Choosing the Right Career

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When you are deciding on a career, there are many things to consider. What kind of career would I like? How much time will education or training for this career take? Will this career still be around in five years?

Here are some ways to help choose the right career for you:

What Kind of Career Would I Like?

The first thing to do when picking a career is to sincerely pray for help. As President Thomas S. Monson counseled in a CES fireside, “We need to pray and then we need to act” (“Life’s Greatest Decisions,” CES fireside for young adults, Sept. 7, 2003). Acting with faith and guidance is always the best way to make a correct decision.

When picking an occupation, consider your likes and abilities. The interests you have will help you determine what you would be happy doing and what you are skilled at. The next part would be determining what kinds of careers require talents like yours.

Things to ask:

  • Where do I want to be in five or ten years?
  • What kinds of responsibilities do I want?
  • What kind of job security do I want?
  • What kind of advancement opportunities do I want?
  • What kind of work environment do I want?
  • Is there work I do not want to do?
  • How willing am I to work and study hard?
  • Do I want to work for someone else or for myself? 
What Kind of Education or Training Will This Require?

It is okay to say, “I do not know” and then say, “but I want to learn.” When training for a career, it is important to be willing to learn. It is also important to continue learning after you leave school. While serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Henry B. Eyring said: “The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know. . . . So you can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn in preparation for the service you will give” (“Education for Real Life,” Ensign, Oct. 2002, 18).

Things to ask:

  • How long will it take to train for this career?
  • Where can I go to learn this?
  • How difficult will the school program be?
  • How much work experience in this field will I need?
  • What will it cost to get a degree or certificate?
  • How long will it take to pay off loans?
  • What will I have to know for this career? (for example, biology, design principles)
  • What personality does this career require? (for example, patient, outgoing)  
Is This Career Stable?

Think of the industries connected to a career. Are they companies that can grow with changing technology, or are they dependent on equipment and processes that can become outdated? Check government labor reports online to see if a specific career is expected to flourish or flounder.

Things to ask:

  • Is this career growing, stable, or declining?
  • Does the job provide something that is always needed?
  • Could this job be done by a machine?
  • Is this a new or old industry?
  • Is there a competing industry?
  • Will the core skills for this industry work in another industry?
  • What technology does this career use? Could it be outdated soon? 
How Much Time Will I Have with my Family?

Establish your priorities early. Tough decisions are easier to make when you have a clear perspective of what you are not willing to compromise. While serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Boyd K. Packer explained: “Every principle of the gospel, when lived, has a positive influence over your choice of an occupation and on what you will achieve. . . . Living the gospel will give you a perspective and an inspiration that will see you successful however ordinary your work may be or however ordinary your life may seem to others” ("The Gospel—The Foundation for Our Career," Ensign, May 1982, 87).

Things to ask:

  • How much time will work take each day?
  • Where must I live in order to have this career?
  • How much time can I spend with my spouse and children?
  • If this is my career, how will it affect my family?
  • What is the commute time, and what will the travel costs be?
  • Can I leave work if there is an emergency?
  • Will employers in this field provide child care?
  • Will I have to live far away from extended family for a number of years?  
What Will the Income Be with This Career?

Many think the most important factor of a career is how much your salary is, and it is a big part of a career; but it is not the only thing. Some people choose careers because of the high annual income only to find they don’t enjoy a major aspect of the profession. To avoid this, conduct informational interviews or, if you can, serve an internship that will give you a chance to work with people in this career. President Thomas S. Monson counseled: “You should study and prepare for your life’s work in a field that you enjoy, because you are going to spend a good share of your life in that field. It should be one which will challenge your intellect and which will make maximum utilization of your talents and your capabilities. Finally, it should be a field that will supply sufficient remuneration [salary] to provide adequately for your companion and your children” (“Life’s Greatest Decisions,” CES fireside for young adults, Sept. 7, 2003).

Things to ask:

  • What are the benefits?
  • Will this career allow me to take care of my financial responsibilities?
  • How long will it take me to find a job after I graduate?
  • Could I get a promotion? How long will it likely take?  


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