How to Make a Career Choice

Anthony M. Wanjohi:

Career choice entails making decision about what one wants to do with his/her life that is, in terms of occupation. There are hundreds of career options out there. How do you make a career choice when you don’t really know what you want to do? Does it seem like a BIG task. Yes, it can be for a many at many times! This article briefly explores the key steps that students should consider when making a career choice.


Making Career Assessment

Before making a career choice, one should learn about him/herself. Some people choose to have career counselors or other career development professionals administer some self assessment tests. There are also self assessment tests available in the internet. One can search using GOOGLE search Engine.


When you go for career assessment with the help of a career counselor, remember that assessments are primarily used to guide you towards the right career. You can take number of free career assessments available on internet. However, it is recommended to go through the process with the help of a qualified career counselor who will administer and interpret your scores of the assessments.


Overly relying on assessment test is not really a wise decision. Keep your expectations in check. Assessment tests often suggest you some new career avenues that you had never thought of. Try to have a career snapshot of different assessment tests. This will help you in finding some definite patterns.


Making a List of Occupations to Explore

  • Look over the lists of occupations generated through your use of the self assessment tools.
  • Come up with a much shorter list, consisting of between 5 – 10 occupations.
  • Circle occupations that you qualify mostly depending on your strengths (for instance based on your Form Four Performance in various subjects ).
  • Write these occupations down on a separate list titled “Occupations to Explore.
  • Explore the Occupations on Your List
  • For each occupation on your list, look at the job description, educational and other requirements, advancement opportunities, and earnings.


Gathering Relevant Information about Intended Career

  • At this point you should only have a few occupations left on your list.
  • Gather more information about these occupation from career counselors or people who have firsthand knowledge of the occupations in which you are interested. Identify who they are and conduct informational interviews with them.
  • Continue Narrowing Down your List. Put down your list of possible occupations based on what you learned from your research. For example, you may not be willing to put the time and energy into preparing for an occupation for which an advanced degree is required, or you may consider the earnings for a particular occupation inadequate.


Setting up Career Action Plan

  • Make career plan on how to go about acquiring the occupation you identified.
  • If the occupation requires a certificate, or a diploma or a degree, then plan how to go about it!
  • Seek the necessary resources (financial, physical, human) that you may need to meet your career goal.



To reach to choice and / or decision-making stage takes time and effort. It requires not only personal effort but reinforcement from others. Thus making choice for life is an endeavor that takes the effort of various ‘stakeholders’ in one’s life. These include professionals, parents, teachers and friends.