professionals and get first-hand knowledge about market trends.
Choosing the right career path is one of the most important decisions to be made in one’s professional life. If you are an accounting and finance professional and would like to pursue a globally accepted career path, you might want to consider pursuing ACCA. Check out our ACCA course for more details. You can also reach out to our experts to have some more guidance on how to choose the right career in finance and accounting.
What are some high paying job profiles in the finance sector?
In finance, profiles such as that of an Investment Banker or a Hedge Fund Manager are known to offer impressive salaries. You can pursue courses like CFA, CFP or MBA in Finance to be eligible for these profiles.
What is better? ACCA or US CPA?
This depends on what kind of companies you want to work for. The US CPA is better suited for those who want to work in US-based companies or eventually want to work in the US or Canada. ACCA is a global accountancy qualification that is excepted in over 180 countries including the UK, Singapore and the UAE. If you wish to work in any of these countries, then ACCA might be the right fit.
When should you start planning for your career?
Ideally, it is best to start thinking about your career path right after graduation. However, even if you are currently working, it is still not too late to start making a plan on how you can proceed forward and achieve the most success.